Power Ranking Each of the Forwards Currently on the Detroit Red Wings Roster
It won't fill the entire void that the absence of hockey leaves, but it's a start.
In Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, Hockeytown is home to a pair of the best forwards the National Hockey League has to offer. Datsyuk is the definition of a dangler, and Hank is as well-rounded as they come.
What about the others, though? How do the rest of the Wings' forwards stack up against one another? Let's find out.
13. Cory Emmerton
Cory Emmerton went from appearing in two games for the Red Wings in 2010-11 to 71 in 2011-12.
He didn't log the most ice time, and produced only 10 points, but Emmerton provided a good energy boost for a few minutes per game. He can get the job done on the penalty kill.
The ice time wasn't just handed to him last season. He earned the right to stay on the roster throughout the year and also played in all five playoff games—even scoring a goal.
The 24-year-old center broke his finger in mid-October playing his first game during the lockout with SaiPa of the SM-liiga league in Finland. It hasn't been the greatest of winters for Emmerton.
12. Gustav Nyquist
Gustav Nyquist lacks experience at the game's highest level. Once the lockout ends, that won't be the case for long.
The talented youngster made his NHL debut in 2011-12 and added seven points in 18 games. He averaged 10 minutes and 36 seconds of ice time in limited action, but figures to be a large part of the Red Wings' long-term future.
The 23-year-old Swede has been lighting it up in Grand Rapids for the Griffins, scoring 21 points (eight goals) in 22 games thus far. The fact that Nyquist is eating up some AHL action while the lockout lingers is a big help in terms of furthering his development.
11. Jordin Tootoo
It'll be an odd sight when Jordin Tootoo steps on the ice at Joe Louis Arena for the first time with the winged wheel on his chest.
At 5'9" and 199 pounds, the former Nashville Predator isn't a big guy, but hardly lacks intensity. Tootoo's 92 penalty minutes last season would have led the Red Wings in 2011-12. Todd Bertuzzi had the most, at 64.
Tootoo isn't going to put the puck in the net often, but the undersized enforcer isn't shy about keeping the opposition in line, something Detroit has lacked in recent years. While he's no Bob Probert, Tootoo enjoys dropping the gloves on occasion as well.
And he scored a career-high 30 points a year ago. Not too shabby.
10. Drew Miller
Drew Miller has consistently averaged about 12 minutes of ice time for the Red Wings since arriving in 2009 after Detroit claimed him off waivers.
The 28-year-old scored a career-best 14 goals last season and appeared in 80 games.
Miller comes from a long line of hockey players. He's the brother of Sabres' goalie Ryan Miller and the tenth member of his family to play the sport for the Michigan State Spartans.
A solid fourth-line winger, Miller won't wow you on a nightly basis but comes through with a clutch goal on occasion and works well on the penalty kill.
9. Justin Abdelkader
Here's a player that continues to grow in Detroit, and I must say I feel a little guilty about leaving Justin Abdelkader back at No. 9 on the list.
Abdelkader is one of the grittier players the Red Wings have. He's not afraid to scrum it up with the enemy when the situation calls for it.
The 25-year-old has played 205 NHL games over the past three seasons, including 81 last year. He logged a career-best 22 points and put 121 shots on goal. Abdelkader recently signed a four-year deal in Detroit and won't become a free agent until 2016-17.
8. Daniel Cleary
If you follow Red Wings hockey, you have to appreciate what Danny Cleary brings to the team.
2011-12 wasn't his year, as he struggled to find the net (12 goals) despite taking a career-high 199 shots. But he still finished with 33 points on the year and impressively scored 26 goals the year before.
When he's on, Cleary is a valuable second- or third-line winger all day.
The 33-year-old became the first player from Newfoundland to see his name engraved on Lord Stanley's Cup after the Wings won it all in 2008. He's had many clutch moments in Motown and hopefully has a few more left in him.
7. Todd Bertuzzi
Few men of Todd Bertuzzi's stature move so gracefully on the ice.
The 6'3", 235-pound shootout extraordinaire becomes a force when he's one-on-one with the goalie, wowing us consistently with an array of the moves we're least expecting to see.
