Johan Franzen, who scored the game winning goal against the Blackhawks last night, will be out for at least four months. According to mlive.com's Ansar Khan, Franzen tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee. The Red Wings lose one of their most talented and most clutch scorers for a good portion of the season and will be forced to call up Justin Abdelkader. Abdelkader was just sent down to Grand Rapids following the signing of Brad May but will likely find himself playing nightly in the absence of Franzen. This will also mean that Patrick Eaves is likely to see more and more time to relieve Abdelkader, May, and Maltby in the line-up
Detroit has roster depth but finding a replacement within the system that can fill the void of Franzen is going to be unlikely. The team has stated that they will not seek a trade for a temporary replacement. The offensive production will now fall on guys like Todd Bertuzzi, Dan Cleary, and Valtteri Filppula. These three guys will be need to step up in the offense at this time and now the defense will be called on even more as the team has lost 122 goals from last year. As if defense and goaltending wasn't stressed enough coming into this season, the Red Wings will have to rely on this even more than anticipated.
Is it time to freak out? No, I don't think so but it just might not be a pretty run for a few months and things won't be nearly the same without "The Mule" in the line-up.