All teams need grit, determination, skill, and a bit of luck to win.
Two of those categories, grit and determination, encompass the two players that we are going to evaluate today. Both play a physical style of game, and when they are angry, they are a force to reckon with.
This is how the mule and the piano man performed during this past season.
#93 / Left Wing / Detroit Red Wings
Dec 23, 1979
Johan Franzen is consistently the most inconsistent player on the Wings roster.
Every season it seems that Franzen is criticized for disappearing for a dozen games, before scoring a couple of goals and disappearing yet again. Everyone loves to bash him, and this season was no different.
Here is how I expected Franzen to perform:
However, as he always manages to do, Franzen will end up in the 25-35 goal range while scoring around 55 points. If he can do this then we should all be happy.
His 16 goals and 41 points may look below-average for a player like Franzen, but when you consider that he only played 54 games, these numbers are actually pretty good. If fact, they are on pace for my prediction, which was based off of him playing 82 games.
So far the evaluation of Johan Franzen looks quite nice. He hit his expected point totals, and he didn't play like Samuelsson. What's the problem?
The problem is that Franzen has to be evaluated within the context of this season. The Wings had loads on injuries, including one to Franzen, but there was a period when Franzen was healthy and many of the other Wings' players were not.
Between March 9th and April 11th, Franzen played 18 games for the Wings. During those 18 games, Franzen scored one goal and had a total of seven points.Those are atrocious numbers for a player who is supposed to be the leading goal scorer on a team. Especially when that team is barely making the playoffs.
And when you factor in the fact that Pavel Datsyuk only played in five of those games and that Henrik Zetterberg did not appear in any of them, you can understand where the resentment towards Franzen builds.
During those games, Franzen should have taken the team by its reins and led the team in points and scoring. Instead he left that job to a fellow Swede who is ten years younger than him. That is inexcusable.
#8 / Forward / Detroit Red Wings
Feb 25, 1987
During the lockout season, Abdelkader was able to produce some decent numbers playing beside Datsyuk and Zetterberg. He was expected to build on the momentum that he gained from last season and have a career year.
Here's what I expected out of Abby:
Besides being a prominent net-front presence, there is no doubt that Abby will need to produce some points. Anything outside of the 15-20 goal range will be a disappointment. Assuming that he plays 70+ games, that number is very attainable for him. He will also need to chop in some assists and I wouldn't be totally surprised to see Abby total over 40 points during this season.
Too optimistic? Probably.
Based off of numbers alone, Abdelkader did actually have a career year.
His 18 assists and 28 points were both the best totals in each category for him during his NHL career, while his 10 goals equaled the number that he scored last season. But these statistics were nowhere near the 15-20 goals that I was hoping for.
Considering that Abdelkader was relatively healthy, it was a feasible expectation for him to do more. Maybe scoring 20 goals may have been a bit of a stretch, but he should have been able to create more chances for himself.
The good news for Abdelkader is that he is passing the puck more. If you cannot create chances for yourself, at least try and create them for others.
Overall, Abdelkader's season was an average one. He never really did anything horribly wrong that warranted Franzen-like abuse, but he did not really do anything good either. At least his penalty minutes were significantly down.
I would not call his season a disappointment, but it certainly left things to wish for.
Next we take a look at Helm, Miller, and a guy who left town at the trade deadline.