Detroit Red Wings Roster Analysis: Week of April 15th

Not a bad week for a guy with only one leg. - Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

It's Tax Deadline Day and the Death/Taxes/Red Wings making the playoffs thing isn't as sure as it was last year. Detroit earned the four points we thought they might need to get in their last three games, but made things rather uncomfortable having to do so with two shootout losses in the first two games.

Looking ahead, we've got just two games this week to finish out the four-game road trip. the Wings will meet the Flames in Calgary on Wednesday and then head to Vancouver for a Saturday matchup. This could be a huge four points coming for Detroit.

With that, we're going to take a look at the roster from an individual standpoint on a good/bad/neutral perspective and see what kind of trends are working out. We'll be doing this on a week-by-week basis. Everybody will get a good/bad/neutral rating based on what they've done this past week and what we can expect from them for the coming week.

They'll also be ranked in order of strongest-to-weakest in their category.

The Forwards

People play on their off-wing at a decent-enough clip and NHL.com still doesn't consider Zetterberg a centerman, but this is close enough.

Left Wing Center Right Wing
Henrik Zetterberg Pavel Datsyuk Justin Abdelkader
Valtteri Filppula Johan Franzen Daniel Cleary
Gustav Nyquist Joakim Andersson Damien Brunner
Drew Miller Cory Emmerton Jordin Tootoo


Patrick Eaves



Injuries
Darren Helm (Back)
Mikael Samuelsson (Booby Muscle)

Up arrow green The Good
  1. Pavel Datsyuk: The magician put up three assists this week and drove play very well against tough competition. Pavs was good this week.
  2. Johan Franzen: I could make a strong argument for putting him above Datsyuk on this week's list as he had two goals and shot the lights out (against slightly easier competition). Franzen has been a beast since returning to the center position.
  3. Henrik Zetterberg: You could hardly tell Z is nearly on a point-per-game pace this season as he's quietly had a fantastic season. I'd like more goals out of him overall, but seeing as how he scored one of those this week, I'm ok with him.
  4. Justin Abdlkader: Two goals scored this week as the demolition man playing with Datsyuk and Zetterberg. Good work, Abby.
  5. Gustav Nyquist: Great hustle, smart body positioning, and clever stickwork gets him into the good, but he's going to have to get on the scoreboard to stay in good graces.
  6. Cory Emmerton: His goal against Chicago was just what the doctor ordered and will earn him into the good category when combined with his defensive play. I still want to see better 5-on-5 play.
  7. Drew Miller: A weak good for Miller this week as he earned one point and played defensively well. That's pretty much doing his job.
  8. Joakim Andersson: A good performance against Nashville squeaks him out of the neutral category and into a tentative good. He looks very comfortable in his role and continues to play smart.
  9. Jordin Tootoo: Also with an assist on the week, Jordin Tootoo is perhaps my favorite player to watch forecheck now. He is dogged on the puck and takes good angles on defenders on the boards. I'd be comfortable giving him more ice time.

Down arrow red The Bad
  1. Valtteri Filppula: For the 2nd straight week, Flip gets the top honors in the bad category. His game against Nashville was better, but he might be playing himself completely out of town here. He's been left in the dust by Franzen over the last ten games.
  2. Damien Brunner: He got moved down the lineup since his return from injury and failed to put up any points. I'm not as worried about him, but I just want to see things start to go right his way.
  3. Patrick Eaves: He only got into one game this week and took a penalty. Not good enough for Eaves.
  4. Daniel Cleary: This one's a weak bad rating, as Cleary's most-memorable thing this week is how forgettable he was (and to his credit, how forgettable his competition was). The hooking penalty against the Sharks still bugs me though.
    Pictogram voting neutral The Neutral
  1. Todd Bertuzzi, Darren Helm, and Mikael Samuelsson: I did it! I had a week where the injured forwards are the only ones I put as neutral!

The Defense

Just like with the forwards, there's a bit of room for flexibility on positioning. White has played both sides so far this year and Colaiacovo hasn't played a game on the left yet. In general, the Wings' system sets the left defender as the "mobile" guy while the right-side defender is the "stay at home" guy.

Left Defense Right Defense
Niklas Kronwall Jonathan Ericsson
Brendan Smith Carlo Colaiacovo
Jakub Kindl Danny DeKeyser
Ian White Kyle Quincey

Brian Lashoff

Injuries


Up arrow green The Good
  1. Jonathan Ericsson: Bigger minutes played this week against tougher competition and Ericsson did more than held his own. The only complaint is he doesn't get to use his shot often enough, but that's not a huge concern for me.
  2. Niklas Kronwall: Kronner has been intelligently aggressive in the last week and has really looked like he belongs on a top pairing.
  3. Danny DeKeyser: His first NHL point on a brilliant play. DeKeyser looks like he belongs. He's been making smart plays and doing a good job physically adjusting to the NHL game.
  4. Jakub Kindl: He had a pretty big goof-up to allow a breakaway against Nashville, but he's looked good on the power play (scoring a goal), and has confidently played bigger as of late.

Down arrow red The Bad
  1. Kyle Quincey: I could squeeze pennies into fun shapes without using my hands when Quincey is on the ice lately.
  2. Carlo Colaiacovo: He hasn't taken command and earned his spot in the lineup every night. He still looks like he's adjusting to what he should be doing. I'm just glad his spleen hasn't exploded.
  3. Ian White: Tough to put a guy who didn't play this week in this category, but he's here because he made it possible for Babcock to do this to him. Think that's unfair? Take it up with my manager.

Pictogram voting neutral The Neutral
  1. Brendan Smith: I no longer want him sitting every night, but he's got to be more consistent and, as Babcock says, "look after the puck" better.
  2. Brian Lashoff: The easiest to sit, Lashoff has been sent back to Grand Rapids to get playing time.

The Goalies

Up arrow green The Good
  1. Jimmy Howard: His lowest save percentage this week was .929. Howard earned the extension that still apparently hasn't been officially announced.
Down arrow red The Bad
  1. Jonas Gustavsson: He didn't play and that's telling, all things considered.
Pictogram voting neutral The Neutral.
  1. Your mother: She hasn't made many stops, but not many people have asked her to.

Conclusions

The Wings have played well in their last three games, but only have four points to show for it. This is what playing good teams will do to a team that deserves their spot on the playoff bubble. Continued hard work is an absolute necessity going forward.

As a bit of a bonus, here are the lifetime career stats of the Red Wings against the two teams the Wings will play in the next seven days.

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