Detroit Red Wings: Predicting the Top 10 Scorers for the 2011-12 Season
The Detroit Red Wings have been known for a while now as having some of the best talent in the league. With plenty of All-Stars and depth on the team, Detroit is definitely one of the most well-rounded teams in all of the NHL.
It is hard to predict who will be the best player every year for the team with so many great players and even future Hall of Famers. However, with every player comes the uncertainty of them having an injury-doomed season. That comes along with every team in the game of hockey, though.
Here are Detroit's top scorers for next season.
10. Tomas Holmstrom
Tomas Holmstrom may be the most hated player in the league by defenseman and goalies. More goalies should hate him for his constant net presence. Even the refs seem to not enjoy making difficult decisions on whether or not he was impeding the goalie's ability to make a play.
Holmstrom is getting older now and this could in fact be his last season in Hockeytown. The toll that has been taken on his body has to be tremendous. Even with the age being a factor, I see him staying in the top 10 for scoring with Detroit.
2011-2012 projected numbers: Goals: 16, Assists: 21, Points: 37
9. Jiri Hudler
Jiri Hudler had a disappointing comeback season last year with Detroit by only putting up 36 points. He was around a 70-point player before he left for the KHL in 2010. Hudler does have the capability to put up great numbers and be a top-six forward. The only real factor is size and dedication.
Seeming to be playing uninspired hockey last year, he may have to break the 50-point mark to stay on the roster. I think he will have a better season than last year, but not a dramatic improvement. These are his stats assuming he plays the whole season with Detroit.
2011-2012 projected numbers: Goals 19, Assists: 21, Points: 40
8. Niklas Kronwall
Kronwall is well known around the league for his bone-crushing hits. Ask Martin Havlat or R.J Umberger if they will ever go against his blue line with their heads down again. Kronwall has been taking great strides and improving almost every season with Detroit.
His only major concern would be if he can stay healthy. He has had problems ever since George Laraque purposely went knee to knee on him in 2010. That caused him to miss 34 games that season. He also seems to take many shots off the feet and knees, which causes him to miss a game here or there.
Kronwall is on the rise in his career and could turn out to have whole career in the winged wheel.
2011-2012 projected numbers: Goals: 13, Assists: 30, Points: 43
7. Valtteri Filppula
Valtteri Filppula has been a very good role player in Detroit since he began in 2005. He is an excellent player to have on your side if you are looking for speed to work with. Also, if you want a player that will go into corners despite his size, this is your guy.
Filppula has been talked about mildly of maybe being traded for some better value for Detroit. I personally don't see it happening. He is one of those great, homegrown players that Detroit always manages to steal in a later round.
He also has been a consistent point player in the past few seasons. He averages anywhere from 35 to 40 points a year, which are not terrible numbers by any means. Look for Filppula to break 40 points this season for the second time in his career.
2011-2012 projected numbers: Goals: 19, Assists: 24, Points: 43
6. Todd Bertuzzi
Todd Bertuzzi has been slowly working his way to being a fan favorite in Detroit. I think the fans love his grit, fight and scoring abilities. Even if you don't like him or even hate him, the man is a very talented hockey player, and you can't let one mistake ruin his reputation. Plenty of players have done the same thing; they just happened to not ruin another player's career.
Bertuzzi started to get on Detroit's radar in 2010 when the team was struggling for most of the year, and he was netting game-winners and making game-changing plays that helped Detroit reach the playoffs once again. He is still capable of 50-point seasons and still seems to have what it takes to be a top-six forward on most teams.
2011-2012 projected numbers: Goals: 15, Assists: 31, Points: 46
5. Danny Cleary
Dan Cleary has been one of the fan favorites in Detroit for his blue collar work ethic since coming to the team in 2005. Even when I watch hockey in front of friends that don't watch too much, they say, "My favorite is that No. 11 guy." I think it's just because he is an all-out type of player.
Cleary has been a solid 40-point man in Detroit and has been a very good playoff performer. If he keeps playing like he has been, he should be able to finish his career out for the Red Wings if he is willing to.
2011-2012 projected numbers: Goals: 24, Assists: 24, Points: 48
4. Johan Franzen
Johan Franzen is one of the best (if not the best) clutch performers in the NHL. The man scores big, timely goals all the time. He is also one of the more underrated players in the league. He has the ability to put up goals in every fashion as well, from tipping in front of the net, to sniping goal tenders from the top of the circles.
The only real problem he has, like many goal scorers, is that he is streaky from time to time. I think this year will be different, however. I can see Franzen finally breaking the 40-goal plateau and being the highest goal scorer on the team.
2011-2012 projected numbers: Goals: 41, Assists: 22, Points: 63
3. Nicklas Lidstrom
Nicklas Lidstrom is coming off his seventh Norris Trophy win this summer for being the league's top defenseman. At age 41, he is still at the top of the ranks as one of the best players in the league. The definite future Hall of Famer will probably be in the running once again for the Norris Trophy. I think at the very least, he will be nominated again unless he has the worst season of his career.
Lidstrom doesn't only bring great offense for a defenseman, but he also can play a stay-at-home defensive style as well. He doesn't give you the Scott Stevens crunch when playing you, but rather, a hand to the chest and stick on the puck. It seems to be effective for the veteran leader.
2011-2012 projected numbers: Goals: 18, Assists: 48, Points: 66
2. Henrik Zetterberg
Henrik Zetteberg is one of the most overlooked players in NHL draft history. He was selected in the seventh round and at 210th overall. The other teams in the league can't be upset because they all had a fair chance to get him.
The former Conn Smythe winner proved to not be a one-hit wonder throughout his career. Since the lockout, Zetterberg has not recorded below 70 points in a season. His highest total was 92 points in the 2007-2008 season. He still has some good years in him at only age 30. Expect him to have another great season.
2011-2012 projected numbers: Goals: 23, Assists: 59, Points: 82 points
1. Pavel Datsyuk
If Zetterberg is one of the most overlooked of all time, then Datsyuk is the most overlooked player in NHL draft history. He was taken in the sixth round and 171st overall in 1998. Datsyuk is probably the best dangler in the league and has some of the sickest hands in NHL history. He's like a little brother of Pavel Bure. Except better.
Datsyuk is also arguably the best overall player in the world. He is one the best offensive talents and can help tremendously on the defensive side of the puck. Not too many offensive All-Stars are on the penalty kill these days, but he is one of the few.
Datsyuk put up 59 points in 56 games last season and would've probably gotten around 90 points if it weren't for his injury-ridden season. Look for Datsyuk to tally the most points for the Red Wings this season.
2011-2012 projected numbers: Goals: 31, Assists: 59, Points: 90