Red Wings Season Grades: The Grinders

Tom Szczerbowski

We're back today with the next installment in our Red Wings season grades. In case you missed the first part, J.J. checked how some of the Red Wings less fortunate players had performed this season.

Today we are looking into your typical (and not so typical) grinders. Let's get to it:

Daniel Cleary

#11 / Right Wing / Detroit Red Wings

6-0

208

Dec 18, 1978



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2012 - Daniel Cleary 48 9 6 15 -6 40 5 1 0 93

Season Expectations:

I think Cleary's days as a Wing are numbered, and we'll see him make way for the younger guys. However, his mucking will be needed during a compressed schedule.

From the WiiM season preview.

How Did He Perform? Cleary started off the season shaky but seemed to redeem himself as time passed. He moved up and down the lines playing with Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Andersson, and Emmerton at times. He wasn't bad but he simply wasn't good. You can tell that his knees are still bothering him.

What's Next? Who knows? It's tough to tell if he will return to the Wings or not . The upcoming UFA has played for the Wings since '05-'06 and is loved by the organization. He is a leader both on and off the ice and can contribute a bit offensively as well. The problem is that he falls into a same category as Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson. The Wings can't (nor should they) keep all 3 and at least one of the bunch has to go. A buyout can be used to rid us of Sammy but the Wings may choose to let Cleary go instead. Cleary is regressing and Sammy does bring more to the table offensively. Just like with Miller, us fans will simply have to wait and see what the Wings choose to do with Cleary.

Season Grade: C+


Justin Abdelkader

#8 / Forward / Detroit Red Wings

6-1

219

Feb 25, 1987



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2012 - Justin Abdelkader 48 10 3 13 6 34 0 0 0 96

Season Expectations:

Switching between 3rd line wing and 4th line center, Abby will get in a ton of games this season and will start work on earning his salary.

From the WiiM season preview. 4th line center? I don't think so.

How Did He Perform? The numbers may not show it but Abby had a very good season. However, it started off bad as he failed to score a goal in his first 23 games. Since he was playing alongside of Datsyuk, many Wings fans were calling for him to go but oh did he prove you wrong. Once he finally got situated and started scoring goals, Abby became a force to be reckoned with on the Wings offense. He's not your typical power forward but he goes to the net and is a physical presence. Characteristics that Babcock loves.

What's Next? Abdelkader has 3 years left on his current deal. With a cap hit of $1.8 million, Abdelkader is expected to continue to grow and hopefully chip in some more offensively. It will be interesting to see if he continues to play on the Wings top line next season or if he gets demoted back to the bottom-6.

Season Grade: A-


Patrick Eaves

#17 / Right Wing / Detroit Red Wings

6-0

187

May 01, 1984



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2012 - Patrick Eaves 34 2 6 8 -1 4 0 0 1 42

Season Expectations:

None. I honestly have no idea whether Eaves will play again this season and in what capacity.

From the WiiM season preview.

How Did He Perform? Just as J.J. predicted above, I had no clue how Patty Eaves would play this season. After some initial struggles he seemed to be playing to a similar level of what he had previous to his injuries. Despite playing well, Eaves was involved in Babcock's rotation and often sat in favor of Tootoo. Towards the end of the season Eaves really started to play good and he, alongside of Miller and Emmerton, formed the Wings 4th line in the playoffs.

What's Next? Eaves is entering the final year of his 3-year contract worth $4.2 million ($1.2 mil cap hit). Eaves is a great bang for your buck type of player so don't expect him to be going anywhere. Do expect him to remain in Babcock's rotation during the next season.

Season Grade: B-


Drew Miller

#20 / Left Wing / Detroit Red Wings

6-2

178

Feb 17, 1984



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2012 - Drew Miller 44 4 4 8 -8 2 1 0 2 54

Season Expectations:

With a healthy Red Wings lineup, Miller may find it difficult to stay in the lineup, but it's hard to count him out for too long.

From the WiiM season preview.

How Did He Perform? With the injuries to Bert, Sammy and Helm, Miller was able to grasp his spot on the 4th line. He became one of the Wings top penalty killers and was able to chip in 4 goals and 4 assists. If you ask me Miller had a good season. He did what he was asked and didn't make stupid mistakes. Miller was only called for one penalty the entire season.

What's Next? Miller falls into a similar boat as Cleary. The Wings want to retain him but don't know if they will have a roster spot for him. With Helm most likely returning next year and Tatar surely being on the team, the amount of bottom-6 spots available are lessened. The Wings will have to chose between Cleary and Miller, but they still may not be able to retain either one of the them.

Season Grade: B-


Cory Emmerton

#25 / Center / Detroit Red Wings

6-0

191

Jun 01, 1988



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2012 - Cory Emmerton 48 5 3 8 -1 4 0 0 0 55

Season Expectations:

As a center, Emmerton has a bit of an advantage over fringe wingers, but he won't be counted on to do too much for the team.

From the WiiM season preview.

How Did He Perform? Cory Emmerton came into this season in somewhat of a do-or-die mode. He had to perform, there were no excuses. Emmerton quickly stepped up his game and emerged this season as one of the Wings top penalty killers. In addition to helping out on special teams, Emmerton cemented himself as a quality 4th line center.

What's Next? Emmerton has one year left on his current contract before he becomes an RFA. Emmerton will be on the team next season but the Wings may look to bring in a veteran 4th line center who can win faceoffs. Also, if Helm returns next season and Andersson continues to play like he has, Emmerton may find himself out of the starting lineup.

Season Grade: B


Jordin Tootoo

#22 / Right Wing / Detroit Red Wings

5-9

199

Feb 02, 1983



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2012 - Jordin Tootoo 42 3 5 8 0 78 0 0 1 45

Season Expectations:

I'm expecting Tootoo to be a fan favorite before the playoffs roll around. He's going to kick the ass of somebody we all hate more than we ever hated him and it'll be great.

From the WiiM season preview.

How Did He Perform? Tootoo joined the Wings last July when he signed a 3-year contract earning a total of $5,700,000 ($1.9 mil cap hit). Tootoo came in and did what everybody expected him to do. Lots of hits, fights and penalties quickly turned him into a fan favorite. He also chipped in some points, scoring 3 goals and 8 points in his 42 games played. Despite some regular season success, he couldn't crack a spot in the Red Wings playoff lineup.

What's Next? Tootoo has 2 years left on his current contract and has been thrown out as a potential buyout candidate by some. I have a hard time seeing it happening mostly because Babcock likes the way that he plays. He's a gritty guy and a fan favorite. If you ask me, he is a Wing next season.

Season Grade: C

Up Next:

Jeff takes a look at how the Red Wings young defenseman performed this past season.

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