2021-2022 has been an unbelievable turn of events for Detroit. Lucas Raymond has 30 points in 36 games as a 19 year old winger. Moritz Seider has 23 points in 36 games as a 20 year old defenseman and is playing almost 22:30 per night. Raymond’s feats have drawn comparisons to Yzerman. Seider’s first year in GR drew comparisons to Nick Lidstrom.
Off and on for the past 2 years I’ve talked about Lidstrom’s scouting work for Detroit. He hasn’t worked in an “official” capacity, but has certainly been feeding the machine. And, since Yzerman’s tenure began, things on the defensive size (as well as on the top right wing) continue to look up.
While Moritz Seider led rookie defensemen in scoring in the SHL, Albert Johansson was second last year. Simon Edvinsson is tied for rookie points with Nystrom(4 and 8 for Nystrom and 1 and 11 from Edvinsson) and Nystrom has played 4 more games. 3rd in points for SHL Dmen 20 and under? William Wallinder. Another Wings prospect. Want to bump the list up to Dmen under 21? Albert Johansson takes the top spot, the next three stay the same. And Edvinsson is 5 points behind having played 8 fewer games. As an 18 year old.
So, the top 4 defenseman scoring in the SHL under 21, 3 of them are Detroit players. And now, the best defenseman in Detroit history is going to be taking a more active role. (Lidstrom loves Johansson. He saw Edvinsson play at 17 and magically, Detroit drafts him at 18).
How on earth can so much happen in one season? It didn’t. It started with Larkin. Bertuzzi was then drafted “way too high”. Hronek came in. Rasmussen is becoming a third line center that you need to have. Vrana, let’s hope he’s healthy and ready to go. De La Rose turned into Fabbri. Seider got drafted “way too high”. Raymond got drafted “way to high” (a few have said they were happy with it, but the majority of Yzerman’s first round picks have been dumped on). Now we have Cossa developing. Piece by piece, player by player. Zadina is learning to work as a guy who isn’t scoring. (Way too many guys sulk and fall apart). The chess board has been tweaked year after year (and Kenny deserves some credit). Now we may have 3 defensemen coming to North America hungry for ice time and Dekeyser/Staal and Leddy may be battling for depth minutes.
When Lidstrom was drafted, the golden age of playoff streaks began. Just like there had been then, pieces were in place ready for him to do his thing. But, you cannot overemphasize what a humble, hard working and brilliant mind can do to push things forward. We need some help at center and at the wing. Some of those defensive prospects may end up being traded. But, if there’s a chance that in Traverse City you will have a room with Yzerman, Lidstrom, Draper, Fischer, Kronwall with guest appearances by how many others, the tickets to that camp are going to carry scalper prices.
Yzerman doesn’t sleep safe who knows what he has next. For now, he’s a lot. Fans are cheering, players are coming together,