DETROIT - Detroit Red Wings defenseman Filip Hronek has been named the 2018-19 Red Wings Rookie of the Year by Detroit Sports Media. Hronek skated in 46 games with the Red Wings in 2018-19, notching 23 points (5-18-23) and 30 penalty minutes. He led all Red Wings rookies in scoring and ranked fifth on the team with 19:58 average time on ice.
Despite playing in only 46 games, Hronek placed fourth among NHL rookie defensemen in points and had the second-best points-per-game average (0.50) of any first-year defenseman (minimum five games played), trailing only Buffalo's Rasmus Dahlin (0.54). He was the first Red Wings rookie defenseman to average a half-point-per-game or better since Nicklas Lidstrom in 1991-92 (0.75), and his 23 points tied the ninth-highest total in franchise history and equal the highest total by a Detroit rookie defenseman (along with Danny DeKeyser) since both Vladimir Konstantinov (34) and Lidstrom (60) in 1991-92. Additionally, Hronek matched Konstantinov and Lidstrom in another offensive category by becoming the first rookie defenseman to author a four-game point streak (March 31-April 6).
A former second-round pick (53rd overall) of the Red Wings at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Hronek was one of five players (along with Dennis Cholowski, Christoffer Ehn, Michael Rasmussen and Libor Sulak) to make his NHL debut in Detroit's season-opening game against Columbus on Oct. 4, making the Red Wings the first team to have five-or-more players debut in the same game since 1985-86. Hronek went on to pick up his first NHL point with an assist on Oct. 11 vs. Toronto, notching his first NHL goal the following game on Oct. 13 at Boston. He also skated in 31 games for the American Hockey League's Grand Rapids Griffins during the 2018-19 season, tallying 24 points (7-17-24), which ranked second among the team's defensemen despite only playing in 31 of the team's 76 regular-season games. During his time with Grand Rapids, he set a franchise record with an eight-game assist streak (Nov. 23-Dec. 7) and became the first player in Griffins history to score overtime goals in back-to-back games (Nov. 24 at Chicago and Nov. 26 at Iowa).
The second-year pro has appeared in 108 AHL games for Grand Rapids since 2016-17, totaling 65 points (19-46-65), a plus-25 rating and 93 penalty minutes and adding four assists and 48 penalty minutes in 12 Calder Cup Playoff games. Prior to turning pro, Hronek spent the 2016-17 season with the Ontario Hockey League's Saginaw Spirit, where he was the league's fourth-highest scoring defenseman with 61 points (14-47-61) in 59 games. A native of Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic, Hronek has also represented his country on several occasions on the international stage, totaling six points (2-4-6) in 10 combined games at the 2016 and 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships. He is also currently making his second-consecutive appearance at the IIHF World Championship, where he has five points (2-3-5) in his first three games after totaling three points (1-2-3) in eight games at last year's tournament.
Hronek will be honored by DSM prior to a Red Wings home game during the 2019-20 season. The DSM Red Wings Rookie of the Year Award dates back to the 1948-49 NHL season. Previous recipients of the award include current Red Wings Danny DeKeyser, Jonathan Ericsson, Martin Frk, Jimmy Howard, Niklas Kronwall, Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha.