Jake Walman, a defenceman with the Detroit Red Wings, gained notoriety for his griddy a week ago after a comeback victory. And that particular instance perfectly captures the motivation for the Red Wings’ recent success.
Before Walman joined the squad, it was clear that the Red Wings liked him. Why else would they have insisted on including him in the Nick Leddy transaction from last March?
Though I doubt even Detroit’s astute general manager Steve Yzerman could have predicted this. Walman joined the team last year mostly as a depth player.
The 26-year-old had moments with the St. Louis Blues where he displayed promise. While playing with the Blues, he simply couldn’t consistently put everything together. He had the ideal chance to figure everything out in Detroit. And he has profited from this.
Walman’s 2022-23 Season
Walman’s shoulder surgery prevented him from playing at the start of this season. He wasn’t the only defenseman for the Red Wings to miss the start of the season. Mark Pysyk, an offseason acquisition, tore his Achilles not long after signing his deal.
On Detroit’s blueline, shifting pieces made room for Walman to return. Injured reserve Robert Hagg was placed, and Steven Kampfer wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire.
Walman participated in the third pairing for the team in his first month back. It wasn’t, however, all plain sailing. On December 8, he discovered a good scrape on himself, and he attributes that to light a fire under him.
Finally, he made a strong connection with Filip Hronek, who recently developed a passion for Detroit. especially on the ice’s offensive side. The Pittsburgh overtime winner then appeared.
Since then, Detroit has increased its faith in him. The Red Wings paired Walman with Moritz Seider, the Calder Trophy winner from the previous year, on their first line on Friday.
The Biggest Key
Walman has demonstrated his puck-moving skills. But his bravery in battling along the boards is maybe his most admirable quality. And the 26-year-old typically prevails in those conflicts.
Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde recently told the media, “There’s no doubt there’s been some confidence rising with him. “It’s a really good indicator for him and for us as a company, so we hope he keeps building on it and it’s sustainable.”
Everyone can easily see how confident he is in his abilities. He makes decisions with more confidence and no longer makes the minor errors that have previously held him back.
Lalonde continued, “He’s fixed some major faults in his game. “You fail to notice his game’s high level of risk. He is the cause of our successful exits, stops, and puck exits from our defensive zone.
A fantastic viral moment was Walman striking the griddy at the conclusion of an incredible comeback victory. But in a way, that entire episode sums up the reasons he’s earning the respect and admiration he does.
Red Wings teammate Andrew Copp struck the post before scoring in the contest. Magnus Hellberg made a tremendous save in the Penguins’ favor when they brought the puck back up the ice.
Walman slipped from his defensive stance and slammed into the goal as Copp brought the puck back up the ice. Michael Rasmussen, the other forward on the ice, remained in the back.
As his teammates came out to celebrate, Walman deposited the puck in the goal and griddled his way up the boards. We witnessed the same kind of assurance then that Detroit’s coaching staff is displaying at the moment.
It takes a lot of confidence to get into the correct position, crash the net in overtime, and score as a defenseman. It also takes a lot of confidence to hit the giddy after being behind 4-0 at one point on the opponent’s home ice.
With this assurance, Walman keeps establishing himself as an NHL defenseman. Detroit might have something great on its hands for years to come if he keeps it up.