Detroit Red Wings: Could Ville Husso’s struggles be product of workload?

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The Detroit Red Wings picked up a victory against the St. Blues on Wednesday with Magnus Hellberg in net. They capped off the shootout win and will face off against the Blues again on Thursday. It will likely mean Ville Husso is back in the net to face his former team.

However, the Detroit Red Wings have not gotten the results they have hoped for out of Husso in recent contests. He’s struggled to keep the puck out of the back of the net, and the Red Wings’ record suffered.

It’s not entirely his fault. After selling off some of the team’s assets at the trade deadline, this team is different-looking than before the deadline, and the quality of play has declined from where it was. So let’s be clear that the Red Wings netminder struggling is not entirely on him and his level of play.

But, there is reason to believe that he is being overused, and the constant starting of Husso is leading to some of his struggles. Let’s dive into this a bit more.

Detroit Red Wings netminder Ville Husso’s struggles are a product of workload.

The Red Wings went out and acquired Husso last summer, adding him into the goaltending mix after trading for him from the Blues. Husso was expected to play the 1A role in a 1A/1B setup with Alex Nedeljkovic.

In reality, Husso has taken an Andrei Vasilevskiy approach for the Red Wings, being the netminder who starts a high majority of the time and is relied upon heavily. He’s been in the league for three seasons now, and 2022-23 is the first where he has really been relied upon as a starter for the entirety of the year.

He was a replacement for Jordan Binnington, who was injured in St. Louis but only played 40 games for them. With the Red Wings, he’s been playing a majority of the games. Husso has started in 51 of the Red Wings 70 games played.

For our resident math majors, that means that Husso has started 72.85% of the Red Wings’ games this season. That’s a lot to ask from the 27-year-old netminder. Even if he is expected to be the team’s netminder of the future the way things stand, he’s still settling into this role.

There’s also reason to believe that this is on purpose. After the Red Wings’ loss against the Florida Panthers on Monday, there was an article published on The Detroit News($) website entitled “Ville Husso not sharp in Detroit Red Wings’ loss, but he won’t sit.” 

It’s a truthful title, as the Red Wings have consistently ridden on Husso for the 2022-23 season. Even with Hellberg in net Tuesday, Husso will likely get the nod Thursday and be back on track as the team’s starter.

The workload could be a lot for Husso to handle. But it’s better to get him acclimated to it now when the team is not competing rather than next season when the team is playing meaningful hockey in March/April as part of a postseason race.

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