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Ten Games in: Player Grades

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#1 Guest_Crymson (Guest)

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 09:39 PM

As I've got some time on my hands and figured that doing so would be enjoyable, I've jotted down my opinions on player performance thus far. Enjoy the read.



Justin Abdelkader: B. Abdelkader's role is to crash, bang, retrieve pucks, and score where he may, and he has done a fair job of it. He may be better suited to the third line, as he continues to have trouble producing elsewhere.


Daniel Alfredsson: A-. It took Alfie a few games to get comfortable, whereupon it quickly became apparent why this guy is a lock for the Hall of Fame. He excels on offense, is scrupulous on defense, and positively exudes poise. Now he just needs to start scoring goals.


Joakim Andersson: B+. Faceoffs and defensive play are Andersson’s roles, and he has been performing those admirably. His play in his own zone, already quite good last season, has shown marked improvement in the current campaign, and he has become a mainstay on the penalty kill. He’s committed to defensive play in a way that few players are. Unfortunately for him, he spent quite a bit of time on that abomination of a 3rd line with Bertuzzi and Cleary. As was shown in the game against the Sharks, he performs better on a shutdown line. Look for him to continue improving as he matures.


Todd Bertuzzi: C+. Three points just isn’t good enough for the role Bertuzzi plays. He certainly tries his hardest, and he’s still got a lot of talent, but his age is showing. While it’s possible that he’s not being optimally used, it’s clear that he’s no longer able to generate much offense of his own accord.


Daniel Cleary: D. Cleary has been virtually invisible when he isn’t falling down or making a mistake. He’s still got all the heart in the world, but his play is even more dismal than it was last season. He has been utterly ineffective on offense---Babcock seems to have recognized this, as Cleary’s power play time per game has dwindled to almost none---and even the famously hard-nosed element to his game seems to be absent now; for example, he currently ranks below even Johan Franzen in hits and blocked shots. I can’t say what he contributes behind the scenes, but right now he’s taking up a spot in the lineup that could be far better utilized by any of several other players.


Datsyuk: A+. Datsyuk performs as well as he is able: that is, at a level matched by exceedingly few professional hockey players anywhere. He is capable of feats unmatched by anyone, and never gives less than 100%. He is truly as a fine wine, growing only better with age.


Danny DeKeyser: A. Truly a gem, DeKeyser plays with poise and ability generally reserved for players with ten times his level of experience. He has demonstrated his ability to ably play top minutes in any situation, and this with only 22.5 games of NHL experience. DeKeyser is performing splendidly, and it’s entirely possible, perhaps probable, that he has not yet even sniffed his full potential.


Patrick Eaves: N/A. Patty is hopefully on his way to recovery, though it’s unclear if he’ll have a spot on the team whenever he does return.


Cory Emmerton: C-. Anything that Emmerton can do, Glendening can do better. Emmerton is simply mediocre at everything he does, and he does not work hard enough to compensate. Barring a string of injuries at center, Emmerton's days with the Red Wings are almost certainly over.


Jonathan Ericsson: A. Ericsson has grown from a mistake-prone, boneheaded youngster into a rock-solid shutdown defenseman. While it would be great if he’d learn to better use that giant slap shot of his, he certainly does his job well as it is.


Johan Franzen: C-. It’s plainly obvious at this stage that Franzen is held back from stardom only by his refusal to exert himself. His excellent performance in the game against the Avalanche is a microcosm of his very substantial talent and ability, both of which will continue to go unused so long as he continues to float. One can only hope that he will someday soon find reason to reform his attitude.


Luke Glendening: B. Glendening brings a lot of energy and speed to his game. Though he's a bit undersized, it's clear he's got a future as an effective NHL grinder ahead of him. Whether or not that will be in Detroit is as yet unclear.


Jonas Gustavsson: A. Monster let in a couple of stinkers during his three-game run, but he was excellent in sum. Though his troubles have always centered on consistency rather than talent, it’s nevertheless good to know that the team has a capable backup.


Darren Helm: N/A. As with Eaves, he’ll hopefully be able to play again soon. Unlike Eaves, he has a guaranteed spot when he returns. Hockey analysts rightly refer to Helm as a difference-maker.


