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First Trimester Player Grades


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#1 Crymson

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 12:40 PM

I figured I'd write up another one of these.

 

Note that personnel formerly with the team but currently residing in Grand Rapids are not included, nor are temporary call-ups from same.

 

Opinions welcome (of course).

 

 

Forwards

 

Justin Abdelkader: B+. Abdelkader was inexplicably exiled to the 4th line soon after the season began, his ice time being superseded by players who were arguably less deserving. He has recently been elevated to the 2nd line with Helm and Alfredsson, and has developed solid chemistry with them both. Whatever else might be said, Abdelkader has done well in the role given to him. He plays physically, retrieves pucks, mucks in the corners and along the boards, plays admirable defensive hockey, and contributes satisfactorily on offense. He has recently been given more time on the penalty kill (replacing Cleary in that rotation), and has done very well in that capacity.

 

Daniel Alfredsson: B+. Alfredsson brings hard work, leadership, and excellent two-way play to the table. His play has been lacking only in consistency---he has had the tendency thus far to disappear for a few games at a time---and goal-scoring; most of his production thus far has come in the form of helpers.

 

Joakim Andersson: B+. Andersson is neither flashy nor quick, but he's not expected to be. He performs admirably as a defensive center, chips in on offense here and there, is a mainstay on a very successful penalty-killing unit, and has done excellently in the face-off circle.

 

Todd Bertuzzi: B-. Bertuzzi gives his all in every game, and it's undeniable that he still possesses a great deal of talent. Unfortunately, his body is less and less cooperative, and he's no longer capable of producing offense on his own.

 

Daniel Cleary: F. Two realities prevail with regards to Cleary. First is that he has contributed tremendously to this organization throughout the majority of his stay therein. In addition to his contributions on the score sheet, he has been an exemplary model of hard work, grit, and selflessness. Second is that his body is now a wreck, rendering him incapable of effective play on the ice. This is evident in his performance thus far, and Babcock appears to have finally accepted it as well; Cleary's ice time has been tremendously reduced in the past five games. Hopefully Cleary will see the light also; and it'd be great to see him given another role in the organization after he retires.

 

Pavel Datsyuk: A. The reasons are self-evident. Datsyuk continues to dazzle and impress in all areas of his game.

 

Darren Helm: A. Earlier in the season, I heard famous Red Wings hater Eddie Olczyk define Helm as a difference-maker and express belief that the Wings would very likely have defeated the Blackhawks last postseason had Helm been in the lineup. For once, I agree with Mr. Flintstone. Upon returning to the lineup, Helm promptly reminded all why he is such an integral piece of this organization. His sudden aptitude in scoring goals is a very pleasant surprise; after only 14 games, he's tied for 3rd in goal scoring on the team.

 

Johan Franzen: B. Whatever the reason for which Franzen took time off recently, it has worked. His first 13 games were dismal; in his 10 since returning to the lineup, he has racked up 13 points, five of which were goals, and has been part of the team's most successful line during that period. More, he's working hard on the ice. When he's on his game, the Mule can be a dominating presence. Hopefully his current level of play will persist.

 

Drew Miller: C+. Miller had a poor start. While his work on the penalty kill was very solid, he was atrocious at even strength. Fortunately, his play in the latter situation has begun to improve. Miller's play is very important for the performance of the bottom six; hopefully he'll continue his upward progress.

 

Gustav Nyquist: A. Normally, a player who has played only six games would not garner any grade. Nyquist, however, has performed brilliantly since being called up, and has played a very substantial role in the team's success over its past six games. He is an excellent passer, has an impressive ability to find the open spots on the ice, possesses a deceptively accurate shot, and is second only to Datsyuk in his ability to steal pucks from the opposition. He has thus far been part of an extremely effective line alongside Zetterberg and Franzen, and has more than justified the decision to give him a permanent spot on the team.

 

Mikael Samuelsson: D-. Samuelsson's lack of importance to this team is illustrated in the almost complete lack of expectations any fan of this team seems to have of him. Babcock seems to have written him off even before the season began, and Samuelsson's play has done nothing to suggest that this was an incorrect decision. The best that can be said about him is that the opposition rarely scores while he's on the ice; he ranks first on the team in that category. That said, he is played exclusively against the opposition's 4th line, so this is not altogether impressive, and he hasn't scored a goal since the first game of the season.

