I've noticed that everyone has been extremely pessimistic towards our players (I wonder why...) so I wanted to give my take on how I think each player has actually been playing. So, heeeeere we goooo with my book report on the Red Wings thus far:
Justin Abdelkader: (B) Taking Abdelkader for what he is, he has not played bad. He is not a guy who is going to score 20 goals or be a major force offensively, but he usually plays solid defensively and has been very good on the forecheck. Through 11 games he has 1 goal and 1 assist with an even rating, obviously, you would like to see him contribute a little more offensively or atleast drop the mitts more, but for what we expect from him, he has more or less met the expectations of him.
Dan Cleary: (D+) Where to start with Cleary. The problem with him is that he is one of those guys who probably won't contribute by himself, he needs skilled players around him. However, even when playing in the top 6, he hasn't contributed much. For a guy who was on a tear last night, you would obviously like to see him score much more because quite frankly his 1 goal and 2 assists through 11 games with a minus 3 rating is not acceptable for him.
Pavel Datsyuk: (B) Historically, Datsyuk is a slow starter, but this season seems extra slow for him. He just seems off. A lot of bad passes and poor shot selection. His backchecking has been typical of him (meaning incredible), but he is a -5 right now. Unacceptable for Datsyuk. He does have 2 goals and 6 assists through the first 11 though, so his production is on par as always, but defensively, he needs to step his game up.
Gustav Nyquist: (Inc) Can't really give Nyquist a grade seeing how he didn't get much of a chance to play. Hopefully in the future he will be given more opportunity.
Patrick Eaves: ( C ) Hurt by injuries and has been a healthy scratch. Not too much you can say about Eaves seeing how he has only played six games.
Drew Miller: ( C ) Honestly, I don't know what Drew Miller brings to the table. Why he is ever chosen over Eaves or even Brunnstrum, who wasn't given much of a chance so far, is beyond me. He is solid defensively and on the PK (which apparently is a rarity on this team?), but other than that, you can't expect much from him. 0 goals, 2 assists, and a plus 2 through 9 games, which I guess is on pace for what is expected of him production.
Jiri Hudler: (C+) Here's the problem with Hudler, if he isn't playing in the top six, he won't contribute. This isn't 2008 or 2009 when he was playing on the third line with Filppula and Samuelsson (which for the record is a incredible third line).You can't stick him with Abdelkader or Bertuzzi and expect him to produce. That's not his game. The bottom line is that he needs to play with Datsyuk. That will probably be the only way he will play to his potential. Overall I don't think he has been as bad as everyone thinks. He's been working hard and has logged 2 goals and 2 assists and a plus 1 rating in 10 games, which is a little below where you would like to see him at this point, but production is down across the board. What worries me is two things: First, his 12 PIM (way too high for him) and second, he only has 10 shots in 10 games. Definitely needs to shoot the puck more.
Henrik Zetterberg: (C-) 2 goals, 2 assists, and -6. That should pretty much speak for itself. What is going on with Zetterberg? Is it just that he has simply lost a step? Is he not the player he used to be? Even when playing with Datsyuk he couldn't get anything going, even with a ridiculous 48 shots. I wouldn't be surprised if he was injured.
Darren Helm: (A) Darren Helm might be one of the Red Wings best player through the first 11 games. He is easily the hardest working player on the team. Never takes a shift off. Last night against Calgary his line was clearly the best and I think Helm needs to be rewarded with more ice time.
Todd Bertuzzi: (D) Can somebody tell me where Bertuzzi fits in on this team? This guy needs to be a healthy scratch every night. Overall, he is just playing bad hockey. His 18 PIM are leading the team and his physical play is almost non-existent.
Cory Emmerton: (A) For being a rookie playing his first set up NHL games, Emmerton has been very good. He has a goal and an assist with a plus rating, so you can't really say anything too bad about him.
Valtteri Filppula: (A-) I know a lot of people on this forum like to hate on Fil, but at the end of the day, he has been on of our best players. He started off the season on fire, then like everyone else, went cold. His defensive play has been solid (per usual) and he has even contributed much more than he should offensively with 2 goals, 5 assists and a plus 3 rating through 11 games. The stat that really sticks out for me is that he has 20 shots (just as much as Franzen).
Fabian Brunnstrom: (Inc) Hasn't been given much of a chance to prove he belongs.
Johan Franzen: (B) 20 shots for The Mule is unacceptable. He is our best goal scorer and needs to start acting like it. He does have 4 goals and 3 assists so far, which is on par for his usual season, but I feel like over the last few seasons his scoring has become much more inconsistent. For now, we'll just blame it on the whole team playing poorly.
Tomas Holmstrom: (C+) He still has the fire, that's for sure. Despite diminishing minutes, he has still posted a goal and three assists in 9 games with a plus rating and has been his usual pesky self on the power play. Overall, he has been pretty solid.
Jakub Kindl: (B) Not a bad start to Kindl's first full season in the NHL. He has played much better than I expected him to, logging two assists, and has not made too many rookie mistakes. Overall, pretty good play from Kindl.
Nicklas Lidstrom: (A) The Captain has been our best player. Period.
Ian White: (B-) I never expected him to replace Brian Rafalski, so with that in mind, he has been a pretty solid addition. Not a gamebreaker by any means, but he has been good overall and a solid pickup for the Wings.
Mike Commodore: (Inc) Played has first game against Calgary and did not look too bad. However, he does look incredibly slow. If he can chip in offensively once every 6 games and post a plus rating, I think everyone will be happy with him. Plus, he is not afraid to fight, so we have that to look forward to.
Brad Stuart: (C-) No goals, no assists, and a minus 4 rating. For a guy logging top four minutes, that is unacceptable.
Jonathan Ericsson: (C+) For what I was expecting from Ericsson (which is nothing less than horrendous play), he has actually started off the season pretty well. Him and Kindl have gelled surprisingly well and with one assist and a plus 3, I would say Ericsson is in much better shape than last season. One thing every Wings fan must be glad about is his lack of bonehead mistakes, which have plagued him in the past.
Niklas Kronwall: ( C ) For a guy who just got rewarded with a lifetime contract, Kronwall has not responded very well. He has one goal and two assists but has a horrible -6 rating. Definitely needs to up his game.
Ty Conklin: (C-) He had the horrendous game in Washington, but other than that, he hasn't been too bad. Hopefully he can shape up to be the capable backup that he was in 2009.
Jimmy Howard: (B-) The difference between a good goalie and a great goalie is that a great goalie can steal games. At some point Howard needs to do this because while he has played well during this span of losses, he is still unproven as an elite goaltender.
So there it is, my assessment of each player so far. Sorry for making it incredibly long!
Edited by Moves Like Jagr, 04 November 2011 - 03:27 PM.