Jimmy Howard: A. Howard has thus far been as rock-solid as he was last season, or perhaps even better. He hasn’t yet let in a single bad goal.


Jakub Kindl: B. Two seasons ago, Jakub’s future with the organization was very much in doubt. Not so anymore, as he has developed into a fine bottom-four defenseman and continues to improve. Hopefully he’ll find that offensive touch one day. In the meantime, he’ll remain a very viable and cost-effective option for the third pairing.


Niklas Kronwall: A. Few if any complaints can be made about Kronwall’s play thus far. He has performed quietly and ably as the team’s #1 defenseman, as befits his well-earned position as one of the mainstays of the team.


Brian Lashoff: B. Far from his often bungle-filled showings of last season, Lashoff has performed very ably thus far. He’s unlikely ever to contribute much offense, and he’s best kept away from top opposition, but he has been consistently making the correct plays in the defensive zone. At the very least, he’ll remain an affordable third-pairing option.


Drew Miller: C. While nobody expects Miller to be highly visible, he is rightly expected to be at least somewhat visible, and he has thus far been neither. Perhaps this can be blamed on his linemates---he has played very well in the past with the likes of Eaves and Helm, neither of whom are currently available---but better things were expected of him when he was awarded his new contract.


Xavier Ouellet: N/A. One game isn’t enough to form an opinion from, though his performance therein was very encouraging.


Kyle Quincey: B-. Yes, Quincey isn't flashy, and yes, he doesn’t produce offensively, and yes, he probably wasn’t worth the 1st that was given for him, and yes, he hasn’t done as well as anyone---management included, most likely---had hoped. However, this doesn’t mean that he’s a total loss, and he has stepped up quite nicely in the three games since Kronwall’s injury. Hopefully this will continue.


Mikael Samuelsson: D+. Just about nobody wanted Samuelsson to be on the team this season, management included, and for good reason: he just isn’t a worthwhile component. He did, amusingly, score the first goal of the season, but his very questionable utility has seen him in and out of the lineup since. He’s not the sort to make glaring errors, but he’s also not particularly good at anything.


Brendan Smith: C-. “Frustrating” is the best word to describe Smith’s performance so far. It is plainly apparent that he has a very substantial level of talent. It is just as obvious that he lacks entirely the poise to go with it. His best two games of the season have come when he was not paired with Quincey; whether or not the two of them simply bring out the flaws in each other, it’s clear that Smith has a lot of maturing to do.


Tomas Tatar: N/A. Like Smith, Tatar has got a lot of talent. Unlike Smith, he’s got the poise and confidence to go with it. Also unlike Smith, he’s not being given much of a chance. Hopefully this changes; he deserves a proper shot now, not later.


Jordin Tootoo: C+. Tootoo brings a lot of energy and verve to the ice, and lays out everything he’s got on every shift. Unfortunately for him, whether or not he’s the best use of a roster spot is open to question.


Stephen Weiss: C-. Weiss hasn’t been nearly good enough, plain and simple. He performs decently in the defensive end and on the penalty kill, but he has been generally invisible, and his speed and ability have been nowhere on display. This can be explained away somewhat by his unfamiliarity with the system, but he’s got to turn his play around soon if he’s to justify the very substantial investment made in him.


Henrik Zetterberg: A+. Truly a worthy successor to Yzerman and Lidstrom, Zetterberg brings it all every game.

Edited by Crymson, 23 October 2013 - 12:43 AM.

#2 RedWang


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Posted 22 October 2013 - 10:01 PM

Great post. Pretty much agree with everything you said! Enjoyed the read.

#3 joshy207


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Posted 22 October 2013 - 10:31 PM

Spot-on, very well thought out and written!

#4 Red Wings Addict

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:57 PM

Brendan Smith: C-. “Frustrating” is the best word to describe Smith’s performance so far. It is plainly apparent that he has a very substantial level of talent. It is just as obvious that he lacks entirely the poise to go with it. His best two games of the season have come when he was not paired with Quincey; whether or not the two of them simply bring out the flaws in each other, it’s clear that Smith has a lot of maturing to do.


