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Red Wings Season Preview: Datsyuk/Zetterberg

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This is it ladies and gentlemen.  It's the final player preview of the preseason.  Featuring the two top offensive players on the team.  One man who will without a doubt dangle his way through opponents and into your heart.  The other is man with a beard, a supermodel wife, and the future captain of this team.  Separately, they possess arguably the best two-way skills in the game, but together they form super pair know as the Euro-Twins.

Last Year's Benchmark: Henrik Zetterberg has the third best point production of his career (80) and average a point per game.  His goal total wasn't the most impressive (24), but he racked up a career high in assists (56).  Hank also finished the season a minus-1, the worst plus/minus rating of his career.  Pavel Datsyuk missed 26 games with a broken wrist last season.  He put up 59 points in 56 games.  Based on his numbers, if Pavel played a full season he was on pace for 86.4 points.  The way he was playing before his injury though, I would not have been surprised to see him reach the 90 point plateau for the third time in is career.


Pavel Datsyuk

#13 / Center / Detroit Red Wings



Jul 20, 1978

2010 - Pavel Datsyuk 56 23 36 59 11 15 6 1 5 137

A healthy Pavel Datsyuk is going to go a very long way for the Red Wings this season.  Datsyuk played some of the most impressive hockey I've ever seen last year during the postseason.  He had 15 points in 11 games, but just some of the moves he was making and the way he played suggests that he's primed for another big season in 2011-12.

Strengths: Where do I start?  The man has the ability to it all.  He'll win you a faceoff.  He'll backcheck.  He'll steal the puck from you in any zone than proceed to dangle the Red Wings themed underwear right off your head as he snipes a goal top shelf past any and every goalie in the league.  He's extremely tough to knock of the puck and one of the strongest players on the team.

Weaknesses: Need more shoot?  Datsyuk is pretty darn good at everything, but sometimes he needs to shoot more.  His career high in goals is 32, but is there much doubt in anyone's mind that he could score 40 goals next season without taking much away from the rest of his game?  

Expectations: They say the sky's the limit?  Well Datsyuk's limit is the moon.  A healthy season with 30+ goals and 100+ points is a very fair expectation.  Datsyuk will be in the discussion for the Hart Trophy and will recapture the Selke, because he can.

Henrik Zetterberg

#40 / Left Wing / Detroit Red Wings



Oct 09, 1980

G A P +/- PIM
2010 - Henrik Zetterberg 24 56 80 -1 40

The second half of the Euro-Twins is going to have another season in red and white leading the way for the Detroit offense.  Whether he's first or second in Detroit's 1-2 punch with Datsyuk, you know that Zetterberg is going to be one of the top scorers on the team and one of the top two-way players in the game.

Strengths: Much like Datsyuk, Hank can be very versatile all over the ice.  In the offensive zone, he can score the goals or he can set them up.  Last year's assist total shows the ability he has to set up his teammates.  He'll also snipe a goal every now and then.  He's excellent at playing in his own zone and can win you some faceoffs too.

Weaknesses: Other than his strange fashion choices, he has to stay healthy.  Yes, he played 80 games last season, but that's the first time he's ever played 80 games.  There is always a small back issue or shoulder issue or something that will derail him for 5-10 games.   Stay healthy.  The minus rating last year was also not pleasing.  He has excellent two-way skills and the minus-1 rating doesn't reflect that.

Expectations: More goals and more points.  Another 80+ point season would do wonders for the Red Wings.  If he can crack the 30 goal mark again, even better.  The throw a dart at the board, I'll say 32 goals and 84 points.  The real improvement I want to see is in his defensive game.  A plus-15 rating or better is expected   

Your best players have to be your best players.  The last time the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup, Datsyuk and Zetterberg both had 90+ point seasons.  These two players are key to any and all success this season.  If Detroit wants to play deep in the June, it can be summed up with a simply math equation:  13 + 40 = 12.