The UFA no one’s talking about: Red Wings must sign Walman

The UFA no one’s talking about: Red Wings must sign Walman

“He’s a very strong skater,” Seider said of Walman. “Very talented. Can outplay everyone in the league. It gives him confidence and I think he’s been playing with that a lot lately.

“You see he’s hard to defend in the O zone. We did a really good job closing the top line.

There is a society of mutual admiration when it comes to the Seider-Walman couple.

“Obviously he’s a world-class player,” Walman said of his D partner. “I love him. He doesn’t get enough D-zone credit either.

“It’s really easy to play with him. He can break the puck on his own. That’s a one-man wrecking crew out there. It’s fun to play with him.

The seamless way these two work as a duo is just another reason the Red Wings need to get Walman signed on the dotted line before he becomes a UFA on July 1.

Career campaign for Walman

Already, Walman has reached his career high with five goals this season. He is two points off his career-high 10 points in a season, set in the 2021-22 campaign. Additionally, Walman is a +13 team leader.

“The eye test was there, his underlying numbers were there,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde assessed of Walman’s campaign. “There are nights when we leave here, it feels like he was one of our best defenders.

Lalonde is equally expansive about how Walman and Seider teamed up in tandem.

“Both are really playing at a really good level,” Lalonde said. “They are proud to defend and they are both able, with their feet and their stick, to get out of the area with sometimes exits.

“They’ve been good together and hopefully will continue to move forward.”

Maturation of Walman’s game

With the St. Louis Blues, Walman was either up and down between the NHL and AHL or inside and outside the lineup. In Detroit, he found a stability in his game that Lalonde says is partly due to Walman’s maturity as a player.

“I think so, maturity and hopefully some growth in his game,” Lalonde said. “I kinda credit (Detroit assistant coach and former NHL defenseman) Bob Boughner.

Clearly, the Blues’ problems with Walman’s play – inconsistency and an apparent unwillingness to fight in the defensive zone – seem to be a thing of the past.

“He made huge mistakes in his game,” Lalonde said. “You don’t see the high risk in his game. His competition has been great. He wins battles.

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