Central NHL

Rookies Helping Rebuild Red Wings

Rookies Help Rebuilding Red Wings
Duane Burleson/Associated Press

During any sports franchise rebuild, it’s vital to get good some youth involvement. There are a few rookies helping rebuild the Red Wings right now. This season has seen them jump on the scene and make a big statement. In what is effectively the 4th season of their rebuild, the organization has seen a general manager change and big player moves. They brought in their former captain Steve Yzerman to take over as GM. Just looking at the results he brought for the Tampa Bay Lightning, it was a smart move to bring him home to Detroit. His crafty work during trades of some of the more veteran players has brought a big influx of solid young players into the Red Wings organization. They have 10 elite prospects looking to make it on their respective National teams for the World Juniors next year. Currently though, they have three on the active roster that are making big impacts to the team.

Lucas Raymond

Lucas is a 19-year-old forward from Gothenburg Sweden who came to the Wings during the 2020 Draft. Picked 4th overall he has jumped into the team’s roster with ease. Typically playing on the top line with Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi he has generated more than his fair share of points. In the 28 games to start the season eclipsed 24 points with 10 being goals. Currently he leads the NHL rookies in both categories. Clearly he’s stepped up and put himself in the running for the Calder trophy race. Detroit may have taken a gamble on him by keeping him with the team after preseason. However this gamble is paying them back big time.

Moritz Seider

Seider came to the team via the 2019 draft and was the 6th overall pick. The 20-year-old defenseman has some incredible knowledge and eyes while on the ice. Sharing the top blue line with either Danny DeKeyser or Jordan Oesterle, Seider has been a big playmaker on the ice. He has racked up a tidy 16 assists so far and is tied with Trevor Zegras of the Anaheim Ducks for top rookie in assists. His eyes and passing abilities are great, but as a rookie he is averaging over 22 minutes of ice time a game. On top of all that ice team he boasts a respectable -1 in the +/- category. On top of that, 2 out of his 3 goals this season were overtime winners, meaning he can be a clutch player in high stress moments.

Alex Nedeljkovic

Alex has been around the block for a minute. Spending the previous 4 seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes, he only reached 29 total games. He still qualifies as a rookie and can possibly win the Calder trophy this season. At one point he was sharing games with Thomas Greiss, but as of late Alex has gotten the nod more often. He has picked up 8 wins on 16 starts this season, and has a .915 save percentage. His win total currently leads the NHL rookie goalies, and he easily leads the pack in playing time too. The Wings are appearing to put more and more faith in him, and as long as he continues to prove he can handle the playing time, there’s nothing stopping this “rookie” from playing more than enough games. With playing time his stats may be good enough to put him in contention for the Calder along with Raymond and Seider.

The Short Of It

Essentially the Red Wings have put themselves into a glorious spot. A quarter of the way into this season and they sit just outside a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. They have two of the top rookie skaters leading the team and plenty of developed young stars to help them. On top of that, they have a rookie netminder who is putting together a career-best season. Generally rebuilds take anywhere from 6-9 years for most teams. However with a solid youth core, and even more remarkable prospects looking to make their name known, the Red Wings appear to be just a season away from being real contenders again. Keep an eye out for them, as history tends to repeat itself, the Wings who dominated in the 50’s and late 90’s may be back earlier than you think.

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  1. Pingback: Red Wings Fighting Covid - Championship Sports Media

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