 

Tomas Tatar: B+. While his defensive play needs work, Tatar continues to demonstrate why he was last year's playoff MVP in the AHL. He's enormously agile, has tremendous control over the puck, and ranks amongst the fastest players on the team. He's almost certain to develop into an important role in the organization as his career progresses.

 

Stephen Weiss: D. “Disappointing” best sums up Weiss's play thus far. He has done precisely nothing to justify his salary, and currently inhabits the 4th line. Worse, he has shown no signs of improvement. While he does well defensively, that's not nearly enough. He faces a possible buyout this summer if his dismal level of play continues.

 

Henrik Zetterberg: A. As with Datsyuk, this is self-evident. Hank has been an exemplary leader and superb on the ice.

 

 

Defensemen

 

Danny DeKeyser: A-. Despite his youth and relative inexperience, DeKeyser is perfectly capable of playing acceptably on the first pairing. He can be played effectively in all situations, and has even shown a degree of capacity on the power play. While he has the occasional foible in his play, he's improving steadily, and has been very impressive. Look for him to be a mainstay on defense moving forward.

 

Jonathan Ericsson: A-. Ericsson's play over the past two seasons has certainly justified his new, long-term contract. He has developed from a boneheaded, mistake-prone youngster into a very solid shutdown defenseman with puck-moving upside. If he ever learns to use that enormous slap shot of his, watch out.

 

Jakub Kindl: C+. Kindl's improvement last season has not persisted. He continues to make inexplicable errors on defense, and suddenly seems unable to get shots through to the opposing goalie. He needs to be better, plain and simple. Inconsistency has always been his greatest drawback.

 

Niklas Kronwall: A-. While not as spectacular as a certain ex-Red Wing caused us to expect our #1 defenseman to be, Kronwall has nonetheless been solid. He performs well in all situations, and ranks amongst the league's best defensemen in scoring.

 

Brian Lashoff: B. Lashoff performs capably as a third-pairing defenseman on the third pairing and on the penalty kill. He is by no means flashy, and is generally invisible. This is perfectly fine for a bottom-pairing shutdown defenseman.

 

Kyle Quincey: F. Quincey has been patently horrendous, and is matched only by Cleary in ineffectiveness on the ice. But whereas Cleary's troubles stem from physical incapacity, Quincey's arise from his stupidity and atrocious situational awareness. More, he continues to be absolutely worthless on offense. Nobody could ever have dreamed that he'd be so terrible. And given the blithe, unconcerned look that he always presents during his frequent trips to the penalty box, and his seemingly total disinterest in improving upon his thus far dismal play, it's difficult to judge if he really cares that he's playing so awfully.

 

Brendan Smith: C. Smith has been frustrating. He makes his substantial talent evident on some occasions, and plays terribly on others. Unfortunately, the latter are thus far more common than the former. If he can consistently play up to his level of ability, he'll be a very valuable commodity. If he maintains his enigmatic play, he'll continue to be a source of problems. It's all up to him. Whatever the case, he's been far from good enough thus far.

 

 

Goaltenders

 

Jimmy Howard: B-. Howard has, in a word, been unsatisfactory. His play began strong and then tapered off abruptly. While it is certainly true that he has often been given very little offensive support, it's also true that he has let in numerous questionable goals. It's very important to the team that he return to his usual level of performance.

 

Jonas Gustavvson: A. Gustavsson's work with Jim Bedard appears to have paid great dividends. Far from the hectic, ineffective style he practiced in Toronto, Gustavsson now plays calmly and with solid technique. While he still lets in the occasional bad goal, he more often makes excellent saves, and has yet to lose a game in regulation. He has undoubtedly been the team's greatest surprise thus far.


Edited by Crymson, 02 December 2013 - 01:06 PM.


#2 Nev

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 01:29 PM

Agree with pretty much everything you wrote except Alfredsson.  40 years old and 21 points in 23 games - what's a guy got to do to get an A? :lol:


"If I can be totally honest, it's not a lot of guys you get impressed by. Actually, it's no one else but him. From the bench, to see what move he makes -- you're like, 'I wish I could do that.' Sometimes you sit on the bench and just think, 'wow,' and you look over to the other bench and they sit there and shake their heads, too. He has great, great skills. I'm probably not going to play with another player who has the kind of skills he has." Mikael Samuelsson on Pavel Datsyuk

#3 hooon

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 02:24 PM

Wow.

 

I never realized how top heavy the Wings are alphabetically.

 

 

But I do agree with most of the ratings. Good analysis.


