Name a player with Franzen's size and skill who takes so many nights off?
I guess what makes a player great is part skill and part work ethic/drive. Can't have one without the other. Franzen has always had the skill to be one of the league's best goal scorers. He's big, has a hard, accurate shot and plays with great centermen, whether it be Datsyuk or Zetterberg. That's a recipe for one of the league's best goal scorers. However, he's never been able to take his game to an elite level of scoring. He never scored that 60 points you're talking about.
I guess that's why he isn't paid more money. He is what he is. Namely, a guy that can score close to 60 points, but is unable to go higher because of his laziness and shyness. So he's worth the money he's paid. It just seems like a damn shame he couldn't be better, because the tools were there.
I look at guys like Datsyuk and Zetterberg, who didn't have some of Franzen's natural gifts, but made themselves into elite players. He had it, but never got there.
I believe the management of the Wings saw this in him and thats why they made the offer that they did to him. Its a good thing that the Wings didn't misread him and offer him 5-6 million a season. There are many players that make it to the NHL that have great talent to excel. Some, like Datsyuk, turn into elite players. Others, like Franzen, turn into decent/above average players. Then you have some, like Patrick Stefan who fizzle out.
So, while everyone is whining about Franzen and him not living up to his potential, I believe many people have to step back and look at the potential that hundreds of players enter the NHL with every year. How many of those become elite? Very very few. Which is why the Wings fans are holding their collective breath on who is going to take over when Dats and Zetterberg start their decline and/or retire. Nyquist, Jurco, and Tatar have the skills to be elite, but its not a given that they are going to be elite.
So once again we go back to the original question.
If a player is being paid $4 million a season and is meeting/exceeding expectations for what he brings to the table, is that a bad thing? Its obvious that Franzen is not a elite player, but he is not being paid as such, so why all the hate?