The frontrunner to land a job on the blueline, Hronek is the most skilled and easily considered the top defensive prospect the Red Wings have. His future can be bright, but it all depends on the development and nurturing of that skill.
Filip Hronek can become one of the most agile and offensively-minded defensemen that the Red Wings have seen in a long time. The game surrounding the Wings have evolved into having that ultra-skilled defender to carry pucks up the ice himself or make those timely stretch passes to a surging forward. The closest this team has gotten to that in recent memory is an aging Mike Green and that’s not saying a lot. Gone are the days when Brian Rafalski can stand in place and win Cups.
BY THE NUMBERS
Everywhere Hronek has been, he has put up a ton of points from the blueline. The right-handed defenceman is a constant threat that will punish teams for reacting slowly.
The only concern of Hronek’s offensive game is that a total of 19 points of his 39 this past season, was on the powerplay. He can provide the essential role as a powerplay quarterback, but at even-strength his raw numbers don’t look too good. That play will develop though and he has been incredible at such a young age.
Below is a chart taken from prospect-stats.com, using the estimated-TOI, Hronek is believed to have been consistently on the Griffins’ second-pairing, but every other metric has Hronek scoring at a top-pairing rate. You can imagine what he would do if only he was able to get a couple more minutes per game. This chart is for all situations, not just even-strength.
To compare, super prospect Rasmus Andersson of the Stockton Heat put up the same Primary Points/GP number as Hronek did here. Other defenceman that put up the same number or less show a pretty good example of where Hronek is in his game — Travis Dermott, Oliver Kylington, Ethan Bear, Ryan Murphy, and Adam Clendening all belong in that group.
Explained more in the article below, Hronek had an incredible season with the Griffins. Comparable to those of PK Subban, John Carlson, and Hampus Lindholm.
In the midst of mock lineup season, Hronek has been a mainstay on most fan’s dream lineup. He provides that injection of youth that is much needed in this Red Wings roster, as well as some offense from the blueline. Besides the newly re-signed Mike Green, there is absolutely zero offense coming from any Red Wings defenceman.
Adding Filip Hronek to the 2018-19 roster might be slightly harder than it should be, but Holland must dig himself out of the hole that he created himself. If it means trading away a defenceman for peanuts or simply waiving a player that has a hefty contract, it must be done to have Hronek get some NHL experience.
The Wings were right in drafting the best player available ahead of any positional need, but now that leaves them with Hronek as their best option to transform into that top-4 defenceman they desperately need.
He is a good bet to become an NHL regular, as the game evolves into embracing all-out attack strategies, but there is always that seed of doubt in development. If Hronek starts with the Red Wings this season and looks like he belongs in the first quarter of the season, I will have little doubt in my mind what level of player Hronek can become.