I agree with the frustrating description but not so much the "very substantial level of talent".  At least relative to the NHL level.  I see a player who can skate and play aggressively and with decent skill.  He doesn't currently have much of a toolbox for the tools/talents he has at his disposal but maybe at the NHL level he doesn't have many special tools after all.  

#5 Red Wings Addict

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 12:05 AM

Don't really know what's going on behind the scenes but my hope is that Z and Kronner are in Mule's ear about maximizing his ability.  Maybe they're the only ones that can grab his undivided attention.  

#6 Shaman


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Posted 23 October 2013 - 12:11 AM

Only argument, as I am sure you would have predicted, is that I think the grade for Abdelkader is a bit generous for a guy who is on pace for 23 points while playing with players on pace for 91 pts each. But I do agree with what you said, if he were on the 3rd line as an energy/depth scoring, he would be having a really good season.

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#7 55fan


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Posted 23 October 2013 - 12:24 AM

You should really write professionally.  If you wrote a hockey column, I'd read it faithfully.


And then I'd write idiotic, borderline illiterate comments. :P

Edited by 55fan, 23 October 2013 - 12:26 AM.

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#8 F.Michael


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Posted 23 October 2013 - 08:56 AM

Spot on assessment Cry!


IMHO - from we've seen of Tartar - he looks as though he has the skillset, and overall ability to play on many NHL teams 2nd line (unfortunately he won't get much time in Detroit albeit a few injuries). 

Only argument, as I am sure you would have predicted, is that I think the grade for Abdelkader is a bit generous for a guy who is on pace for 23 points while playing with players on pace for 91 pts each. But I do agree with what you said, if he were on the 3rd line as an energy/depth scoring, he would be having a really good season.

Yes - Abby could be doing more (pts wise) when on the top line.

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#9 TheXym


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Posted 23 October 2013 - 09:17 AM

Very well written! I concur.
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#10 motorcitykid


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Posted 23 October 2013 - 09:18 AM

Fairly decent review on most of our guys. I must agree with the Franzen, Bertuzzi, Cleary & Sammy comments even moreso. Bertuzzi is a waste, between those s***ty wraparound attempts on shootouts, and him looking like he has the Wings held at gunpoint for 2 million to "look" like a hockey player. Go, please. As for Cleary, while I have a soft spot for him, I do agree that he has done ZERO to warrant time in the lineup. These kids have to play. I'm fine with Cleary sitting, although I know Babs loves him too much. I was disappointed the deal with Philly never materialized. Sammy is too weak on the forecheck, too weak with those infuriating wristers to the opposing goalie's glove, and he looks like just another guy collecting a paycheck on what he has already "done" here - not what he may contribute this year. Franzen is too weak on the puck nowadays and aside from a glimpse or two of the old Franzen, he looks like a 4th liner out there most nights so far. We are in tough spots with these guys, agreed, but these kids have to play. Tatar & Glendening especially.

#11 VM1138



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Posted 23 October 2013 - 09:29 AM

Bertuzzi has played well. Let's save our veteran bashing for those who deserve it. I'm looking at you, Sammy.
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#12 matthewdanna


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Posted 23 October 2013 - 10:37 AM

Agree on most of your assessments...


Slight changes:

Franzen & Weiss = C. Franzen has played well in the last 3 games, and his lines have been constantly changing.  Weiss's defense has been really good and I like his effort level.  Still, they haven't clicked offensively yet.  I still have faith.

Kronner & Ericsson = A-. I really think DD has been our best defenseman this year, but of course he hasn't been playing against opponents top lines.  Still, I think Pav and Z do a lot of the defensive work to make up for some of the turnovers made by Kronner and E.  But don't get me wrong, they have been good... the A- denotes room for improvement IMO.

Cleary & Sammy = Cleary > Sammy so their grades should show that... Cleary =D+/C-, Sammy = F- (and 0.0 GPA)

#13 Wings_Dynasty


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Posted 23 October 2013 - 10:48 AM

I think Tootoo is worth of at least a B-. When he gets on the roster, he does his job. The biggest complaint about him before the season started was that a player like him offsets any positives he brings with penalty minutes. He has zero so far. I can also think of one situation where he drew a penalty that lead to a goal. I would like to see him hit a little more and get to the net a little faster once they get into the offensive zone to be a net-front presence but overall he is doing well.


