What a night for the young forward in Detroit. This Sunday game Tyler Bertuzzi managed to drop the gloves vs Ian Cole as well as pull a very controversial move during a scrum that involved Dylan Larkin, Bertuzzi and Matt Calvert.
The play was a typical hockey play, Matt Calvert was gaining the red when Mike Green stepped up and hit him. Calvert ended up going upper body into the Red Wings bench, where Dylan Larkin grabbed Calvert’s stick and wouldn’t let it go. So Calvert in a sword spearing motion pushed it back at Larkin. When Bertuzzi and Larkin decided to grab Calvert and that is when Bertuzzi eventually sucker punched Calvert.
It has been a week to forget for Bertuzzi, who just the game before this was involved in the scrum between the Bruins Marchand and Red Wings scrum in which almost led to a goalie brawl.
Bertuzzi is serving a two-game suspension, in which he will miss Tuesday night vs Tampa Bay and Thursday night vs Toronto. I don’t see any push back for this suspension. There is no room in the game for sucker punches to a defenseless player, especially when the whole thing started because of something your teammate did and Calvert was totally in no way at fault here. Terrible play by Bertuzzi, he earns his punishment, but I can tell you now this will not be the last time we see Bertuzzi suspended in the NHL.
Vinnie Hinostroza: Coming over to the Coyotes may have made all possible fantasy owners skeptical about the 24-year-old young forward. Yet, this may be Hinostroza best shot to make a name for himself in the NHL. Coming from a place that sells out every night and is a media mad house, Hinostroza had high expectations. Settling into a more quiet and less crazed fan base like Arizona may give the young forward sometime to play looser and more creative. He tallied 25 points last season and is surely on pace to surpass that. If him, Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Perlini can gel together, Hinostroza is bound for a solid 35 point season. Being able to play with Galchenyuk will be very beneficial for the young forward and not to mention Perlini is no slump his 17 goal and 30 pint season holds some merit. I would not mind giving Hinostroza a chance early in the season.
Jake DeBrusk/Ryan Donato: Perhaps they do fly under the radar but these are not big name in Boston with Bergeron, Pastrnak, Krejci, Marchand, Chara, McAvoy these two young guns fly under the radar perhaps. DeBrusk is coming off a monster first year with 43 points in 70 games. While Donato played just 12 games last season he did collect 9 points. DeBrusk is slotted with Krejci and Backes, he will be tested again and expected to have another 40 plus point season. While Donato is slotted on line three with potential to move up. Donato has the chance to play with Harvard for one more year or come join Boston, if he does join Boston he will be immediately a topic of discussion. Definitely look for DeBrusk next year early and keep an eye on Donato as the draft continues.
Sam Reinhart: A player that everyone should have on their radar now that Buffalo acquired Jeff Skinner. Reinhart has settled in nicely with Eichel as they two have been a solid pairing but now with Skinner-Eichel-Reinhart. A lot of attention will be on Skinner and Eichel to perform and we all know what happens when a player who can score, and do his job is paired with elite talent, they usually feed off the players around them quite well and have a good year(Patrick Maroon with McDavid, JT Miller when he got sent to Tampa, Mikko Rantanen with McKinnon). Reinhart last year collected an even 50 points, 25 goals and 25 assists. He has progressively increased year after year since his 42 point season in 2015-16. Now to pair him with Skinner and Eichel two sure 65 plus point players, Reinhart is on his way to a 55 point season or more to say the least. A solid mid round pick and someone who will has huge upside to him!
Valeri Nichushkin: So, he did not play in the NHL last year and had a subpar year over in Russia, but being back with Jason Spezza and a hungry Dallas team, I think we may see Nichushkin’s best year in the NHL. It is not hard to do considering his highest point total in the NHL is 34 points we may see a similar finish around 35 points or upwards of 40 points out of him. If Spezza can get it together and get back to his 50 plus point year Nichushkin is bound to have a better year as well. He has the potential to be a solid top six player in the NHL but due to the KHL time and some uncertainty about his desire to play at the NHL level he has been a mystery to say the least. Playing top six minutes and on the power play will be a big test for the 23-year-old winger, but if all pans out and him, Spezza and Radek Fafska can gel together it can be a good year for the Russian winger. Don’t forget about Fafska’s 33 point year, plus a healthy Spezza and hungry Nichuskhkin, it may pan out well.
