Who has been the Red Wings’ best player thus far?

Three weeks into the season, several Detroit Red Wings players have been performing admirably. Who has been the most valuable?

Johan Franzen. Being atop the stats sheet is nothing new to Franzen.  His team-leading four goals is very impressive considering he has only registered 14 shots on goal.  Furthermore, he has three power play goals, while the rest of the team has two.  The biggest knock to the Mule being the most valuable thus far is the fact that he leads the team (tied with Todd Bertuzzi) in penalty minutes.  Considering the Wings sport the NHL’s 22nd-best penalty kill, the Wings need Franzen to stay out of the box.

Valterri Filppula. Like Franzen, Filppula is averaging a point per game.  He leads the team in assists. He has just one penalty so far this season.  The ability to create goals, not necessarily slam them in the back of the net, is always important to the Wings’ European puck-possession style of hockey.  The mixture of leading the team in assists and staying out of the sin bin makes Filppula one of the most valuable players on the team so far.

Jimmy Howard.  It’s pretty simple: Howard wins and he doesn’t lose.  In four games this year, the Wings’ goalie is 4-0-0 with a shut out.  He’s sixth in the league among goaltenders with at least three games played with a 1.72 goals againt average.  I think it is obvious who the late Al Davis would pick.

Nicklas Lidstrom.  The Wings’ captain leads the team’s defensivemen in points, leads the team in ice time, and has been great on the power play.  None of this is new to anyone, in fact this level of production is expected out of one of the best to ever play his position.  A knock against Lidstrom so far this year is his zero plus/minus.  Typically, Lidstrom is one of the best in this area, but so far this year, he’s subpar compared to the rest of the team’s blue liners.



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  • http://www.bosswolf.com Edd Austin

    No one has really been overwhelming. Filppula may be the best performer so far .. and Jimmy Howard has been great at times. Abby and Helm work hard with little results – they still can’t finish. Otherwise, not much. Hudler has stopped working. Not sure what Bert is doing. Holmstrom looks like he is done. Franzen does a lot of standing around. Eaves and Miller are only contributing as defensive specialists. Cleary skates around like crazy and accomplishes little. Who are the other forwards? Oh yeah, Dats and Z .. almost forgot about them. The Wings looked good against some lethargic opponents. The defense is woeful. Even Lidstrom has been an observer the last two outings. Oprah Stuart is a pylon, I call him Oprah because of all the giveaways. Ian White looks small out there and plays small. Ericsson is just brutal with the puck. Kindl is showing some hope but disappears a lot. Conklin looks like he’s lost confidence. If Holland hadn’t spent all summer soothing (not the word I wanted to use) Ozzie, we could have had Vokoun. What’s Nabokov doing these days? Power play is impotent (which of the new assistants is responsible for this?). I know they are 5-2 but I have a feeling things are going in the wrong direction. Nip it now!

    • Eric Ryan

      It sounds like what you’re saying is too many role players and not enough stars. (Role player is a nice term they use in the NHL for guy who doesn’t score.) I can not disagree with that. The defense is pathetic compared to what we’re used to. Was Rafalski THAT good? Being lethargic doesn’t really bother me this early because in the long NHL season, you can afford to be lethargic early. As long as the Wings stay healthy, I think the guys that need to produce will start eventually. If not, they have quite a bit of trade bait.