Detroit — It took Alex Chiasson much of this season to finally land an NHL contract.
It might take nearly as long this time around if Chiasson continues to play the way he has been.
Chiasson scored power-play goals in both of the Red Wings’ games last weekend, including Sunday’s 5-3 victory over Boston.
In five games since being brought up by the Red Wings and signed for the rest of the season, Chiasson has four points (two goals and two assists), with a minus-two rating. One of the two assists also came on the power play, as Chiasson has seamlessly entered the lineup.
“Our power play has gotten a little spark with him in the net-front,” coach Derek Lalonde said.
Chiasson, 32, is an 11-year NHL veteran who brings savvy and craftiness to the ice. The power-play assist was a through-the-legs pass across the crease to an open Dylan Larkin. Saturday’s power-play goal in Boston was working himself free and tapping in David Perron’s pass.
Lalonde mentioned all the ways Chiasson helps the power play.
“Relieving pressure, taking the goalie’s eyes away, spinning off a check in front to (handle a) rebound,” Lalonde said. “He has very good instincts.”
When the Wings traded away forwards Tyler Bertuzzi, Oskar Sundqvist and Jakub Vrana, there was a need for depth in the bottom six, and Chiasson was the choice.
Larkin spoke glowingly of having Chiasson on the roster instantly, about the attributes Chaisson brings to a lineup. In little more than a week, Chiasson has continued to impress.
“He’s come in and done a great job,” Larkin said. “He’s a total team player and does a great job on the power play. Quick shifts, and he’s getting moving and chipping in and standing up for guys. He’s been a great addition.
“I’ve really liked having him here.”
Ten days after being traded by the Red Wings to Boston, forward Tyler Bertuzzi returned Sunday with the Bruins.
Bertuzzi got the highlight video that is common nowadays by teams for popular returning players, a good round of cheers, and appreciated those touches along with his time spent as a Wing.
“It was nice of them,” Bertuzzi said. “I knew they were going to do something. Obviously, very grateful for my time here as a Red Wing. It was a nice tribute.
“It was just good to see everyone, all the support and everything.”
Bertuzzi played 17:02 on Sunday, with one shot. In four games with the Bruins, Bertuzzi has one assist.
The Bruins have been playing Bertuzzi in the middle six, but Bertuzzi did get time with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on the top line, as Boston coach Jim Montgomery looks for a good fit.
“It was definitely weird walking in from the other side,” Bertuzzi said. “It’s definitely different and emotional. It was good to be back.
“Once the game is going on, you kind of forget about everything. I just tried to go out there and play hockey.”
Defenseman Jake Walman continues to put together an eye-opening season as the schedule heads into its final month.
Walman currently has the best plus-minus rating on the Wings, with a plus-16. Andrew Copp is next best, at plus-six.
Walman has seven goals and five assists in 47 games, and recently signed a three-year contract worth $10.2 million ($3.4 million cap hit per year).
Lalonde admitted Walman has exceeded the coaching staff’s expectations.
“We were wondering if we would be able to get him in when he got healthy,” Lalonde said, of when Walman returned in November. “It was a case of our defense was playing fairly well at the beginning of the season.
“He’s really earned everything he’s got. Now the challenge for him is to keep playing within himself. He still has to learn to manage his game, which doesn’t happen overnight, but those are good experiences to learn from.”
The Red Wings recalled forward Matt Luff from their minor-league affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins under emergency conditions (likely a forward nursing an injury).
Luff, 25, has appeared in seven games with the Red Wings this season, recording his first goal and point on Nov. 6 against the New York Rangers. Luff has 23 points (seven goals, 16 assists) and six penalty minutes in 25 games with the Griffins.
Luff was signed as a free agent by the Red Wings last summer after splitting the 2021-22 season between the Nashville Predators and AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals, logging six points (three goals, three assists) and four penalty minutes in 23 games with the Predators while totaling 31 points (14 goals, 17 assists) and 16 penalty minutes in 30 games with Milwaukee.
Red Wings at Predators
▶ Faceoff: 8 p.m. Tuesday, Bridgestone Arena, Nashville
▶ TV/radio: BSD/97.1 FM
▶ Outlook: The Predators (33-24-7), who were mostly sellers at the trade deadline, are suddenly making a late surge toward the playoffs. Nashville is 7-2-1 in its last 10 games and only five points from a wild-card spot. D Roman Josi (41 assists, 58 points) and G Juuse Saros (2.78 goals-against average, .917 save percentage) lead an experienced lineup.