TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — They’re back.
The 2022-23 Detroit Red Wings kicked off training camp on Thursday at Center Ice Arena, marking the first of five days of on-ice and off-ice sessions.
Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde, who is overseeing his first-ever NHL camp, said he is pleased with what he saw from his new club.
“We were just excited to get things going,” Lalonde said. “We’ve talked this to death in preparation and just want to see it translate on the ice. For the most part, I thought it was a pretty good day, even as a coaching staff.”
Video: Derek Lalonde | Media Availability | 09/22/22
Sixty-nine players are participating in this year’s training camp, including 40 forwards, 21 defensemen and eight goaltenders. And as Detroit’s 2022-23 roster begins to take shape, Lalonde is excited to help the Red Wings build a new identity.
“You can dissect last year’s season any way you want with the defensive deficiency numbers or the holes here and the holes there,” Lalonde said. “I think Steve (Yzerman) did a great job addressing those with free agency, but this is a group of guys that we feel can skate. We are going to use that as an advantage and potentially an identity for us.”
Lalonde said he “worked very hard trying to get to know the group” this summer.
“We literally worked off a spreadsheet on when we talked to a certain player, what we talked to him about and why,” Lalonde said. “It just forces you to stay on top of it. I think those relationships are vitally important.”
The first-year NHL head coach added that he prioritized building a relationship with the captain Dylan Larkin.
“Dylan and I have talked a ton,” Lalonde said. “Even some small projects, something as simple as our travel schedule and hotels. I’ve put a lot on him and talking to the leadership group and getting his feedback.”
Larkin expressed his hope for a competitive training camp, citing that unfamiliarity between players and coaches could be beneficial.
“I was a little nervous today getting on the ice,” Larkin said. “It’s something new and your first day to make a first impression. I think that’s so important for everyone on our team and for the new guys as well. It evens the playing field and it’s gonna be a very competitive camp, but you get a clean slate and new opportunity to impress a new staff.”
Video: Dylan Larkin | Media Availability | 09/22/22
Goalie Alex Nedeljkovic revealed that he felt the same jittery excitement.
“You could definitely tell in today’s practice how there was a lot of energy,” Nedeljkovic said. “There’s been a lot of buzz even at the rink the last two weeks with all the fresh faces around and what things are gonna be like and how they’re gonna run on a day-to-day basis.”
One of those fresh faces is forward David Perronwho signed a two-year deal with Detroit on July 13. And for Perron, representing the Winged Wheel is an exciting opportunity for a fresh start in his 16th NHL season.
“It’s pretty cool,” the 34-year-old Perron said. “An Original Six team, for me I’ve never had a chance (to play for one) throughout all the teams and opportunities I’ve had in my career so far. I think it’s really exciting for me to get to know Detroit. “
The Red Wings continue training camp through Monday before beginning their eight-game 2022-23 preseason slate against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG Paints Arena next Tuesday.
Sundqvist considered day-to-day
Forward Oskar Sundqvistwho did not take the ice on Thursday, is considered day-to-day, according to Lalonde.
“I think our training staff is trying to figure out a best-case scenario for him and how to manage it,” Lalonde said. “I don’t think it’s anything that’s going to be too concerning.”
After arriving to Detroit via trade from the St. Louis Blues on March 22, Sundqvist had four goals and four assists in 18 games last season with the Red Wings.