Heading into training camp, the Detroit Red Wings had a plethora of roster decisions that needed to be hammered out.
Also, knowing they will be without the services of forward Tyler Bertuzzi for nine regular-season games in Canada due to not being vaccinated for COVID-19 forces head coach Jeff Blashill to start juggling his lines.
Unfortunately, the Detroit Red Wings will also be without the services of their talented first-line scoring winger Jakub Vrana who will be sidelined for up to four months with a shoulder injury. Vrana injured his shoulder just ten minutes into training camp after reporting to the club late due to a visa issue.
Recently I posted what I felt would be the Detroit Red Wings opening day defensive pairings to begin the 2021-22 season. In this article, I will be predicting what I think should be the opening night line combinations.
Let’s jump right into this.
Predicting the Detroit Red Wings top line to begin the 2021-22 season.
To no one’s surprise, the Detroit Red Wings will feature captain Dylan Larkin again down the middle.
The Red Wings hope Larkin can once again bounce back in 2021-22 after a down year offensively last season. The Red Wings captain produced just 23 points, including nine goals in 44 contests in 2020-21. The year prior, Larkin scored 19 times and totaled 53 points in 71 games.
This following career-highs in 2018-19 where he scored 32 goals and added 41 assists totaling 73 points in 76 games. The steady decline in production is somewhat concerning, but some of this is due to a subpar cast of offensive contributors. Larkin was without his pal and linemate Tyler Bertuzzi for most of last season due to a back injury that eventually required surgery.
Speaking of Bertuzzi, the 26-year old is expected to flank Larkin once again this season.
The Detroit Red Wings hope the nine games in Canada are the only ones their gritty top-line winger is forced to miss. The Red Wings are just a different, more productive team with Bertuzzi in the lineup.
Bertuzzi does many things well, including fearlessly retrieving the puck in the offensive zone. The young forward earns his money going into the dirty areas in the offensive zone, winning puck battles, and heading to the front of the net, causing havoc. He often takes a beating but commands plenty of attention from Detroit’s opponents.