Now let's see how much longer they will keep him around. With Helm on the way I am sad to say that he seems to be the odd man out.


I would much rather see Cleary and Sammy sent away before Tootoo. But I am not expecting much from Holland in terms of creativity to keep a player he has already shopped around.

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#14 Richdg



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Posted 23 October 2013 - 11:20 AM

Pretty good to date. But this was mostly known before the season. Our "big" forwards are bad. Too old, too slow, always hurt, and don't produce. On the plus side, all of them are UFA's after this season. Time for Alfie, bert, Sammy, and cleary to walk. we still have 1 buyout left and it needs to be used on Franzen. he is freaking 33/34 now and it will never click. Time to move on from him and cut ties.

as for the team as a whole, yes it is a lot like last year. when we score 3+ goals we are undefeated. When we score 2 goals or fewer we have a losing record. We have a good solid defense and a O that needs work.

#15 Uncle Danny

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 11:20 AM

Great post.  I don't usually go on for posts saying nothing more than "this^" but you get an A+ for this one.

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#16 PavelValerievichDatsyuk


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Posted 23 October 2013 - 11:36 AM

I also think Tootoo's grade should be higher. I agree that his roster spot is better used by Tatar or Nyquist, but that's not his fault. He's done well with his opportunity and provided consistant effort and energy.

#17 b.shanafan14


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Posted 23 October 2013 - 11:41 AM

Good assessment overall, but here would be my tweaks:


Abdelkader: B-/C+ While he has been a good checking forward as usual, his production is inadequate given his roles on the top-line. As others have pointed out, Abdelkader should be producing at least a legitimate fraction as much as his linemates, or more given the attention both Pav and Z get whenever they are on the ice.


Bertuzzi: B/B- Comparing him and his role to Abdelkader should give Bertuzzi the edge. He holds on to the puck better, creates space better, and manages to make his own hay. Statistically the two are similar with more goals to Bertuzzi and overall better play. As things stand through 10 games, I've preferred Bert on the Top-6 wing to Abdelkader, and he has met/surpassed low expectations.


Howard: A-/B+ He hasn't been bad, and at times he has been very good, but he is far from flawless. He has let in a few stinkers and his rebound control is still a bit suspect. I would say there is plenty of room for improvement, despite being hung out to dry on many nights.


Kindl: B+ I think the kid has taken some huge strides and surpassed expectations thus far. Offensively its just a matter of time before he starts showing up on the scoresheet regularly, especially against weaker competitions in the 2nd and 3rd pairing. In terms of his performance relative to his role, I'd say he is excelling through 10 games.


Tootoo: B+ Again, performance relative to his role, Tootoo makes this lineup better. Even when he isn't dropping the gloves, Tootoo has been our best 4th liner. When he is in the lineup, his line spends most of the time forechecking and attacking. He provides energy and sandpaper, and while he is the most attractive piece to move, he makes us better in the short-term.

#18 Z Winged Dangler

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 12:17 PM

Glendening B+, Kindl B+, Bertuzzi B and Tootoo B+.  Other than that I agree with everything and the write ups are very good, especially Cleary.

I like this team.

#19 hillbillywingsfan


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Posted 23 October 2013 - 12:50 PM

I am not sure how you list all of the issues of Quincey and still give him a B- and then give Tootoo a C+ who has played well above what anyone on here expected of him. And all the complaints that people had about tootoo like putting himself out of position and taking bad penalties have not been seen any so far. I agree with most of what you said on everyone else just not those 2. I would probably give Q a solid C and give Tootoo a B or B+

Edited by hillbillywingsfan, 23 October 2013 - 12:51 PM.



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Posted 23 October 2013 - 03:03 PM

It's time to get over the whole heart and effort bit with Franzen.  Like Fedorov and others, Franzen looks like a world beater one night and is invisible the next.  Always been that way, always will be that way.  But at the end of the season, he's going to have 30 or so goals like always.  Move on to something else.

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