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Detroit Red Wings Season Player Grades: Top Centers

One of these is not like the other.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Yeah, still bitter. We should have been doing these player season reviews after the Detroit Red Wings won their 12th Stanley Cup. As things stand, these posts are starting to come out when the Tampa Bay Lightning are still going at it in the final four of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

We ended our season previews with these three gentlemen below. Here, we begin our player season recaps with them, two of them known big guns for the Red Wings and another who fired a few good rounds before ultimately breaking down.


Pavel Datsyuk

#13 / Center / Detroit Red Wings

5-11

198

Jul 20, 1978


Preview Recap: Pavel Datsyuk was still supposed to be the best player on the team. The human highlight reel was going to get into more games and provide a more consistent impact in all three zones. It was the start of a new three-year contract that would make him the highest cap hit on the team this season and the highest paid player in terms of real dollars — 10 million of them, to be exact.

Season Recap: Datsyuk is still "the guy" on this team, and in his first season of his new contract, "The Magic Man" was worth every penny. Despite a preseason shoulder injury that made him miss the first five games of the season, and despite other parts of the season where he missed some games, Datsyuk produced 65 points in 63 games — just the kind of point-per-game production we expected. Datsyuk was one of the driving forces behind the surprising Tomas Tatar - Datsyuk - Darren Helm line that made Mike Babcock look like a genius.

He finally wasn't so hobbled for a large portion of the season, and he even led the team in points during the playoffs with five in seven games. It's a bit disappointing that he missed 19 games, but considering his age and the fact he played only 45 games the previous season, 63 is a pretty nice compromise considering the realities we're dealing with.

We wanted him to be our best player, and he was. We wanted him to be healthy, and under the circumstances, it worked out pretty well. We wanted him to produce, and he did. What more could we want?

Final Grade: A


Henrik Zetterberg

#40 / Left Wing / Detroit Red Wings

5-11

197

Oct 09, 1980


Preview Recap: Stylistically different from Datsyuk, but producing the same results, Henrik Zetterberg was another player who was supposed to carry the team and be healthier this season while doing it. The captain was going to be another reason Detroit would do better this season than last because it finally had its most potent offensive weapons healthy and productive.

Season Recap: The numbers say Zetterberg delivered. Who can complain about 66 points in 77 games? That sounds pretty healthy and productive to me, leading the team in scoring and missing only five games while doing it.

There is some level of concern because, while this was supposedly the healthiest Zetterberg has been in a while, his production this season is still off the pace of what he accomplished last season (48 points in 45 games) and in the lockout-shortened season (48 in 46).

The biggest concern over Zetterberg is that he visibly seemed to decline as the season went along. He was going pretty well for a while until March 19 hit. From that point, he had only two assists — in the same game — in a nine-game stretch, and he produced only three points and no goals in the playoffs (all caveats about small sample sizes understood). While this is, strictly speaking, a season recap and player evaluation post rather than a futures post, it is more than a bit concerning to see that trend in Zetterberg's play going into next season and the rest of his contract.

Final Grade: A


Stephen Weiss

#90 / Center / Detroit Red Wings

5-11

193

Apr 03, 1983


Preview Recap: Our shiny new toy from the 2013 offseason turned in a dud in his first year, largely thanks to a host of factors. One of the more prominent — injuries — was no longer an issue, so they said. He's healthy, he's been working hard in the offseason, and he's ready to take over that second-line center spot like he was signed to do.

Season Recap: The Saga of Stephen Weiss continued into Year 2 of his contract. First, it was a healthy scratching that led to him not getting into a game until October 18, about a week and a half into the season. Then he voluntarily went to Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint that would not only get him into some games but also prove to coaching and management that he could be the guy they wanted.

I'll try to avoid the novel. He got hurt on that conditioning stint. He got healthy agian and looked better when he played and finished some games for Grand Rapids. He went on a tear, and it was the most magical and slightly surreal seven games of the last three seasons for Weiss; 10 points from Nov. 24 to Dec. 6 with Detroit.

Then the old Weiss returned. He had one three-point night against his former team, but he also endured a two-points-in-17-games stretch from Jan. 29 to March 14. It wasn't all bad, as that scoreless stretch included the six-game road trip that probably was the high point of the season, in hindsight. But he wasn't really ever the team's second-line center that let Babcock keep the Eurotwins together, and he appeared in only two playoff games — no points in either, obviously — before getting a permanent seat in Stephen's Salon. Now all that's left is when the Red Wings rid themselves of his contract: buyout or trade?

Final Grade: D