How will head coach Jeff Blashill set up the Detroit Red Wings offense in 2020-21?
Detroit Red Wings Training Camp is well underway in preparation for the 2020-21 season. How will head coach Jeff Blashill set up the team’s offense? Take a look at where Filip Zadina, Vlad Namestnikov, and other players will wind up on the Detroit Red Wings’ offense.
After what felt like years of waiting, Red Wings hockey is finally back. Ten months have passed since Detroit last took the ice. With a new season underway and a slew of new teammates, the Red Wings aim to move on from their toughest season to date.
Plenty of new faces have joined the team since the end of the 2019-20 season. With a team in desperate need of a shake-up and a roster in need of new life, head coach Jeff Blashill will be looking to make a change.
With that being said, how will the offense look at the start of the season? Apart from the top line, the Red Wings don’t have many weapons at their disposal. From bottom-six switch-ups to second-line opportunities to shine, take a look at what the Red Wings offense could potentially look like below.
The top line is set in stone.
The closest thing to certain on the Red Wings’ roster is the team’s top line of Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, and Tyler Bertuzzi. The team’s top line is their deadliest weapon. Larkin’s speed and creativity, Bertuzzi’s tenacity, and Mantha’s finishing power make this trio a perfect fit. Barring any injuries, the Bertuzzi-Larkin-Mantha line will be the team’s top offensive threat for the 2021 season.
The potential of the second line
Things really start to get interesting with the Red Wings’ second line. With so much uncertainty surrounding the rest of the lineup, Blashill has a lot to work with on the second line. Earlier in the offseason, the head coach implied that he wanted to let Robby Fabbri center a line. If Fabbri is chosen to be the second-line center, he’ll need linemates with finishing power that are able to pick up his passing.
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Filip Zadina has shown he can handle the rigors of a full NHL season while keeping up on the scoresheet. He’ll likely slot on the second line’s left-wing, assuming he has a strong showing this preseason.
The right-wing seems like the slot Blashill will frequently switch up. As of right now, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Bobby Ryan on the right-wing. He signed his contract with the Red Wings to obtain an increased opportunity and will likely find it on the team’s second line.
If the Fabbri center experiment doesn’t work out, though, recent signee Vladislav Namestnikov can serve as the team’s second-line center. He’s a skilled two-way player with a knack for the role and would work wonders alongside Fabbri and Zadina.
Making sense of the bottom-six
The Red Wings have a glut of forwards that can fit a bottom-six role. In a sense, it’s both a blessing and a curse; Blashill gets the gift of versatility at the cost of offensively-gifted players. The team is in sore need of solid centers.
Determining who among Valtteri Filppula, Vlad Namestnikov, Luke Glendening, and Frans Nielsen can serve as a solid third-line center will get messy. With so much uncertainty, Blashill may play it safe and go with Namestnikov or Filppula due to their two-way play.
Wingers on the third line will need to add as much depth scoring as possible to keep the team competitive. Assuming Michael Rasmussen makes the roster out of camp, he’ll likely play on the right-wing as he did in the WHL. The options for the left-wing are quite limited.
Between Luke Glendening, Sam Gagner, Darren Helm, Adam Erne, and Bobby Ryan, the bottom-six looks like an offensive mess. Expect to see these lines switched in a variety of ways throughout the season.
Two potential offensive predictions
Depending on how Blashill wants to play the roster, he’ll need to select twelve forwards and at least two extra players. These two options feel like the most realistic look at the team:
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Extras: Erne, Nielsen
Extras: Erne, Nielsen
The line charts will be intriguing on a nightly basis to see what changes Blashill makes with his second and third lines. The flexibility is nice, but the talent level is lacking. This offseason, the team made a step in the right direction, but it’s still going to take time.
What do you think of these two projected lineups? Which players should stay and which should go? Let us know in the comments!