Ranking Red Wings’ Offseason Acquisitions So Far

The Hockey Writers

After an offseason that saw several new players come to the Detroit Red Wings organization, the expectations from the fan base were set at a high bar. Through 30 games of the 2023-24 season, the Red Wings find themselves in the midst of possibly ending their playoff drought albeit struggling over the last few games. When the team has been successful, some of these new acquisitions have been at the forefront leading the way. But how do the offseason acquisitions general manager Steve Yzerman made rank so far this season?

10. Jeff Petry

In a surprising trade, Yzerman brought in veteran defenseman Jeff Petry from Montreal that saw the team send fellow defenseman Gustav Lindstrom and a 2025 fourth-round draft pick to the Canadians. The move was met with some confusion since the team already had signed both Shayne Gostisbehere and Justin Holl to contracts on the back end of the ice.

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So far this season Petry has struggled to stay in the lineup, having played in 22 of the team’s 30 games while also having issues in the defensive zone. His play has been scrutinized by fans all season long and he has been one of the players that fans do not understand having in the lineup at times. With how he has played this season and the fact that he has one more year on his contract that he signed with the Canadiens in 2020, there is a strong possibility that it could be a one-and-done for Petry in a Red Wings jersey. This is even more likely if Simon Edvinsson continues to play the way he has for the Grand Rapids Griffins this season. There have already been plenty of people who have called for Edvinsson to get his call-up to the NHL and potentially take Petry’s spot in the lineup.

9. Justin Holl

Another defenseman acquired this offseason by the team, Justin Holl’s three-year deal signed with the Red Wings was a move made that was met with scrutiny from fans since they signed a similar player last offseason in Ben Chiarot.

Justin Holl Detroit Red Wings
Justin Holl, Detroit Red Wings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

After spending his entire career with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Holl is another player who has been in and out of the lineup this season and has been inconsistent on the back end for the team. While his play has not been as scrutinized as Petry’s play, it certainly has not lived up to the contract he was signed to. He has spent a lot of time paired up with Shayne Gostisbehere after starting the season with Ben Chiarot. He has only totaled two points in the 22 games he’s played in and has a plus/minus of plus-5, but his play could certainly be better.

8. Klim Kostin

After being acquired in a draft day trade with the Edmonton Oilers along with Kailer Yamamoto for future considerations, Klim Kostin was expected to bring physicality and an edge to the bottom half of the Red Wings lineup as well as some depth scoring. Last season Kostin totaled 11 goals in 55 games with the Oilers and the hope was with a full season and more of an opportunity with the Red Wings that he could at least replicate that production.

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Kostin has been able to bring an added level of physicality to the team’s lineup and has become someone who answers the bell and sticks up for his teammates when needed, but his offensive production has been lacking through 30 games. He has only tallied two goals and a single assist to this point of the season. If he can get his offensive production up and going (he has had solid offensive games, posts have been found plenty of times), he could easily climb up these rankings by season’s end.

7. James Reimer

Possibly the most head-scratching free agent signing by Yzerman this offseason was when he brought in veteran goalie James Reimer on a one-year deal. Last season Reimer struggled in net and had one of the worst seasons in his 14-year career, albeit on a bad San Jose Sharks team.

Reimer’s time with the Red Wings started on a strong note, posting a shutout in his debut against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Oct. 16, but as the season has progressed his play has seemed to fall off a bit. The hope was that a change of scenery would give him a chance to have a bounce-back season for the Red Wings and that has seemingly not been the case.

James Reimer Detroit Red Wings
James Reimer, Detroit Red Wings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

With the recent play of fellow offseason acquisition Alex Lyon, Reimer has been relegated to the third goalie on the roster. But with Lyon going down with an injury in the team’s most recent loss on Dec. 16 to the Philadelphia Flyers, there is a chance that Reimer could be seeing more time in the net and be looked upon to help right the ship for the Red Wings.

6. Christian Fischer

One of the free agent additions that was a low-risk signing by Yzerman, Christian Fischer was brought in on a one-year, $1.125 million deal after spending his entire seven-year career with the Arizona Coyotes. Like Kostin, he was brought in to bring a little bit of an edge and depth to the forward grouping the team had.