At 37, Bert isn't getting any younger. But his 2011-12 season was the best of his career in terms of plus-minus, when he finished plus-23 over 71 games. He also scored 14 goals and added 24 helpers for 38 points in all.
Bertuzzi was a ghost during the playoffs last season, but he remains right there with or just outside Detroit's top six forwards.
6. Darren Helm
Darren Helm hasn't been able to catch a break in terms of injuries, but he remains one of the best young players in the organization.
Not to mention the fastest skater in Detroit.
Helm is excellent for killing chunks of penalties at a time. The way he nabs the puck and then successfully plays keep-away from an entire power-play unit for a dozen seconds or more is a sight to behold.
The speedster missed 14 regular-season games in 2011-12 after playing a full 82-game season the year before. Helm sprained his MCL, then recovered quickly in time for the playoffs only to suffer lacerated tendons from a freak accident in which an opponent's skate sliced his arm in his first game back.
Just in November, Helm fractured his cheekbone when a puck found his face during a workout in Troy, Mich. If he didn't have bad luck, he'd have none at all, eh?
5. Mikael Samuelsson
Welcome back, Mikael Samuelsson.
The soon-to-be 36-year-old winger returns to the D after playing four seasons with the Red Wings from 2005-06 to 2008-09. The Swede is known for his ability to put the puck in the net and scored a career-high 30 goals with the Canucks in 2009-10.
Samuelsson was limited to 54 games last season and is getting up there in age, but remains a viable option as a top-six forward. He should fit in well throughout his second stint in Detroit.
Besides, bringing back familiar faces is nothing new for this club.
4. Johan Franzen
Speaking of goal scorers, the Mule knows a thing or two about tickling the twine.
Johan Franzen burst onto the scene in 2007-08 when he netted 27 regular-season goals plus another 13 in the postseason as the Wings won the Cup over Pittsburgh. The 6'2", 220-pound winger posted two hat tricks in the conference semifinals sweep of the Colorado Avalanche.
He hasn't turned into a 40-goal scorer like many had hoped, but there's no doubt he's a top-four forward for this club. Franzen remains one of Detroit's top scorers and has 57 goals over his past two campaigns.
3. Valtteri Filppula
Valtteri Filppula took his game to the next level in 2011-12.
The 28-year-old center from Finland posted career highs in goals, assists, plus-minus, shots and ice time last season. He finished with 66 points and 23 goals while firing the puck 144 times in all.
A quick look at his scoring percentage (he made 16 percent of shots taken) is enough to make one wish he'd take even more shots rather than defer to teammates so often.
Filppula's 43 helpers came in handy last year, but he's a crafty scorer and very skillful on the rush.
2. Henrik Zetterberg
One Red Wing who isn't shy about shooting is Henrik Zetterberg.
Hank fired more than 300 shots on goal from 2007-08 to 2010-11 and still managed to log over 40 assists each of the past five seasons. The 2008 Conn Smythe Trophy winner has averaged nearly a point per game throughout his career, putting up 624 points in 668 career games—all with Detroit.
Zetterberg is an animal come playoff time as well, with 102 points in 109 career postseason games.
Never one to take a shift off, No. 40 is by all means a Hockeytown hero and will hopefully continue to don the winged wheel for the duration of his NHL career.
1. Pavel Datsyuk
The man. The myth. The legend. He is Pavel Datsyuk.
He's simply a magician on the ice, working his wand to manipulate defenders in ways we've never seen before. No. 13 is the No. 1 forward in Detroit and undoubtedly the smoothest puck-handler in the game.
If he doesn't want to be stopped, he won't be. If he wants to keep the puck in his possession, he will.
Datsyuk falls into the category of Red Wings we'd like to see shoot the puck more, but I'm not going to complain. A three-time Selke Trophy and four-time Lady Byng Trophy winner, the accolades speak for themselves.
Despite struggling to stay healthy over the past two seasons, the 34-year-old remains the most dangerous man on the ice whenever he's in full gear. They don't call it "The Datsyukian Deke" for nothing.