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#4 wings87

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 02:38 PM

Agree with most of it, but a b+ for Andersson is a little high and I feel like you went too low on kindle and too high on Lashoff. But it's mostly nitpicking, other than that good job.

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#5 Euro_Twins

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 02:38 PM

It's quote obvious there's a handful or less of players holding this current squad back from greatness, hopefully that changes soon

#6 Crymson

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 02:41 PM

Agree with pretty much everything you wrote except Alfredsson.  40 years old and 21 points in 23 games - what's a guy got to do to get an A? :lol:

 

Like I said: better consistency. He's had two four-game stretches in which he had only one point.

 

But perhaps he deserves an A-.



#7 Timezown

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 03:44 PM

in my opinion it is pretty solid, except I think cleary quincey and samuelsson are rated too high



#8 mjtm77

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 05:19 PM

Good job!, great read. IMO Andersson is too high, Tatar also.

 

Tatar shows great flashes of what he can bring in the future, but he is a boy among men. He can play a third line role although the top 6 is not or him.


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#9 wings87

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 06:12 PM

Good job!, great read. IMO Andersson is too high, Tatar also.

 

Tatar shows great flashes of what he can bring in the future, but he is a boy among men. He can play a third line role although the top 6 is not or him.

 

I see what you are saying but I think Tatar has shown he can play at the NHL level he just has to learn that some of the moves that worked in the AHL won't work up here. 

He should keep getting better and better although I don't expect him to get that much stronger. he has a small frame so not much room to fill out. A B+ seems more than fair.


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#10 matthewdanna

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 06:37 PM

Forwards

Justin Abdelkader: B+. Good Solider, dynamic, has proven he can play on almost any line. Maybe gets a B for missing some on some great scoring opportunities, but he has been top 10 in the league in hits.

Daniel Alfredsson: B+. High B+, trending toward the A- range, especially if he is kept on the same line for an extended period of time.

Joakim Andersson: B+. Low B+ due to lack of offensive output, but defensively solid.

Todd Bertuzzi: B-. Agreed

Daniel Cleary: F. F------, 0.0 GPA. Ruins lines, makes everyone worse.

Pavel Datsyuk: A. Duh

Darren Helm: A. We would be in a lot of trouble without his return. Agreed

Johan Franzen: B. Agreed... but he is trending up!

Drew Miller: C+. Admittedly, I am big Miller fan... upgrade to B-

Gustav Nyquist: A. Agreed

Mikael Samuelsson: D-. Agreed

Tomas Tatar: B+. Agreed. I love him. Would love to see a him on a line with Helm and Gus. Seeing them together on PP2 was an early Christmas present.

Stephen Weiss: D. Disagree here to some extend because he has been moved around so often and has been recently paired with Sammy and Cleary. I still like what he does without the puck and see flashes of his potential. C-

Henrik Zetterberg: A. Give him the A+. Potential MVP candidate.

 

Defensemen

Danny DeKeyser: A-. Despite his youth and relative inexperience, DeKeyser is perfectly capable of playing acceptably on the first pairing. He can be played effectively in all situations, and has even shown a degree of capacity on the power play. While he has the occasional foible in his play, he's improving steadily, and has been very impressive. Look for him to be a mainstay on defense moving forwardPerfectly stated. Also, I love him. Future Captain or Assistant material. Agreed

Jonathan Ericsson: A-. YEP

Jakub Kindl: C+. Kindl's improvement last season has not persisted.  Inconsistency has always been his greatest drawback. Totally agree! Started off the year pretty well and has regressed a little bit.

Niklas Kronwall: A-. Still has the occasional bad turnover, but his offense cannot be understated. Agree with the A-

Brian Lashoff: B. is generally invisible. This is perfectly fine for a bottom-pairing shutdown defenseman. Agreed

Kyle Quincey: F. Don't exactly agree. While I would love to see him traded for a RH defensemen or draft pick (and bring up someone from the AHL) I haven't found myself throwing my controller or cell phone that often due to his play recently. But, his teammates have saved his ass plenty on many of his turnovers. I give him a D+ because Cleary has been AT LEAST 2 letter grades worse than him.

Brendan Smith: C. I think he is starting to turn the corner. He's played well of late, making less boneheaded plays. C+

 

Goaltenders

Jimmy Howard: B-. Agreed

Jonas Gustavvson: A. He has undoubtedly been the team's greatest surprise thus far. Agreed



#11 Crymson

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 12:14 PM

Good job!, great read. IMO Andersson is too high, Tatar also.

