Through three games, the Detroit Red Wings are 2-1-0 and look like a much more competent team than what we saw last year. Scoring is up and team defense is steady – Derek Lalonde’s squad already looks like a well-oiled machine.
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Even though the sample size is very, very small, there are a few stats that have jumped off the page so far this season. Sure, they will likely regress – but to what degree? Let’s dig into the data and touch on the impact of these three trends.
DeBrincat-Larkin-Raymond Possession Share
I mentioned this above and I’ll reiterate here – the sample size is very, very small. Detroit’s top line of Dylan Larkin, Alex DeBrincat, and Lucas Raymond have been on the ice for ~24 minutes at even strength. That said, their production is truly outstanding:
- 64.71 Corsi-for percentage (CF%)
- 76.96 expected goals-for percentage (xGF%)
- 73.33 scoring chances-for percentage (SCF%)
This data came from Natural Stat Trick. MoneyPuck shows similar percentages – they have the DeBrincat-Larkin-Raymond line ranking in the top 10 league-wide (minimum 20 minutes played) for CF% and xGF%.
These numbers will almost certainly come down with more games played. That said, how much they’ll fall isn’t clear – Detroit’s top line has been truly dominant so far. This isn’t a fluke.
If anything, these metrics show that the Red Wings have a bonafide top line whose production rivals that of the best top lines in the entire NHL.
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Red Wings’ Power Play Percentage
Through three games, Detroit’s power play has scored on four of its 10 opportunities. Their 40 percent conversion rate is tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the league.
Special teams are key to any team’s success. And an effective power play means more goals, which was a priority for the Red Wings this offseason.
The Red Wings are running the same power play formation as last season, just with a few personnel tweaks. One of which is moving David Perron to the net front position where he can use his above-average board play to retrieve loose pucks.
In addition, the aforementioned DeBrincat and Shayne Gostisbehere are now on the flanks. Both are dangerous shooters and excellent puck distributors as well. The two have also improved Detroit’s transition up ice, giving the team more speed and better vision when entering the offensive zone.
Continued success on the power play will give the Red Wings more opportunities to win. It’s as simple as that – goals are good, and power plays are good for scoring goals.
Red Wings’ Faceoff Percentage
Another intriguing trend is Detroit’s cumulative faceoff percentage, which currently sits at 57.3 percent – fourth in the NHL. All of the Red Wings’ centers have contributed to the team’s success, too.
- Joe Veleno – 65.5 percent on 29 draws
- Andrew Copp – 56.3 percent on 32 draws
- J.T. Compher – 55.6 percent on 36 draws
- Dylan Larkin – 55.4 percent on 56 draws
Detroit also won six of the 11 faceoffs not taken by the players listed above.
The value in winning draws? Analytics company Sportlogiq conducted a study on this, and concluded that a clean faceoff win in the offensive zone resulted in a scoring chance 38.6 percent of the time. Non-clean wins produced the same result 30.3 percent of the time. That 8.3 percent difference is not insignificant.
Winning faceoffs leads to more frequent scoring opportunities – yet another way the Red Wings are generating more offense this season. If this trend continues, it will contribute to an overall improvement in Detroit’s offensive game that is necessary to reach the playoffs.
All three of these trends ladder up to scoring more goals in 2023-24. The Red Wings took a step back offensively last year, so this is encouraging to see and something to monitor as the season progresses.
On the topic of offensive production, The Hockey Writers projected goal and point totals for the entire Red Wings team. Be sure to check out these projections and find out which players will stand out this season.