Blues Gameday Preview: Detroit Red Wings – 3/21/23

The Hockey Writers

After rookie goaltender Joel Hofer’s 3-0 “shutout” (he left the ice for 14 seconds to get a skate blade repaired) against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday, the St. Louis Blues are riding a two-game winning streak and have a 5-4-0 record in March. Hofer stopped all 33 shots and saved 63 of 65 total shots in his two starts as an emergency call-up after the suspension of Jordan Binnington. The 22-year-old Winnipeg native is now 3-1-0 in four career NHL starts with a .932 save percentage (SV%) and a 2.05 goals-against average (GAA). It’s a small sample size, but Hofer is doing everything in his power to prove he belongs in the NHL. After the game, it was announced that he’ll stay with the Blues as the team will carry three goalies.

St. Louis Blues' Gameday Robert Thomas, Jordan Kyrou, Justin Faulk and Jordan Binnington
Robert Thomas, Jordan Kyrou, Justin Faulk, and Jordan Binnington (The Hockey Writers)

Next up for the Blues (31-33-5) is a back-to-back, home-and-home split against the Detroit Red Wings (30-30-9). This will mark the first time that David Perron (free agency) and Ville Husso (trade) will suit up against their former club since departing last summer. Another former Blue, Jake Walman, will take the ice tonight as well. The two teams have yet to play each other this season, but the former division rivals are very familiar with one another. The Red Wings own the all-time series 125-117-37-9.


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Blues vs. Red Wings

When: Mar. 21 @ 7:00 PM CT

Where: Enterprise Center – St. Louis, MO

TV: Bally Sports Midwest

Radio: 101 ESPN & Blues App

Blues Projected Lineup

Forwards

Jakub Vrana – Robert Thomas – Jordan Kyrou

Alexey Toropchenko – Pavel Buchnevich – Kasperi Kapanen

Brandon Saad – Brayden Schenn – Sammy Blais

Jake Neighbours – Logan Brown – Nathan Walker

Jakub Vrana St. Louis Blues
Jakub Vrana, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)

Defensemen

Nick Leddy – Colton Parayko

Marco Scandella – Justin Faulk

Torey Krug – Robert Bortuzzo

Goalie

Joel Hofer

Familiar Faces in New Places

The Blues and Red Wings have made several deals over the last few seasons. General managers Doug Armstrong and Steve Yzerman are good friends and seem to always find a trade that benefits both clubs. It began in November 2019 when the Blues shipped the oft-injured forward Robby Fabbri to the Red Wings in exchange for forward Jacob de la Rose. Fabbri’s injury woes have continued, but he seems to have a solid role in the lineup when healthy. Meanwhile, de la Rose played in 47 games for the Blues and is now out of the NHL.

Related: Blues Weekly: Reignited Offense, Hofer, Week Ahead, & More


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Exactly a year ago (Mar. 21, 2022), the two struck another major deal that saw the Blues ship Walman and fan favorite Oskar Sundqvist to the Motor City. Coming back to St. Louis was blue-line help in the form of veteran defender Nick Leddy, who the Blues re-signed in the offseason to a four-year, $16 million deal. Walman has signed an extension with Detroit this season, while Sundqvist was flipped to the Minnesota Wild just a few weeks ago.

Ville Husso Detroit Red Wings
Ville Husso, Detroit Red Wings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

At the 2022 NHL Draft, the two sides came together again to make another splash. Husso was coming off of a career season when he singlehandedly led the Blues to the playoffs. However, as a restricted free agent (RFA) and the Blues having paid Binnington, the two sides worked out a deal that sent Husso to Detroit for the 73rd overall pick (Finnish center Aleksander Kaskimaki). He was immediately signed to a three-year extension and has been their starter this season.

Next up is Perron. This doesn’t fall within the trade guidelines since the Blues opted not to re-sign the 34-year-old winger, but it goes to show that there is a clear line of communication between these two franchises. Many were heartbroken at the loss of Perron, himself included, but he’s been a solid veteran presence on a young up-and-coming Red Wings team. The Blues also added goalie Thomas Greiss in free agency, who served as Detroit’s backup in 2021-22.

Related: Blues Acquire Vrana from Red Wings

At this year’s trade deadline, the two sides swapped Jakub Vrana for Dylan McLaughlin and the Blues’ seventh-round pick in 2025. With the change of scenery, Vrana has been thriving in St. Louis, scoring six points (five goals) in seven games playing in the Blues’ top-six.

In all, the Blues have three former Red Wings on their roster (Greiss, Leddy, Vrana), while the Red Wings have four (Fabbri, Husso, Perron, Walman). Fabbri will not play, however, as he’s currently sidelined with a lower-body injury.

Red Wings Projected Lineup

Forwards

Pius Suter – Dylan Larkin – Lucas Raymond

Jonatan Berggren – Andrew Copp – David Perron

Dominik Kubalik – Joe Veleno – Filip Zadina

Adam Erne – Ausin Czarnik – Alex Chiasson

David Perron Detroit Red Wings
David Perron, Detroit Red Wings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Defense

Jake Walman – Moritz Seider

Olli Maata – Jordan Oesterle

Simon Edvinsson* – Robert Hagg

*Game time decision

Goalie

Magnus Hellberg

Keep an Eye On

St. Louis Blues: Jakub Vrana

Since joining the Blues, Vrana has been one of the team’s top-scoring weapons. In the last three games, he’s scored three goals, including two on the power play. He’s being elevated to the top line for tonight’s matchup against his former team.

Detroit Red Wings: David Perron

Seeing Perron wearing the winged wheel will be a tough pill to swallow for the Blues faithful. He’s having a solid season, with 42 points (16 goals) in 69 games. In true Perron fashion, most of his points have come on the power play, where he’s scored four goals and 18 assists. In 11 seasons with the Blues, he ranks eight in franchise history with 465 points and ninth with 196 goals.

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