Detroit’s Special Team’s Woes, 2 Points for Cheeka

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - FEBRUARY 20: Jonathan Bernier #45 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates a 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers with teammates at Little Caesars Arena on February 20, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Detroit played some of their most inspiring hockey in Saturday’s game against the Florida Panthers. The organization lost a long time masseur who had been with the Red Wings since 1998. Sergei Tchekmarev, better known as Cheeka, received love and prayers from players across the league. Detroit battled hard and picked up two points on Saturday after dropping their last previous three games. As is normal for the Red Wings, with the positives there are also glaring negatives that were exposed once again in the two game series against the Panthers. A NFL coach named Dennis Green once said “They are who we thought they were!” and that could not be more true about the Red Wings. There is some fantasy value on this team but don’t look too hard or you will hurt yourself in the end.  

The Detroit Red Wings are struggling to score goals and special teams have not helped at all. The Wings have the worst power play percent in the league, converting 4 of 62 chances for a league worse 6.5%. This team was desperately trying to find a way to get that turned around, as they turned to veterans Valtteri Filppula and Sam Gagner on the special teams units but continued to come up short. Detroit is only averaging 1.95 goals per game, second worst in the NHL. This team desperately needs Tyler Bertuzzi back in the lineup who was tied for first on the team with 14 power play points during the 2019-2020 season. Maybe the worst hidden stat of this season so far is Bertuzzi still leads the team with three powerplay goals. He has not played since January 30th against Florida. 

Detroit sits at 5-12-3 through twenty games so far this season. They have been involved in nine one-goal games, however only two wins from those games. The team has almost tried every lineup combination possible however and at this point you just have to admit the team is not good. Detroit will most likely end up with another top five pick and with discussion of changing the draft lottery format the Wings will end up at least in the top three. Detroit has had some of the worst draft luck in recent memory. In the most recent lottery draft alone the Wings fell from #1 to number #4 although the team finished last in the NHL and was 24pts behind the next closest team. 

From a fantasy hockey standpoint the team has a few players to keep an eye on. Depending on the matchup, Jonathan Bernier is the only goalie I would take a chance on with this team. He carries a 4-2 record, and although it’s weird to say, the team does seem to play better with Bernier in-between the pipes. Dylan Larkin and Robby Fabbri are the only players I would look to take from an offensive perspective but obviously keep an eye on Tyler Bertuzzi’s return timeline. If you are in one of those leagues that celebrate the little things, Luke Glendening has shined in the faceoff circle winning 67.2% with around 14.7 faceoff wins per game.

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Joel is originally from Mayville, Michigan. He graduated Northern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science towards Multimedia & New Technology with an emphasis in Sports Broadcasting. He started his career doing play-by-play broadcasting for the Marquette Royals of the MNJHL. After the league folded, he moved to Appleton Wisconsin and started working for a Pharmacy Benefit Company. In January of 2021 Joel joined TheFHN and has loved doing it ever since. Since starting, he has written for Winged Warriors and added In the Wild for the Minnesota Wild. Starting this upcoming season, he will be hosting a weekly podcast highlighting the Detroit Red Wings.


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