 

Tatar shows great flashes of what he can bring in the future, but he is a boy among men. He can play a third line role although the top 6 is not or him.

 

Andersson has performed well in his role. Tatar is still learning, but has been playing well also.



#12 Shaman

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 12:32 PM

Drop the grade for Howard to a C+/C. 

 

Z is an A+, up until this injury he was on pace for one of his best seasons, and all accounts say hes been a great leader. 

 

Might bump Bert up to a solid B, for what he is he's played great.

 

Quincey is a D-, might not seem much different, but. hes been bad, he hasn't been Lebda.


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#13 dat's sick

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 12:39 PM

I don't know where you found a "-" in Kronwall's play, this is about as good as anyone could realistically expect him to play in his career. 

 

Alfredsson with the same grade as Abdelkader, Andersson and Tatar doesn't seem quite right even factoring in different roles/expectations. Abby is a B, Andersson a C+ and Tatar probably B-. I could probably go a little lower on Kindl and Howard too. 

edit: agree with the above Quincey should move up a notch, he's not quite Cleary levels of horrible but he's obviously still very bad.

 

Enjoyed reading it though and pretty much agree with everything!


Edited by dat's sick, 03 December 2013 - 12:40 PM.


#14 GoWings!

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 01:14 PM

Quincey is a straight up F as is Cleary. Can't disagree there. I'm not a fan of Bert anymore so I might be biased but I think he should be a C+ and Jimmy Howard is 6-7-6 and has let in a bunch of soft, late game changing goals. I would give him a C- and Andersson a C because he just doesn't show up on the score sheet ever he's a bit slow and he is not a solid two way guy. He's been damn good at faceoffs though. I'd give Babcock a C+ with his strange line juggling and obsession with Cleary and having Quincey out on the ice in a few of those overtime games. I agree with pretty much all your grades otherwise.

#15 Aznknight

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 12:28 AM

Unfortunately, Howie should be a C.

#16 GoalieManPat

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 09:28 AM

Agree with most of the ratings except for Cleary and Kronwall. Cleary I wouldnt even grade. Id mark him as sent to the principles office for never even showing up. Maybe they can convince him he actually did sign with Philly and gets on the team plane with them after tonights game. Kronwall while hes been good could be leading in defenseman scoring if he could get his shot  back. I dont know what it is this year but every golden chance he is getting he is putting way over the net. If he could have finished better he would be up near 30 pts between more goals and more assists from rebounds caused by hitting the net.


Edited by GoalieManPat, 04 December 2013 - 09:29 AM.


#17 b.shanafan14

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 09:49 AM

Another great grades post. Agree with everything, but would bump Weiss down to D- based on expectations, incapability in the role and salary for which he was signed, while giving both Kindl and Smith a bump up to B- and C+, respectively. I think both have been much better overall, while both suffer from inconsistency, high peaks and low valleys, but for the majority have improved.

 

Also, a case could be made for lowering Howard's grade to a C+, based on his inability (up until his last game) to make the big save or just not allow a closing-minute stinker. He'll get better, but over the first third of the season I don't know if he could have been much worse, with lack of goal-support still giving him the benefit of the doubt.



#18 uk_redwing

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 10:23 AM

Maybe we should make up a new grade called a "Dan Cleary" for players who were expected to be bad, but somehow were worse than anyone ever imagined but yet in an unsurprising and expected way.

 

Agree with most of the grades otherwise. I'd mark Andersson a C- as I think he's a bit of a plug. He's good at faceoffs and can PK but otherwise he offers little. I was surprised he got such a quick promotion from Grand Rapids originally, same as with Emmerton. I'd also mark Samuelsson lower. He is the only person to benefit from playing with Cleary as it makes him look better than he is. He's still an infuriatingly ineffective waste of cap space.


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#19 Internet.Unknown

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 03:44 PM

I'd mark Andersson a C- as I think he's a bit of a plug. He's good at faceoffs and can PK but otherwise he offers little. I was surprised he got such a quick promotion from Grand Rapids originally, same as with Emmerton.

 

He got a bump, I suspect, because he's a Swede. The Wings organization trusts Swedes today as much as mistrusted Czechs in the '90 draft.



#20 NeverForgetMac25

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 04:22 PM

Wow.

 

I never realized how top heavy the Wings are alphabetically.

 

 

But I do agree with most of the ratings. Good analysis.

 

F*cking Zetterberg...huh? :P


It's amazing how much clarity comes when you care more about the Red Wings than any individual player.


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