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Detroit has burned through 20 games, completing the season’s first quarter, ending with an 8-9-3 record for 19 points, good enough for fourth overall in the Atlantic Division.
Between Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider, the Detroit Red Wings – and fans – have justified reason to be excited about the future. Yet to have Jakub Vrana dress this season, rehabbing from shoulder surgery, those two cornerstones have given ‘Hockeytown’ something in which to anchor hope for growth.
Entering Wednesday’s game against the St. Louis Blues, Raymond leads the Red Wings in scoring, with a two point lead over Tyler Bertuzzi, and three over Dylan Larkin, and the trio tied in 5v5 scoring.
We can get Raymond’s 5v5 game log – courtesy of Natural Stat Trick – showing productivity at evens. Below shows Raymond’s productivity at 5v5 this season. Of note is that in all games where he was on the ice for a goal scored, he earned a point.
Pointless games are as expected, including a four and five game span, balanced out with his production coming almost exclusively in multi-point affairs. On the right side are individual shot metrics, iCF (Corsi For), iSCF (Scoring Chances For), iHDCF (High Danger), highlighted to signify games where he didn’t generate an event, and games with five or more events.
Detroit has concentrated a lot of their efforts to score at 5v5, from high danger areas in the front of the net, but Raymond’s zero event games are plentiful, besides some games between November 6 and 9th.
The image below shows Raymond’s streaks this season at 5v5, as well as documenting his first quarter box-car stats and goals in relation to expected goals and shooting percentage.
Seider has cemented himself on the Red Wings blueline as a mainstay, partnering with veteran presence, Danny DeKeyser and newcomer, Nick Leddy. With five points in 49 minutes, he’s leading the Red Wings in overall 5v4 scoring.
Cory Sznajder – who tracks microstats league wide has tracked 10 games this season for the Red Wings and houses the results on his site ‘All Three Zones’ and the results are presented in the table below.
Of note, Seider has been targeted for 35 entries, with 19 carry-in attempts, allowing only one scoring chance against. The rate of denying a clean zone entry is leading all Red Wings blueliners. The 2.9% chance against percentage is significantly lower than other blueliners.
In short, he’s showing signs of stardom very early in a small sample size.
And the rookie can hit. Niklas Kronwall would be proud, indeed.
— Ryan Hana (@RyanHanaWWP) November 17, 2021
Overall, Detroit’s first quarter of the 2021-22 season can be summarized in the heat maps below – courtesy of HockeyViz for both 5v5 and special teams play.
Detroit received exceptional goaltending last season, which they have replaced with Thomas Greiss and Alex Nedeljkovic. They give up a lot of high danger chances and both goalies have had a heavy workload to keep competitive.
The blue area in the ‘saving’ part of the images above in the middle show a lot of blue close to the goal – which signifies the chance of a goal relative to league average. If Detroit is to have any chance of a surprise playoff spot, the tightening up starts in the crease and extends outward.
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Last season’s charts of the five-game rolling average for expected goals and shot attempts (Corsi For %) are shown below, leading into this season as a comparison. They’ve alternated giving up too many expected goals against, and generating more for, while outpacing their expected goals in relation to shot attempts. The divisional play doesn’t reflect similar conditions to a full 82-game schedule with regular travel and return to normal divisions.
Mainstays like Dylan Larkin and Bertuzzi – at least within the confines of the U.S. border – are significant enough talents, but both players will be unrestricted free agents at the end of 2022-23.
Some depth roster – but veteran impacts – of Sam Gagner and Robby Fabbri are faintly tracked during a season where Detroit wasn’t expected to be very competitive at all. Fabbri in particular is an excellent source of offensive zone entries, giving the Red Wings the zone to generate scoring chances.
Rookie Joe Veleno, despite dressing for only eight games playing 101 minutes has a point on every on-ice goal scored.
Entering Wednesday’s contest against the Blues, they find themselves fourth in the Atlantic division, on the heels of the Tampa Bay Lightning – albeit with a few more games played – and Boston with a few games in hand in which to knock down those pesky Red Wings a notch or two.
But .. can they be competitive enough to remain in a situation for a Wild Card spot? With Montreal in free fall, Ottawa and Buffalo remaining at the bottom of the division, banking some early points before Vrana gets back is inspiring. Some of the Metropolitan teams may provide the stiffer competition than any team in the Atlantic below them in the standings, save for Boston.
Let’s take a deeper look. Below are four radar charts visualizing the game log for this season.
The first game of the season starts at the top (in the 12 o’clock position) and moves along clockwise with each game. The two charts at the top measure expected goals for and against in blue and yellow on the left and scoring chances for and against on the right.
The charts at the bottom with the same game by game configuration show scoring chances (on the right) and shooting percentages (left) by danger zone.
The main takeaway from the bottom charts is the disconnect between the shooting percentages and the chances generated by danger zone. Detroit has generated a lot of low danger chances this season, and a smaller disproportionate amount of high and medium danger chances.
Getting Vrana into the lineup and a healthy and non off-ice distracted Dylan Larkin will go a long way to improving the overall metrics in Hockeytown.
Will it be enough to stay in the playoff hunt? Yet to be determined.