Hronek staying in Detroit
The Detroit Red Wings may have finished second last in the Central Division last season, but they have their eyes on the prize as they continue to build towards the future. They have missed out on the playoffs for the last five consecutive seasons and will be looking to end the drought this year.
On Friday, the club confirmed that they have signed 23-year-old Czech defenseman Filip Hronek to a three-year contract extension worth a total of $13.2 million, with an annual cap hit of $4.4 million per season.
Hronek joined the Red Wings on July 14, 2016, from Czech Extraliga club Mountfield HK. He had played two full seasons with Mountfield before opting to make the move across the pond to play in the National Hockey League. Detroit drafted the youngster in the second round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, with the 53rd overall pick. He signed a three-year entry level deal with the Red Wings, but did not make his NHL debut with the club until October 4th, 2018.
Prior to his arrival in the NHL with Detroit, Hronek spent time developing in the Ontario Hockey League where he scored 14 goals and put up 47 assists in 59 games with the Saginaw Spirit. He was named the team’s Best Defenseman and Most Valuable Player. He was eventually assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League before finally being called up to the big team.
Hronek scored his first NHL goal a little over a week after making his debut, when he found the back of the net against the Boston Bruins, beating Finnish goaltender Tuukka Rask on October 13, 2018. During his first season with the Red Wings, Hronek had five goals and 18 assists in 46 games to lead all Detroit rookies in points. His 23 points ranked fourth in NHL scoring for a rookie defenseman. He was voted the Red Wings’ 2019 Rookie of the Year in a poll conducted by Detroit sports media.
In his second season, he put up nine goals and 22 assists in 65 games before the campaign was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Red Wings were not invited to the NHL bubble in Edmonton due to their place in the standings, so Hronek returned to the Czech Republic to play for Mountfield HK. He headed back to the United States this past season to play 56 games for the Red Wings, scoring two goals while providing 24 assists in 56 games.
Despite his age, Hronek also has a wealth of experience playing for his national team, as he captained the Czech Republic at the 2017 World Junior Hockey Championships. He also represented his country at both the 2018 and 2019 World Hockey Championships. At the 2019 tournament, he led all defensemen in scoring and was named as the Best Defenseman. He has featured in six tournaments for his country, but is still waiting to claim his first medal. The Czech Republic finished 7th in the 2021 edition of the tournament.