Red Wings: New defense core should provide better defense in 2020-21

(Jeff Curry/ USA TODAY Sports)
(Jeff Curry/ USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Red Wings have vastly improved their defense core ahead of the 2020-21 season.

The 2019-20 season featured a Detroit Red Wings defense core that was absolutely atrocious. The organization struggled, allowing 3.73 goals per game, which was the most in the entire league, and they weren’t too far behind worst in the league while averaging 32.8 shots against per game.

While this is not totally on the Red Wings defensive unit, they certainly should take the majority of the blame. Considering how well Red Wings 2019-20 MVP Jonathan Bernier played while being peppered with shots, the defense core should be blamed.

But as the 2020-21 season continues to grow near and the organization awaits a return to the ice, General Manager (GM) Steve Yzerman has been hard at work. Looking at the additions, the defense core has vastly improved and should offer much more stability during the 2020-21 season.

More from Detroit Jock City

Not to say the Red Wings are going to turn things around and be a star-studded caliber defense or that any of them are going to win the Norris because that’s just false.

However, strides will be made, and the Red Wings should look a lot more sound and stable on the blueline.

Heading into 2020-21, the Red Wings will see a revamped and new crop of defenders, something that should bring major improvement.

Here is what the blueline looks like: (all speculation)

  • Pairing 1: LD Danny DeKeyser, RD Filip Hronek
  • Pairing 2: LD Jon Merrill, RD Troy Stecher
  • Pairing 3: LD Marc Staal, RD Alex Biega
  • Extra: LD Patrik Nemeth

Danny DeKeyser returns to the ice after injuries ended his 2019-20 season early; he likely heads back to that top pairing position he has maintained in past seasons. He will look to pick up his production once again during the 2020-21 season.

Also returning is Filip Hronek, who was the team’s best defender last season. He has emerged as someone who could easily become a solid number two as the years go by; he has been money for the organization.

Patrik Nemeth also will be present on the organization’s blueline once again, but he frankly got much more ice time in 2019-20 than he needed, but that comes when the defense core is as depleted as it was. Expect Nemeth to be a “fill in the gaps” or third-pairing guy in his second go-round with the Red Wings.

While Alex Biega was not much of an improvement, he returns to the blueline as a likely third-pairing defenseman. This could likely change if the Red Wings opt to start phasing in 2019 sixth-overall selection, Moritz Seider. Biega could find himself in the “extra” role if that happens.

Newly acquired defender Marc Staal should see more opportunities with the Red Wings than he had in New York last season. Staal may be a third pairing guy, but the Red Wings may try to squeeze all they can get out of the veteran defender if he does play well.

The Red Wings signed Jon Merrill this offseason, who adds value by playing on the second pairing or even possibly ending up on the first pairing depending on if he finds the success the Red Wings are hoping for. Merrill should also help in the defensive zone, helping knock down the number of goals against.

Perhaps the most intriguing signing this offseason for the defenseman was Troy Stecher; he should provide some offense and help in the defensive zone and be effective on special teams.

The defense core looks a bit different and looks like they will see some changes in the positive direction during the 2020-21 season. The Red Wings have made some smart moves to make their defense look more sound and stable.

Trending. Red Wings: Future looks bright under Steve Yzerman’s leadership. light

Expect the organization to finish better in terms of goals against and shots against per game metrics. It’s the small victories that count for a team in the rebuilding stage like the Detroit Red Wings.