5 Red Wings to Get Excited About This Season

The Hockey Writers

With just over two months remaining until Detroit Red Wings hockey is back in action, it’s time to get excited for what’s to come. The offseason brought plenty of changes regarding departures and new additions, but it also brought lots of time to reflect on prospects and current players and what to expect from them going forward.

Simon Edvinsson Detroit Red Wings
Simon Edvinsson, Detroit Red Wings (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

That being said, here are the five Red Wings players that I am the most excited to watch in the 2023-24 season.

5. J.T. Compher

One of the newest additions to the Red Wings, J.T. Compher, a former Michigan Wolverine, is coming off a career-best season with the Colorado Avalanche. He recorded 52 points (17 goals and 35 assists), which is nearly 20 points more than his 2021-22 season. He’s coming to Detroit on a five-year contract presumably to fill the role of a second-line center behind Dylan Larkin. Compher is a well-rounded player but has greater strengths in the defensive zone compared to his offensive abilities, which makes him a good addition to the Red Wings’ top-nine forwards.

As I said, he is a strong presence in the defensive zone and brings recent Stanley Cup Playoff experience to the roster — something that is very valuable for a team looking to make playoff pushes in the coming seasons. The Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 2022 as Compher was playing 2C for them throughout the playoff run. On top of it all, he is capable of pulling off some beautiful plays under pressure. My hope for him is that he is able to take Andrew Copp’s spot on the second line and help make that line more successful in generating points.

4. Simon Edvinsson

People had high hopes for Simon Edvinsson to make the opening-night roster for the Red Wings this past season, but he ended up not making his NHL debut until the back half of the season where he played nine games. He suffered an injury near the end of the 2022-23 season that resulted in him getting surgery on his right shoulder in May with a recovery period of 4-6 months. This time frame indicates that he should be able to participate in Red Wings training camp this September, which is going to be crucial in terms of deciding where he will start the season.

The upcoming 2023-24 season will give Edvinsson another chance to make his case for a roster spot, which I would say he is very close to deserving. The big question surrounding him at this point is if he will crack the NHL roster at the beginning of the season. So much defensive depth was acquired this offseason in the likes of Justin Holl and Shayne Gostisbehere, which will make it more difficult for any rising prospects to see time on the blue line this season.

3. Lucas Raymond

This upcoming season is a huge opportunity for Lucas Raymond as he enters his third year in the NHL. He has a lot to prove to his team and all Red Wings fans, and I feel he will live up to the lofty expectations people have of him. His sophomore season was not as successful as some had hoped it would be as he finished with 17 goals and 28 assists and definitely had periods where he seemed to be struggling to find his groove. Overall, I was personally fine with how his season went, but I do have high hopes for him heading into the 2023-24 season.

Lucas Raymond Detroit Red Wings
Lucas Raymond, Detroit Red Wings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

I would like to see him land in the 50-55 point range, if not more, and become more consistent overall. The times when he was off his game last season weren’t abysmal, but I feel like he is capable of being at a higher level more often and having fewer “off games.” Consistency is key for Raymond going forward, especially as he is looking for a contract extension at some point in the upcoming season.

2. Marco Kasper

From the one NHL game that he played last season, I saw enough to get genuinely excited about Marco Kasper being a Red Wing. His grit, mentality, and hustle on the ice are things that will make him a very key member of this team in the future. There is a lot to be said about his character on top of who he is as a player, but he is getting to the point where he is ready to fully embrace the role of a true NHL player.

Even though there are plenty of centers on the active roster, I still think that Kasper will end up seeing some NHL action at some point this season. Regardless of if he makes the roster to start the season or not, he will be playing professional hockey in North America for the first time in his career. That in itself is enough to get some excitement churning. Worst case scenario, he’s the go-to guy if any centers on the active roster were to get injured and a call-up was needed.

1. Alex DeBrincat

To the surprise of nobody, Alex DeBrincat tops my list. He is going to be a huge addition to this Red Wings roster and just thinking about what he can bring to the table is thrilling. He had 27 goals and 39 assists (66 points) this past season with the Ottawa Senators, which was a decrease from his 2021-22 season with the Chicago Blackhawks but is still nothing to complain about at all. Personally, I have been rooting for him to come to Detroit for some time now and I am especially excited to see him behind the Winged Wheel come September.

He has had over 20 goals each season of his career, so he perfectly solves the Red Wings’ need for a goal-scorer. His career-best season had 41 goals and 37 assists and his worst was 28 goals and 27 assists. No matter what, the organization is getting a 50-plus-point scorer with DeBrincat. He’s crafty and slippery in the offensive zone and is the type of player that has highlight-worthy plays quite often.

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Overall, this Red Wings team looks quite different from the year before. There were lots of goodbyes and even more hellos this offseason accompanied by lots of trust in the Yzerplan. I feel as if a lot was accomplished during the last few months and that the Red Wings are in a good position to have more success this year compared to last. Each of the players that I mentioned has a large role to play in the success of this team going forward and it will be interesting to see who lives up to the expectations and who may fall flat.

Related: Red Wings Have All the Tools to Make the 2023-24 Playoffs

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Of course, there are some areas and certain players that I have some doubts about but only time will tell how everything will end up working out. The 2023-24 season will mean a lot in terms of the rebuild and how successful it truly has been but the same goes for every season until the Red Wings are competing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs again. Hopefully, this year brings a better record, a higher finish in the division, and possibly a bid for the wild card spot to get into the playoffs.

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