The second set of defenseman is a group of Europeans made up of Trevor Daley, Jonathan Ericsson, and Filip Hronek.
Trevor Daley, Grade: D
Playing in his sixteenth career NHL season, Trevor Daley has continued to regress into a former shell of the player he once was. Daley was involved in some trade deadline rumors with the Pittsburgh Penguins but ultimately was kept in Hockeytown. It seems that Daley’s time with the Detroit Red Wings and perhaps the NHL is about done, or at least numbered.
In forty-three games in 2019-20, Daley notched seven assists, while being minus twenty-two on the season. He would also post a 40.1 CF%, which is a full 6.0% lower than the team average for the season. Daley has regressed since getting to the Red Wings, and this year was a continuation of that regression, earning him a “D” grade. Once free agency begins this summer, Daley will be an unrestricted free agent as his contract here with the Red Wings will expire.
Jonathan Ericsson, Grade: F
Similar to Daley on the previous slide, the 2019-20 season was not kind to Jonathan Ericsson, and it might be time for him to return to Sweden. Ericsson would only play in eighteen games, and not register a single point. He was a minus-twelve on the season and was optioned to the Grand Rapids Griffins at one point.
Ericsson is a thirteen-year veteran, spending all thirteen years with the Red Wings, but his performance was worth nothing but an “F.” He was simply a washed-up version of the big-bodied defensive defenseman he used to be. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season, making $4.25 million this year on his contract with the Red Wings.
Filip Hronek, Grade: A
One of the few “A” grades given out to any of the Red Wings defensemen goes to Filip Hronek, who has come into his own in 2019-20. He was the highest-scoring defensemen as well as the fifth-highest scoring player on the team. In 2019-20, Hronek played in sixty-five games, scoring nine goals and tallying twenty-two assists for thirty-one total points.
Hronek is only twenty-two years old and had the highest average time-on-ice (ATOI) among the Red Wings defensemen. He would also post a 46.9 CF%, which was 1.1% higher than the team’s average. Hronek played exceptionally well in the opportunities as a top-pairing defender in 2019-20 with the injury to DeKeyser.
Following this season, Hronek will be under contract for two more years before he is a restricted free agent. If all goes well, Hronek should be able to continue developing into a top-pairing defender for the future of this Red Wings blueline. But looking at the 2019-20 season, he stepped up into that top pairing role and earned himself an “A” which is quite tough on this Red Wings team.