Franzen has the potential to be a good power forward if only he could fight. Either his game consists of sniping/floating from the outside which has not been effective the past few years or spending more time in front of the net and mixing it up. And by mixing it up I do not mean all the face washes he gives while being held in the arms of the referee. The way the game is officiated right now, he is going to get mauled every time he approaches the net and the only way to stop guys taking liberties is to drop the gloves and defend himself properly, not this after the whistle crap. This is the definition of the soft Euro tag.
I'm not sure what else he can do - it is apparent to me that he is trying and is engaged, he is just getting mugged in front of the net. I do not recall Shanny or even Bertuzzi (in his prime) taking that kind of abuse.
I believe this all goes back to Rafalski's decision to retire. I believe it caught Red Wings management off guard, and when they stood back and looked at their situation (including guessing how many more years Lidstrom would play) and looked at the FA market last Summer, they decided to sit on their hands and bring in the kids to see what they could do. They also figured that if things were not working they had a pot of gold to throw at someone at the trade deadline.
So they make some small changes (White, Commadore) and bring in the kids. Babcock himself said in his interview a few weeks ago that he told management he was not sure they would make the playoffs. Sitting on a backlog of prospects in Grand Rapids means at some point in time you have to use them.
And guess what. The team plays fairly well, Jimmy is having a great season and the off-season gamble they took appears to be paying off.
Then, a few injuries pop up (Howard, Eaves, Datsuyk, Lidstrom) and suddenly the mask is pulled off and the remaining team is exposed for what it is. The trade deadline comes around and while management is interested in a few potential targets the asking price is too high given management's sight is now firmly focused on the upcoming Summer FA market. Management brings in Quincey for some additional blue line help/upgrade to Kindl and decides to rely on the return of injured players to make a playoff run. In management's eyes, if the healthy team can play in April/May like it did in December/January then all will be well.
However the chemistry never did return with the injured players, and the loss of Helm was the dagger in the heart.
The playoffs exposed the Red Wings for not having a solid 4th line, i.e. the Grind Line. That should be one of their top priorities in the off season; reconstruct a new Grind Line, either with in-house players or bring in some new guys.
The playoffs also exposed the Red Wings for not having a "sniper" forward and a true "power" forward.