Early Stock Watch for Detroit Red Wings' Top Stars in 2013-14
The Detroit Red Wings have had a streaky start to the 2013-14 season.
After wins in their first two games, they lost two, won four straight and have now lost three in a row. An encouraging stat is that five of their six wins have come against Eastern Conference opponents. On the other hand, they’ve been outscored 19-6 in their four losses (1-0 shootout loss to San Jose excluded).
Inconsistent scoring is a glaring issue that has contributed to Detroit’s up-and-down start to the season. An injury to starting goaltender Jimmy Howard was balanced by the stellar play of Jonas Gustavsson in his absence.
It’s been an odd 11-game stretch to start the season, so here is an early stock watch for Detroit’s top stars.
Key statistic: 12 points in 11 games.
Analysis: Henrik Zetterberg has been Detroit’s most consistent player so far in 2013-14. With the aforementioned 12 points in 11 games, he leads the team in scoring and ranks fourth in the NHL. Zetterberg has earned a point in all but two games—a 4-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes and a 1-0 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks.
Averaging 19:37 of ice time per game Zetterberg has been tremendous on the penalty kill and has won 54.5 percent of his faceoffs. He sported a point-per-game pace during last season’s shortened campaign and appears to have picked up right where he left off.
Stock watch: Up.
Key statistic: Two goals in 11 games.
Analysis: Some of Detroit’s struggles fall on the shoulders of Johan Franzen. The former 30-goal scorer has just two goals so far this season, both coming in a 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche. In total, Franzen has only mustered five points and a minus-one rating through the first 11 games—eight of which he was held without a point.
Last year, Franzen primarily played with Pavel Datsyuk and delivered 14 goals in 41 regular-season games (on pace for 28) but scored just four in 14 playoff games. He started on the wing with Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson at the beginning of the year but has played center between Alfredsson and Todd Bertuzzi in their last two contests, recording zero points.
Stock watch: Down.
Key statistic: Nine points during five-game point streak.
Analysis: The annual Lady Byng candidate just continues to work his magic on opposing players. While averaging just over 20 minutes of ice time per game, Datsyuk is second only to Zetterberg in team scoring with 11 points in 11 games. While he’s been kept off the score sheet in four games this year, he has registered three multipoint performances.
Datsyuk has just two penalty minutes so far and remains one of the league’s most dangerous players, with or without the puck. He’s been held without a point in the last two games, but the team itself has scored just one goal during that span.
Stock watch: Up.
Key statistic: Three wins in eight starts.
Analysis: Jimmy Howard hasn’t had a steady beginning to the 2013-14 season. In eight starts, he has given up three or more goals four times with a record of 3-4-1 and one shutout. He suffered an injury to his glove hand on Oct. 12 against Philadelphia and has since gone 0-2-1 with a 3.05 goals-against average and a .895 save percentage. He was chased at the 14:14 mark of the first period in Wednesday’s 6-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators after surrendering three goals on eight shots.
Jonas Gustavsson won all three starts in Howard’s absence and could see more if "Howie" continues to struggle. Howard was 3-2 with a 2.39 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage before suffering the injury and may need a little more time before he’s 100 percent. If Howard's issues persist, it could generate a big problem for Detroit.
Stock watch: Down.
Key statistic: Team-leading eight assists.
Analysis: Alfredsson was brought in to provide scoring depth and help on the power play with his right-handed shot—both of which he has done. He leads the team with eight assists through 11 games, with four of those having come with the man advantage.
He’s spent most of his time on the second line, although he had a short stint on the third line with Joakim Andersson and Dan Cleary. Alfredsson has just one goal, but his nine points are good for third on the team. His role certainly won’t be reduced, and he is currently on pace for 66 points—his highest total since 2009-10.
Stock watch: Steady.