Our season previews are almost complete. We've already covered the kids, the grinders, the blue liners and offensive studs (read them all here!). Today we take a look at some of the older gentlemen on the team. Players that bring a lot to the table both on and off the ice.
All three of these men are on their second stint with the Red Wings (yes, I'm counting Cleary's 2ish days with Philly as time away because I can). All three of these men are going to see the ice a good amount this season and steal playing time from some of the younger kids we all want to see out there. But let's not hate on them for that. These men are (mostly) quality individuals and solid citizens both on and off the ice. So without further ado, let's preview the Senior Citizens Club of the Detroit Red Wings.
#44 / Left Wing / Detroit Red Wings
Feb 02, 1975
Strengths: One of Bertuzzi's strengths is his
strength physical power. He's a big dude. He grows an excellent beard. As much as we may view Bert as a physical specimen, honestly, the best part of his game might be his soft hands. For a man of his stature, the guy has the ability to shoot and score like a smaller, skill player. He's also got a decent net front game and will go into the dirty areas every now and then.
Weaknesses: He has this uncanny ability to spin and blindly throw the puck up the ice at times. On top of that, his back sucks. It's pretty weak. He's almost guaranteed to miss some time at some point with back spasms. I guess that comes with the age. And, because of the bad back, he isn't as likely to play as physical a brand of hockey as we might hope. Plus, he spreads his back pain. It's contagious. Just ask Darren Helm.
Expectations: I would be totally fine if Bertuzzi played around 65-75 games this year. I have to think the back will flare up at some point, plus with the Wings depth (depending on how the cap situation plays out) it might not be a bad call to give the old man a few night's off. He's going to most likely find himself on the 3rd line playing with the likes of Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Daniel Cleary and, when/if healthy, Darren Helm. I'd be thrilled if he gets near the 40 point mark. I think anywhere between 25-45 points is realistic. That's a big range, but it depends on his health, his linemates, and just how he's used in a bottom six role.
#71 / Right Wing / Detroit Red Wings
Dec 18, 1978
Strengths: Cleary has the uncanny ability to play hockey while being a zombie. And, let us not forget that Daniel is not only undead, but has no knees. That's pretty impressive for a hockey player. But, unlike the walkers on The Walking Dead, Danny has a heart. He was gone. He was a Flyer. We had all moved on… at least we thought we had. Love Dan or or hate him, but he loves Detroit and loves this franchise. He's going to play hard for this team every night because he loves the Red Wings as much as we do. Regardless of your thoughts on his skills, that's pretty awesome. As far as his skills though, he's a mucker and a grinder. Dan brings the grit to this team. Daniel is sandpaper. Danny will play in front of the net. Plus, Danielson will pot a few goals too.
Weakness: He's not very big and, like previously mentioned, he has no knees. Okay, so he technically does have knees, but I'm pretty sure he's always two strides away from looking like this (who is in reality Army Sgt 1st Class (Ret) Joe Bowser, A true badass and American hero). Along with being a corpse comes a lack of speed. Dan is not going to win a race.
Expectations: Danny needs to be a leader and a grinder. We should all expect Daniel to play a variety of roles. If that's 4th line grinder… he has to do it. If it's 3rd line depth role…. he has to do it. If that's filling in (or eventually replacing Justin Abdelkader) as the piano mover on the top line… he has to do it. I would be please if Dan played around 65-75 games. And, depending on Danny's various roles, anywhere between 25-35 points would be great. Much like Bert, I think Daniel can contribute more in ways that don't show up on the stat sheet and the younger kids can step up and fill the bottom 6 point production roles.
#37 / Right Wing / Detroit Red Wings
Dec 23, 1976
Strengths: What can't this guy do? He has, by far, the most accurate shot on the team. He much bigger in size than people realize and he knows how to throw his weight around. Sammy is a guy that will out skate you, out hustle you, hit you, steal the puck from you and then score on you. Next shift he's going to set up his teammates for goals and maybe even drop the gloves. With all that said, though, the biggest strength in his game is easily his durability. Sammy is a guy that you can count on to stay healthy and play through injuries. Plus, he's fantastic as the lead singer of his band.
Weakness: This guy just doesn't shoot enough. We praise him for his amazing shot and I wish he would just shoot more. His biggest fault is easily that he tries too hard and tries to do too much. He's an all around player and he just wants to do as much as he can out there. He has two speeds… all out or nothing. He's all over the ice all game long and sometimes he gets himself into trouble.
Expectations: No doubt in my mind he can play all 82 games and net 30 goals and 50 points.
Let's Go Red Wings.