Detroit Red Wings: 4 Players Who Could Get Red Wings Back on Track

Franklin Steele@FranklinSteeleAnalyst IINovember 8, 2011

Detroit Red Wings: 4 Players Who Could Get Red Wings Back on Track

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    There are several Detroit Red Wings players that could be blamed for the recent turn of fortunes for the squad. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg have not been playing up to their usual standards for instance, and it's not a coincidence that the team hasn't been winning.

    The Wings recently managed to snap that six game losing streak—the longest winless streak for the squad since 2008. Of course the team managed to win the Stanley Cup that season so perhaps this is all part of some master Mike Babcock plan.

    Goals have been a huge issue for the team over the last few weeks, which is puzzling since they've fired more shots than your average Clint Eastwood western. Not to imply that there is such a thing as an average Clint Eastwood shoot 'em up, but I digress.

    There are a few players that need to find their top form if the Wings are going to contend for the Central Division. Here are four guys besides Zetterberg and Datsyuk that need to get going if the Wings are going to start winning more games.

Danny Cleary

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    Danny Cleary is one of my favorite Detroit Red Wings, but I am not going to mince words here: he blew it. Big time.

    To start the season off Cleary was slated to play on the top line with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. A career goaltender could probably lineup with those two and manage to put up some solid numbers.

    That wasn't the way things worked out however, and Cleary was split from the Euro Twins around the eighth or ninth game after he went goaless on the line. He's still only managed one goal and two assists over the course of the season so far—that just isn't good enough for a guy that is usually good for more production.

    Especially considering his only goal came on an awkward deflection that saw the puck bounce in off of his chest. So far Cleary has done almost nothing with his stick. Injuries to forwards will give Cleary another opportunity to play with Datsyuk. Hopefully he can begin to produce something more than shots on goal.

Jonathan Ericsson

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    I can admit when I am wrong—I was one of the few people sticking up for Jonathan Ericsson after he re-upped this summer and received a healthy pay raise. So far I've been very wrong about the resigning of the Detroit Red Wings defender.

    He's on the third defensive pairing on a nightly basis and doesn't land a lot of power-play time like Nicklas Lidstrom or Ian White. I understand that. Yet his total of one assist through 12 games leaves a lot to be desired in my eyes. Fabian Brunnstrom has managed the same point total, but he's only played twice.

    Ericsson isn't ever going to put up a 55 point season, but more production from his end would contribute mightily to the struggling Red Wings offense.

Tomas Holmstrom

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    Tomas Holmstrom is currently being afforded the chance to play on the top line of the Detroit Red Wings with Pavel Datsyuk while Todd Bertuzzi is unavailable due to illness.

    While he is usually known as the king of all things associated with the phrase "net presence", this season he's been remarkably ineffective. Most of Holmstrom's ice-time has been while Detroit is on the power play. While that is where he typically earns his paycheck, Homer just hasn't been cashing in with the extra man.

    In fact he hasn't been scoring in any fashion at all.

    Right now he only has one goal and 16 shots on net. The Wings needs Holmstrom to do what he does best, and to do that better than he has been. If he isn't playing as an effective screen then his value decreases drastically. 

Darren Helm

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    Many Detroit Red Wings fans (myself included) believed that the young Darren Helm was poised for a breakout season in 2011. That hasn't been the case so far however.

    The speed demon has only notched two points this year. He isn't going to put up Pavel Datsyuk-numbers, but he has more talent and capability than he has exhibited so far this year. Henrik Zetterberg has been Detroit's most disappointing player so far, but Helm has to be the second guy on that list.

    He's an outstanding penalty killer that has shown the ability to finish when given the chance. Helm has only cashed in a single time on 23 shots. He'll need to find a way to breakthrough at least a little bit for the Red Wings to find their overall offensive game.