Detroit Red Wings: Predicting the defensive pairings in 2021-22

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Red Wings, Marc Staal
(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

Marc Staal and Troy Stecher should make up the Detroit Red Wings’ third pairing on opening night.

I wouldn’t say Detroit’s defense is suddenly the strength of the team, but things don’t appear quite as bleak in 2021 as they had been in the past.

The Detroit Red Wings brought back veteran defender Marc Staal on a one-year deal worth $2 million.  Yzerman added an expiring Staal before the 2021 season in exchange for a second-round draft selection for future considerations.  The deal allowed the Rangers to shed $5.7 million and gave the Red Wings future draft capital.  Staal proved to be a reliable veteran helping mentor Detroit’s youthful roster and certainly played well enough to earn another one-year deal.

I expect Staal to be paired with the veteran right-hander, Troy Stecher.  The two played exceptionally well down the stretch together last season.

Last season, Staal appeared in all 56 games for the Red Wings, averaging 18:25 minutes per night, and accounted for 10 points, including three goals.  Staal also maintained a Corsi For Percentage of 43.7 and started a whopping 65% of his five-on-five shifts in the defensive zone.

Shockingly, Stecher was not selected by the Seattle Kraken in the latest NHL expansion draft.  Instead, the Kraken elected to pick Dennis Cholowski from the Red Wings.

With Stecher returning to the Red Wings, it only lengthens Detroit’s backend.

Stecher recorded three goals and totaled 11 points last season with the Detroit Red Wings in 44 contests averaging 17:19 minutes per night.