Located in the back corners of the internet, behind arguments over the legality of Niklas Kronwall's hit and speculation of Nicklas Lidstrom's retirement, is a Johan Franzen hate bandwagon that is adding seats in droves.
Here seems to be the gist of the argument.
In April 2009, Franzen was signed to a $43.5 million, 11-year contract. This contract compensates him nicely in exchange for a commitment to the Wings that, for all intents and purposes, will last the rest of his career.
In the year 2020, Franzen will turn 41 years old.
Franzen has had slightly declining production numbers since the signing, and the major argument seems to be a lack of effort. During the regular season, Franzen seems sluggish and has even been described as lazy.
He rarely uses his large frame to be a physical presence, under-utilizes his stick-handling ability and is notoriously streaky.
Certainly not a desirable description for someone in Franzen’s pay grade.
Here is the counter argument.
The numbers do not support the claim of a declining Franzen. In 2008-09 Franzen totaled 59 points in 71 games. 2009-10 saw 21 points in 27 games played in a season where he suffered from a torn ACL.
2010-11 amounted to 55 points in 76 games. In the current 2011-12 season, Franzen is right on pace for similar numbers with 52 points in 69 games played thus far.
Have the points declined? Yes. Is it a worrisome decline? No.
Franzen is sitting on a large contract, but it is front loaded. Meaning it takes into consideration that Franzen will get older and less productive, therefore compensating him less as time goes on. He finishes the contract making one million a year from 2018-2020 so he is not a cap hit liability.
Making a case for both sides is Franzen’s playoff performances. He has averaged over a point a game in the playoffs since 2008-09, including an astonishing six-point game where he officially recorded four goals and two assists. (Depending on who you ask, it can also be opinionated as five goals and one assist.)
Those on the hate wagon want playoff Franzen all year round. Supporters see his playoff accomplishments as consistently getting hot when it counts the most.
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