Tyler Bertuzzi:We know this kid is already more skilled than his uncle Todd, but we also have to think with what he did with Grand Rapid he will be solid NHL player too. He is coming off only 48 games at the NHL level and 23 years old but with a lot of potential and youth in that Detroit locker room it may be a good time for Bertuzzi to establish himself as a regular on that team. If he stays where he is right now with Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha the young left winger will surely elevate his game to the next level and be a solid 40 point player. He tallied 24 points in 48 games last season, so throw another 30 plus games and 16 points in there it is not impossible. He has the tools around him and he stays in that top six even he is going to be a solid fantasy player with a lot of upside next year.
The Red Wings missed the playoffs last year for the first time in 25 years, and this year things were not much better. The Red Wings do have a decent excuse though. They have been dealing with their older players leaving and their younger players coming in. Therefore the whole culture and environment are changing in Detroit. A player like Henrik Zetterberg a legend in Detroit will soon be forgotten. When the old is out and the new is in, it is never an easy transition.
The Red Wings went 30-39-13, 73 points, ranking 27th in goals for(212), 8th in goals against(254), 24th in power play percentage(17.5), 23rd in penalty kill percentage(77.5). They certainly did not too well in any department last year. The positives for the Red Wings though they had Mike Green make an All-Star appearance, Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou had successful seasons and there are a lot of bright signs for the Red Wings and their forward group.
The top reasons the Red Wings were not successful this season were quite simple, they are young, they lacked depth, lacked goal scoring and their blueline is old as dirt. The Red Wings also have not really secured that goaltending spot so that has played negatively into the team’s success.
What went wrong for the Red Wings
(1) A young roster. Look at every team that has ever gone through a rebuild, the Maple Leafs, Oilers, Coyotes, Penguins in 2006-07, the list goes on. When the team is young and the players on the roster especially speaking top six are a young group of forwards it is tough to really be a solid team that can make an impact in this league. Dyland Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, Martin Frk, Luke Glendening, Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi, these players are all under 25 years old, so the environment is a very young and it is difficult to be good when your team is inexperienced.
(2) Depth scoring and depth across the front end. Now the Red Wings top six was not bad but when you match with other top six’s it is tough. So when your bottom six is Frans Neilsen, David Booth, Justin Abeldkear and Luke Witkowski it is tough to be competitive in a league that yearns for a solid bottom six. The Red Wings top scorers were Dylan Larkin with 63 points than Henrik Zetterberg with 56 points after these two the Red Wings had 10 players with 40 points or fewer.
(3) Their defense was old as dirt and their goaltending was to put it nicely a question mark all year. The defense is centered around Danny DeKeyser, then Trevor Daley, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson you are going to have trouble on the backend. Plain and simple, and problems on the backend will not lead to a successful season. On top of Jimmy Howard, Petr Mrazek issues in the beginning of the year the Red Wings goaltending situation was a bit of an issue and when Howard turned it around and had the crease when Mrazek left it was too late for the Red Wings to turn their season around.
Will things be better next year?
Well, the Red Wings have number 6th overall pick looking at drafting Adam Boqvist which will help the blueline problems. They have a very young up and coming forwards, the only issue is that Larkin, Athanasiou, Frk, Mantha, Bertuzzi are all RFA’s and will need to be resigned, Mike Green will surely be gone in the offseason and things could be worse but the Red Wings will resign their core forwards who will be RFA’s this offseason but things will not be better anyways, they will be a borderline basement team again, maybe around the .500 mark easily again in the 23-25 range and you can count the playoffs out.