Detroit Red Wings: Justin Abdelkader In Top Six Is Puzzling

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into their tilt with the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night, the Detroit Red Wings had an interesting combination going on their second line at practice.

Justin Abdelkader was still in the top six, joining a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen. Abdelkader was originally sent up into the top six to replace Franzen when he was out with an injury. Despite the lack of success that that experiment brought, he’s still up on the second unit.

That combination comes despite the fact that the Wings just called up the AHL‘s leading scorer in Gustav Nyquist. Even more curious, Nyquist may not even play. He may serve as a healthy scratch in order to get Jordin Tootoo into the lineup. Which makes two questionable moves if that ends up being the case.

Despite an opportunity to succeed with the Wings’ top talent, Abdelkader’s output his been minimal this season. He has just two points on the year and is a minus-3. He does bring physicality to the role, but that’s about it.

The Red Wings have afforded Abdelkader quite an opportunity to succeed this year. Some of that is the result of injury. More of that is the result of the fact that the Wings are sitting with a cap hit of nearly $2 million for Abdelkader for the next three years after this one.

At this point, one would have to imagine we’re not going to see much more out of Abdelkader offensively than we already are. He’s playing with Datsyuk, one of the most talented players on the planet, and Franzen. After playing with Datsyuk, one of the most talented players on the planet, and Dan Cleary.

If he hasn’t figured it out yet, he’s probably not going to.

Around the Web