Detroit Red Wings: Updated Stat Predictions for the Top 8 Red Wings Scorers

Isaac SmithAnalyst IMarch 11, 2013

Detroit Red Wings: Updated Stat Predictions for the Top 8 Red Wings Scorers

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    The Detroit Red Wings have now played 26 games out of their 48-game NHL season.

    The halfway point has come and gone, so it is time for an updated prediction on what the final statistics will look like for the top-eight Red Wings' players.

    My look at the original point predictions for the Red Wings' season can be found here.

    Here are updated predictions of who will finish in the top eight in Red Wings' team scoring.

Who Fell off the Original List?

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    The Red Wings' early season success (more specifically their lack of success) can be directly attributed to who has not lived up to the predictions on the list from the start of the season.

    While re-examining that list, one will notice that the bottom four players on that list (Todd Bertuzzi, Darren Helm, Mikael Samuelsson and Dan Cleary) have played a grand total of 37 games.

    That's about nine games on average for each of those players of the Red Wings' 26 games so far.

    Not favorable offensively.

    Danny Cleary has played 26 of those 37 games.

    For this reason, due to the unpredictability of the injury bug, I have decided to trim the list to just the top eight players.

Honorable Mention: Dan Cleary

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    Falling from No. 7 on the original 10-man list, Dan Cleary has had nothing short of a disastrous season offensively.

    Last season, Cleary was banged up and often played with a bad knee, but still managed to contribute 33 points in 75 games.

    This past offseason, Cleary had surgery on his knee and most hockey pundits thought his career could see a little bit of a resurgence.

    That has not been the case.

    As he is pointless in his past seven games, Cleary has just seven points in 26 games, far worse than his point-per-game output last season.

    Cleary barely misses this updated top-eight predictions list, even though he has been playing with the likes of Datsyuk for the better part of a month.

    Look for Cleary to finish with 13 points.

8. Jakub Kindl

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    "And now, the plus-minus leader on the Red Wings, No. 4, Jakub Kindl!"

    Sorry, read that again if it didn't make sense the first time.

    Jakub Kindl leads the Red Wings with a plus-11 rating.

    Kindl also has seven points.

    Of those seven points, three are goals, and two of those are game-winning goals.

    Kindl has been engaging himself offensively, and even finds himself logging almost two and a half minutes of power-play time per contest.

    With two goals in his last three games, Kindl should be on the radar for top-eight players at the end of the season.

    If Kindl continues to take strides offensively, he could finish with 15 points.

7. Jonathan Ericsson

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    Jonathan Ericsson has looked calm, cool and collected on the ice with the puck.

    This confidence in handling the puck has given Ericsson the confidence he needs to start picking up some points on a more consistent basis.

    As a matter of fact, "Big E" already has 10 points on the season, and is on pace to smash his previous career high of 15 points, set back in 2010-11.

    Now a top-pairing defenseman for the Red Wings, Ericsson has seen his ice time and offensive numbers increase.

    Ericsson is shooting a career-best 12.5 percent, through his 23 games played this season.

    Look for Ericsson to finish with 20 points this season.

6. Niklas Kronwall

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    Niklas Kronwall is currently fourth on the Red Wings in scoring with 18 points.

    In fact, it isn't close between Kronwall and the fifth-place scorer, Johan Franzen.

    So why would Kronwall fall to sixth on this top-eight list?

    Well, the Red Wings have 22 games left, and only eight home games left.

    Kronwall has 10 of his 18 points on the power play.

    See where this is going.

    As the Red Wings do not have a power-play goals on the road this season yet, Kronwall's primary source of scoring (the power play) could—and likely will—dry up and Kronwall could see his scoring pace take a bit of a nose dive through the last 22 games of the season.

    I think Kronwall will likely finish with 30 points.

5. Johan Franzen

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    Johan Franzen only has 11 points through his 19 games played, but Franzen has been coming on offensively as of late.

    In the last five games, Franzen has 21 shots, including three games where Franzen registered six shots on goal.

    When Franzen gets involved offensively, that usually spells good things for the Red Wings.

    Expect Franzen's point total to skyrocket when he gets linemate Valterri Filppula back sometime this week (via Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press).

    As much as Franzen has struggled this season, he seems to show up when his team needs him most.

    This time of need, and a challenge to make the playoffs—which is far from a given at this point in the season—should bring out the best in Franzen.

    If Franzen continues to get involved offensively, he can start scoring in bunches like he has in the past.

    Bold prediction of the day: expect Franzen to be almost a point-per-game player here on out and finish with 31 points.

4. Valtteri Filppula

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    Players do funny things when money is on the line.

    Last year, Detroit's Jiri Hudler put up a career high in goals (with 25) to earn a nice pay day from the Calgary Flames.

    Valtteri Filppula has only 10 points in 19 games and has not played since February 24 against the Vancouver Canucks.

    I would expect Filppula, assuming he comes back this week from his shoulder injury, to start taking a more active role in the offense.

    He must prove that last year's 66-point campaign was no fluke, and prove that he should be getting paid the same, if not more, money than Jiri Hudler got last season.

    He had just 23 points in 40 road games last year, but Filppula will need to find a way to break through in his point totals if he wants to break through financially in his next contract as well.

    Expect Filppula to turn it up offensively to finish the season with a point-per-game average.

    He will finish with 31 points.

3. Damien Brunner

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    Damien Brunner has been a nice surprise for the Red Wings this season.

    As a European phenomenon, coming over from the Swiss Elite League, Brunner has 10 goals and 19 points in 26 games played.

    Brunner has played on the top line for the Red Wings, and looked fairly good doing so.

    He has to find a way to make a bigger impact on the power play though, as Brunner has just seven power-play points, while playing over three and a half minutes on the man advantage every night.

    Assuming the Red Wings' abysmal road power play does not change very much, I will revise my prediction in the original article and say that Brunner will finish with 18 goals and 18 assists for a total of 36 points.

2. Henrik Zetterberg

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    Henrik Zetterberg currently leads the Red Wings with 27 points.

    The captain has provided the majority of the offense for the 'Wings so far this season, but his goal total compared to what was predicted in the original article is slightly off-pace.

    Zetterberg has 12 of his 27 points on the power play this season, but that power play has yet to register a goal on the road, a place where the Red Wings play 14 of their final 22 games.

    Look for Zetterberg to lose his team point lead to Pavel Datsyuk if Zetterberg cannot figure out the power play.

    Zetterberg has also been in a current "goal funk" of his own as he has gone seven games without a goal.

    Updated predictions for Zetterberg's point totals see him scoring 13 goals and 38 assists for a total of 51 points.

1. Pavel Datsyuk

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    Why will Pavel Datsyuk lead the Red Wings in team scoring at the end of the season?

    Well, although Datsyuk has eight goals and 25 points on the season, he doesn't have a goal in the past 10 games.

    Datsyuk has been looking disinterested over the past couple games, often giving the puck away uncharacteristically (22 giveaways already this season with just 40 giveaways in 70 games last season).

    When Datsyuk's desire to be the best player on the ice comes into play, however, he is a completely different player and capable of putting up points at the drop of a hat.

    Detroit needs to find a way to re-engage Datsyuk in the goal scoring department because he only has eight shots over the past six games.

    Look for Datsyuk to jump back in front in points before the end of the season and finish with 17 goals and 35 assists for a total of 52 points.


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