Season Recap/Grades: Valtteri Filppula & Jiri Hudler

J.J. and Graham began the grading and recapping by taking a look at the Eurotwins and a couple other Swedes as well.  Today we shift our focus to some of the younger talent on the roster.  The 2010-11 season began with differently for both Valtteri Filppula and Jiri Hudler.  One player, Filppula, had cemented his position as a top 6 forward, while the other, Hudler, was returning to the NHL after playing a season overseas in Russia in the KHL.

Preaseason Expectations: Before I joined the WIIM crew, the Gentlemen put out some preview posts for all the players.  In the preseason preview post for Filppula and Hudler, it was about taking the next step.  Breaking the 20-goal plateau, hitting the 65 point mark, and taking the reigns as the second line center became the expectation for Flip.  For Happy, it was about getting readjusted to the NHL after a year away and once again reaching the 57 point level he was at before he left, as well as contribute on the second power play unit.

Follow the jump for the breakdown of each player and the final grades.


Valtteri Filppula

#51 / Center / Detroit Red Wings

6-0

193

Mar 20, 1984



G A P +/- PIM
2010 - Valtteri Filppula 16 23 39 -1 22


Filppula was again missed time this season due to injury.  Last year it was a broken wrist, this season it was a leg injury.  Thankfully, it was not an injury that caused him to miss a large amount of time.  Flip only missed 11 games, but his 71 GP was the second fewest of his career since he became a regular on the roster in 2006-07.  Even with the games missed, he was only one point shy of tying his career high in points (40).  With that said, he still fell quite far from the expectations set before him in the preseason.  Flip also finished the season as a minus-player for the second straight season.

What he did well: It's easy to look at Flip's numbers and minus rating and think his season was a disappointment.  Yes, his numbers were not what we expected, but he was still a solid two-way player, whether at center or on the wing.  He was a minus-1 on paper, but his adjusted CSSI rating was a nice +35.5.  He was third on the team in face off wins with 478 (behind only Darren Helm and Henrik Zetterberg).  However, the thing that stood out the most to me, was the timeliness of his goals.  He was tied for second on the team with 5 game-winning goals.  He was also a made an impact in the postseason tying Hank and Nicklas Lidstrom for second in team scoring with 8 points in 11 games.  Both of his postseason goals were game-winners as well. If anything, we know that Val will always be responsible on both ends of the ice and when he scores, it could mean good fortunes for team.

What he did not do well:  He had timely goals, but overall he didn't have enough.  Passing the 20 goal plateau was a reasonable expectation.  16 goals is close, but still doesn't cut it.  Flip was 11th on the team in shots, but third in shot percentage.  That shows us that he needs to shoot more.  Fans have been begging Flip to shoot more, and, hopefully, next season he listens.  Val also failed to stay healthy.  Yes, injuries happen.  Sometimes they're freak accidents and sometimes at the fault of the player or opposing player, but the bottom line is Flip missed 10-plus games for the second straight season.

Overall grade: We keep waiting for it.  We all keep waiting for Flip to reach that next level.  We have the Eurotwins, but we may never have the Eurotriplets.  This season was Filppula's for the taking, and while it wasn't a bad season by any means, it just didn't live up to expectations.  To whom much is given, much is expected, and we're still expecting more from Flip in Hockeytown.  Next season, those 16 goals needs to be 23 and those 39 points need to be at least 55.  On paper, I want to say it was a B season, but due to the high expectations, my final grade is a C+.



Jiri Hudler

#26 / Right Wing / Detroit Red Wings

5-10

182

Jan 04, 1984



G A P +/- PIM
2010 - Jiri Hudler 10 27 37 -7 28


Love him or hate him, having Jiri Hudler back added some much needed depth to the roster.  After going to arbitration in the 2009 offseason, he bolted to Russia to play in the Kontinental Hockey League.  While the Wings faced an injury-plagued 2009-10 season, Hudler put up 54 points (19 goals, 35 assists) in 54 games.  Sure, it was against weaker competition, but after posting 57 points in the NHL in three years ago, much of the same was expected from Hudler.   He struggled mightily out of the gate, failing to score a goal until November 13 and it was a fluky goal nonetheless.  And, after that, he didn't score again until December 27.  The entire season was a struggle for Hudler and not much changed in the postseason either.  He was a healthy scratch in game 5 of the Sharks series and only registered 3 points in 10 playoff games.

What he did well: Not much.  Looking at the game log, Hudler really only played well for one month during the entire season.  In February, he post 4 goals and 10 assists, which was easily his highest month of scoring for the season.  Much of that can be attributed to playing on a line with Pavel Datsyuk during that stretch.  He also played well on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, registering his highest point totals on those days during the week.  Hudler spent 28 minutes in the penalty box this season which is right around his season average of 26.5 minutes per year.  Sure it was over, but I'll consider this solid check mark in the win column.  He also was 2-7 in shootout attempts.  Only Datsyuk (2-4) had a better percentage.

What he did not do well:  A lot.  He was expected to return to his 50+ point form of two years ago (or at least come close to it).  Instead, Hudler posted 37 points and was a minus player (-7) for the first time since becoming a regular on the Red Wings' roster.  And checking in with J.J.'s adjusted CSSI rating index, Hudler wasn't much better.  His adjusted plus/minus was +3.5, the second worst of any regular forward.  But he helped out on the second power play unit?  Nope.  His 12 power play points were the worst of his career since his first full season with the team.

Overall grade: Who knows if this past season was just a throw away year.  Maybe it was a season needed to readjust to the NHL and get back into the swing of things.  The Wings needed Hudler to be a whole hell of a lot more than what he was though.  He struggled 9/10th of the year, and, at the end of the day, Happy just made us all sad...and frustrated.  It was a bad season for our favorite alcohol drinkin', hooker lovin' Red Wing and that shows in his overall grade.  Because I like him, I want to give him some sort of a D, but he wasn't close to expectations and struggled big time, therefor I'm going to be a tough grader, and say this season was a giant F.

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