While his numbers have not been “jump off the page”, he has been one of the team’s most solid penalty killers through 30 games and has also brought much-needed energy to the bottom six of the lineup with his forechecking and physicality when needed. He currently has seven points this season with a shorthanded goal to his credit as well. What might be the most important aspect he has brought to the team is another veteran with experience and leadership.

5. Alex Lyon

The second goalie that was brought in over the offseason, Lyon came to the Red Wings after helping the Florida Panthers strong finish to the regular season last season which ended in a run to the the Stanley Cup Final. While he sat behind both Reimer and Ville Husso for a large part of the beginning of the season, when given the chance to take the crease for the team he has looked the most solid out of the three netminders.

So far in his time with the Red Wings, he has seemingly played with more confidence than both Reimer and Husso have when in the net. If he can stay away from being out for an extended time with the aforementioned injury that he sustained against the Flyers, there is a chance that he could push Husso for more time in the net.

4. Daniel Sprong

After a coming-out season of sorts last season with the Seattle Kraken, Daniel Sprong decided to sign a one-year deal with the Red Wings this past offseason and has looked every bit of the player he was last season.

His offensive game has been strong to start the season, totaling seven goals so far. He could easily have more than that if his shot would hit the net more often. With the shot that he possesses, he could push for a 20-goal season if he can keep his production where it has been and can fine-tune the accuracy of his shot. He has also been held scoreless on the powerplay this season and one of the key factors to breaking out of that funk is hitting the net.

Daniel Sprong Detroit Red Wings
Daniel Sprong, Detroit Red Wings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

His shot is not the only thing that has been impressive on the offensive side of the puck, as his speed and energy have had a key impact on the team.

3. Shayne Gostisbehere

With the signing of Shayne Gostisbehere came the expectations that his offensive prowess would bring some much-needed improvement to the defensemen of the Red Wings lineup along with helping out the team’s powerplay. So far this season, he has been everything and more that fans could want on the offensive end of the ice.

Overall, he has been the Red Wings’ most productive defenseman in the offensive zone, showing the willingness to hop into rushes and plays when he sees the lane to do so, while also being a driving force for the powerplay unit. His offensive IQ has been on display big-time so far and has led the powerplay with 11 points on the man advantage.

The only thing that could be looked at as a negative is his defensive zone play the last couple of games, but he is not the only Red Wings defenseman who could be looked at that way.

2. Alex DeBrincat

The biggest offseason acquisition that was made by “The Captain” was when he pulled the trigger to bring home Alex DeBrincat in a trade with the Ottawa Senators. After having two seasons where he topped 40 goals with the Chicago Blackhawks, the hope was that he could get himself to that scoring level once again. Being paired up with Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond to start the season, the man called “Cat” started on a tear.

Related: Larkin & DeBrincat Could Be Detroit Red Wings’ Next Dynamic Duo

His shot is what has stuck out the most through 30 games, but has gone quiet as of late, which pushes him from the number one spot to the number two spot in these rankings.

When the team acquired him, there were talks of the fact that his defensive game could be a liability. But, over the last handful of games, he has shown that he is more than capable of holding his own defensively. With the signing of former teammate Patrick Kane, there is certainly a chance that DeBrincat’s stick could get on fire once again much to the delight of the Red Wings fan base.

1. JT Compher

After signing Andrew Copp to a five-year deal before last season, fans were kind of baffled by the signing of JT Compher to almost the same contract this last offseason. But, he has looked like the best offseason signing by Yzerman and the Red Wings.

JT Compher Detroit Red Wings
JT Compher, Detroit Red Wings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Not only has Compher been one of the Red Wings’ most consistent players when healthy, but he has become one of the best penalty killers and has brought another level of energy when he is in the lineup. It has been evident with him and Larkin missing the last couple of games how important he is to the team. Along with his offensive production (19 points), Compher has been one of the most relied-upon faceoff guys for the team this season.

Even with the long-term contract and money owed, Compher could become a deal that many other teams wish they would’ve done if he can get back to form and play this way the rest of the season for the Red Wings.

Moves Have Made Huge Impact on Team

Overall, the offseason moves Yzerman made (free agents and trades) have made a huge impact on the team’s early season success, and have a very good chance to continue to do so as they look to make a playoff push. With the acquisition of Patrick Kane, players like DeBrincat and Larkin could very well benefit from the playmaking that “Showtime” possesses. The rest of the season for the Red Wings and their fans could be a very entertaining and rewarding one.

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