2015-16 Red Wings Player Grades: Luke Glendening
Luke Glendening had a career high in points this season, but do the stats tell a different story?
Born: April 28, 1989
Birthplace: Grand Rapids, MI
Contract Status: Under contract until 2016-17
Full disclosure: I love that Luke Glendening is from Michigan. I think it’s great that whenever he made an impactful play the announcers would exclaim "Luke Glendening! A Michigan product, born and raised!".
That being said, I was not expecting anything outstanding when looking over Glendening’s season because he is not a member of the Detroit Red Wings due to his offensive skills. However, this year was a pleasant surprise as Glendening reached a career high in points. He finished with 21 points in 81 games, 3 points over his 2014-15 campaign. He finished with 8 goals and 13 assists overall.
As per Hockey Reference, Glendening won 54.6% of his faceoffs this season, leading the Red Wings. Even more impressive is that he managed this in defensive situations, as 70% of his zone stars were in the defensive zone. He also led the team with 71 blocks, not surprising given his role as a defensive player and penalty killer.
In the last two seasons, Glendening has only missed one game, a real testament to his perseverance especially considering the gritty and physical style of hockey that he plays.
To top off this season, Glendening was selected to represent Team USA at the IIHF World Championship, a first for him. Unfortunately, he did not end up playing due to a deep bone bruise, but it was a great recognition for him nonetheless.
What He Did vs. Expectations
Luke Glendening is known for being a gritty, defensive player that you can put on the penalty kill and fourth line. This is why I found it interesting that TSN reported that out of 240 forwards that have played 1,500 5on5 minutes, Glendening is dead last in relative possession numbers (CFRel%). He is last among the Red Wings as well.
What does this mean for a player that is relied upon in defensive situations? Well TSN seems to think that this may suggest that he is not as effective in defensive situations as the Red Wings may hope. This obviously does not seem to align very well with the stats mentioned above regarding his defensive zone play and faceoffs. If Glendening doesn’t actually drive puck possession while on the ice, then perhaps he isn’t as much of a shut-down player as we want him to be.
The stats have told this story about Glendening for two seasons. He is a player with poor possession numbers who can produce some points but obviously cannot be relied upon for consistent high quality offense.
Final Grade: B+
My final grade for Glendening is a B+ (grading on a curve when comparing him to other players).
I admire what he brings to the table, he obviously has a specific role as a bottom 6 forward and that’s to be a grinder and agitator. When looking at his season overall however, it is apparent that he brings a lot of value to the Red Wings and I would say was a good story for the Red Wings this season. Glendening has been quietly good and with a cap hit of $628,333, he’s downright a bargain.