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Detroit Red Wings Roster Analysis: Week of March 31st

Tom Szczerbowski

Detroit continued a strong road trip with a win over the Coyotes on Monday, but lost in the final game of the trip and then had a terrible let-down game at home against the Blackhawks on Sunday. Since Ken Holland made his "six games to the trade deadline to see where we're at" comment, the Wings are 3-2 with only Monday's game against the Avalanche remaining. The strong play has disappeared and the Wings have been outscored 9-1 in their last two games.

After Monday's game against Colorado, the Wings head back on the road for back-to-back nights in Phoenix and then Colorado starting on Thursday. After that post-deadline trip, Detroit heads back home for another nationally televised game against a division opponent, as the Blues visit the Joe.

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

I probably should have set it like this for a while. People play on their off-wing at a decent-enough clip and still doesn't consider Zetterberg a centerman, but this is close enough.

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

Todd Bertuzzi (Back)
Darren Helm (Back)

Up arrow green The Good
  1. Pavel Datsyuk: Compared to himself, Datsyuk had a down week. Just two points in three games. He was pressing a bit much against Chicago too. He's still the single-best possession-driver on the team.
  2. Cory Emmerton: Put him in the good column solely for breaking Crawford's shutout in the last minute of the curb-stomping the Hawks gave Detroit? You betcha.

Down arrow red The Bad
  1. Henrik Zetterberg: Just one point this week and he sat out Sunday's game with an undisclosed lower body injury. He's been struggling of late.
  2. Damien Brunner: He got to play in all three games, but hasn't found himself on the scoresheet. He's got to keep pressing though.
  3. Valtteri FIlppula: Flip's been showing off his puck-handling skills and not much else. He's probably gotten the highest number of quality scoring chances and he hasn't finished on any of them this week.
  4. Johan Franzen: Mule's got to find himself as a force on the puck or a force on the forecheck because he's been losing the puck too often and not getting it back often enough.
  5. Patrick Eaves: Eaves looked downright lost on the ice at times, and that was when he was being noticeable at all. I like the guy, but he's not getting to good areas of the ice.
  6. Daniel Cleary: The 11 shots on goal in the last three games is a nice step and might put him into the neutral category, but I don't think he's been good enough everywhere to make up for not producing offense.
  7. Justin Abdelkader: He's quieted down significantly since the Ducks games. and doesn't appear to be pulling the piano as well as he had been.
  8. Mikael Samuelsson: He was having a decent performance in a horrible game and then he got hurt again. Yes, I'm putting him in the bad category for getting hurt. I'm tired of this shit.
    Pictogram voting neutral The Neutral
  1. Drew Miller: Miller did a decent enough job in all three zones, but not enough to be put in the good category.
  2. Joakim Andersson: Andersson did enough good to make up for a little bit of bad and overall wasn't part of the Wings' problem this week.
  3. Jordin Tootoo: It's not his fault he didn't play in the win against Phoenix, nor that he didn't get much more playing time, but he didn't do much in the time he got to convince me I'd like to see more.
  4. Gustav Nyquist: Nyquist did get to play against Phoenix and has shown good hustle and instincts. I don't know; he didn't take over the game and that's bad I guess?
  5. Big Bad Back & Fast Bad Back: What a terrible band name for Bert & Helm.

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 Brian Lashoff
Jakub Kindl Ian White
Carlo Colaiacovo Danny DeKeyser

Kyle Quincey (Cheekbone)

Up arrow green The Good
  1. Danny DeKeyser: He didn't play a single game, but he was responsible for more entertainment this week than any other Red Wings D-Man.
  2. Ian White: Hilariously, while we're all talking about how badly he should be traded, White had a pretty good week, which included a goal. He was the only player who didn't have a minus rating in Sunday's debacle.

Down arrow red The Bad
  1. Jakub Kindl: Two bad games played after people started talking about how much confidence he had in Phoenix. He's got to be better.
  2. Jonathan Ericsson: Too many mistakes for Riggy this week led to a -6 rating in 3 games. A lot of his positional mistakes were amplified by mistakes elsewhere, but he did not play like a top-pairing D-man this week.
  3. Brian Lashoff: A tough week for the rookie, especially in San Jose. Once again, too many mistakes.
  4. Brendan Smith: Extremely close to making it into neutral territory instead of minus, Smith led some good rushes, but was slow to pick up coverages/the puck and that cost him.
  5. Kent Huskins: Totally disappeared this week.

Pictogram voting neutral The Neutral
  1. Niklas Kronwall: A good game against Phoenix and a bad game against Chicago. The tiebreaker being San Jose leaves him in the neutral column, despite his two assists this week.
  2. Kyle Quincey & Carlo Colaiacovo: Didn't play.

The Goalies

Up arrow green The Good
  1. The fact that this week is over.
Down arrow red The Bad
  1. Jimmy Howard: Not a good week, but I'm still very confident in him.
Pictogram voting neutral The Neutral.
  1. Jonas Gustavsson - The game he won against Phoenix was very good and the game he played against Chicago after Howard got pulled was very bad.


Detroit should come away with points this week, but they've got to do better work on both offense and defense. Hopefully it's both.

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