from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com
The 2022-23 NHL season starts Oct. 7. With training camps opening soon, NHL.com is taking a look at the three keys, the inside scoop on roster questions, and the projected lineup for each of the 32 teams. Today, the Detroit Red Wings.
Coach: Derek Lalonde (first season)
Last season: 32-40-10, sixth in Atlantic Division; did not qualify for Stanley Cup Playoffs
1. Jell into a team
The Red Wings have a new coach and several new players, including goalie Ville Husso, defensemen Ben Chiarot and Olli Maatta, and forwards Andrew Copp and David Perron. The good news is they have a clean slate and internal competition for jobs. That should provide a jolt from the start. But they must learn a new system, develop an identity, and determine the forward lines, defense pairings, goalie rotation and special teams. General manager Steve Yzerman said it could take a time to sort out everything and jell into a team.
2. Improve the defense
It was the biggest of many issues last season. Detroit ranked 31st in goals against (310) and 32nd on the penalty kill (73.8 percent). At his introductory press conference July 1, Lalonde said the Red Wings need to improve the risk in their game, stressing details and habits that lead to winning no matter the personnel, such as staying on top of plays. But the personnel should help too. Copp and Perron are strong defensive forwards. Chiarot (6-foot-3, 234 pounds) and Maatta (6-2, 210) each adds size and a defense-first approach.
3. Develop young players
For the Red Wings to return to Stanley Cup contention in the long term, they need their top prospects to turn into difference-makers and other young players to emerge as bona fide NHLers. Defenseman Moritz Seider, the No. 6 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, won the Calder Trophy as the NHL rookie of the year last season. Forward Lucas Raymond, the No. 4 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, finished fourth in voting by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. What do they do for an encore? Who else is ready to not only make the roster, but make an impact?
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Making the cut
All eyes will be on forwards Jonatan Berggren (No. 33, 2018 NHL Draft) and Elmer Soderblom (No. 159, 2019), and defensemen Simon Edvinsson (No. 6, 2021 NHL Draft) and Albert Johansson (No. 60, 2019), in training camp. The Red Wings don't want to rush anyone, and they have enough depth that they don't need to. These young players will have to force themselves onto the roster instead of being sent to Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League, the way Raymond did last season.
Most intriguing addition
Edvinsson was a finalist for rookie of the year in the Swedish Hockey League last season and played for Sweden at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton last month. The 19-year-old is about to play his first professional season in North America. Imposing at 6-4, 198 pounds, Edvinsson said his goal is to play for the Red Wings on opening night against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Detroit. Yzerman said he will have an opportunity and if he's ready to play a regular role, that would be great for them.
Biggest potential surprise
Jakub Vrana has played 37 games since the Red Wings acquired the forward in a trade with the Washington Capitals on April 12, 2021, missing the first five months of last season because of shoulder surgery. But he has scored 21 goals in those 37 games, including 13 goals in 26 games last season after his return. His NHL career high is 25 goals, set in 69 games for the Capitals in 2019-20. Could he reach 30 this season? Maybe even 40?
Ready to break through
Filip Zadina has not been the scorer the Red Wings hoped he would be since they selected the forward with the No. 6 pick in the 2018 draft. He scored 10 goals in 74 games last season and has 25 in 160 NHL games. But he doesn't turn 23 until Nov. 27, and signed a three-year, $5.475 million contract Aug. 26. That average annual value of $1.825 million will look like a bargain if he reaches his potential. With a new coach and some new teammates, will he start trending in that direction?
Copp, C/RW (fantasy average draft position: 171.3) -- He's likely to be the No. 2 center with exposure to two valuable wings in Vrana, Perron and/or Tyler Bertuzzi. Copp can carry over the momentum he had last regular season, when he was better than a point per game (18 in 16 games) for the New York Rangers, as a fantasy sleeper under Lalonde. -- Anna Dua
Tyler Bertuzzi -- Dylan Larkin -- Lucas Raymond
Jakub Vrana -- Andrew Copp -- David Perron
Dominik Kubalik -- Pius Suter -- Filip Zadina
Adam Erne -- Michael Rasmussen -- Oskar Sundqvist
Ben Chiarot -- Moritz Seider
Olli Maatta -- Filip Hronek
Jordan Oesterle -- Gustav Lindstrom