from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
Players such as Filip Hronek and Filip Zadina, plus late season call-up Gustav Lindstrom. And in Grand Rapids, recent draft picks Michael Rasmussen, Moritz Seider, Givani Smith, Evgeny Svechnikov and Joe Veleno all took steps toward becoming capable NHL players.
“These guys are developing, they’re developing into good NHL players,” Larkin said in late May. “That’s huge for our team. Those two guys (Hronek, Zadina), they’re a big part of our future and we need them to take a huge step this summer in the gym and make sure they’re ready to go next season.”
Hronek and Zadina are prime examples of young players who received bigger opportunities to play, had increased responsibilities, and made the most of them.
The plan was for Hronek, 22, to have a role among the top-two defensive pairings this season. But with Danny DeKeyser (herniated disc) limited to only eight games – and veterans Trevor Daley, Jonathan Ericsson and Mike Green (traded at the deadline to Edmonton) all having difficulty staying in the lineup because of injuries – Hronek earned more ice time and thrived.
Hronek led all Wings defensemen with 31 points (nine goals, 22 assists) and topped the team in ice time, averaging 23 minutes, 54 seconds.
“Hronek had an opportunity to have a lot of ice time, he was in a really expanded role when we lost Danny DeKeyser basically for the season,” coach Jeff Blashill said.