The Detroit Red Wings have been able to survive the absence of star center Pavel Datsyuk because many other plays have stepped up offensively. Now, as they are also facing the loss of winger Henrik Zetterberg, it is even more important that players like Darren Helm, Gustav Nyquist and Johan Franzen continue to deliver. After a slow start to the season, Franzen has been on fire with seven points in the last four games.
After managing only two goals and five points in October, Franzen finally started to find his game in November. He finished the month with four goals and 12 points, and while he may not be finding the back of the net with any consistency this season he is setting up his teammates well. The experiment of trying Franzen at center will continue in the absence of Zetterberg and Datsyuk, as he will get a chance to play on the top line with Stephen Weiss and Nyquist flanking him. Nyquist has provided quite a spark since his call-up from the AHL (four goals in six games), while Weiss continues to be an incredibly disappointing free agent addition (two goals in 22 games). Injuries to the “Eurotwins” will also ensure that Franzen continues to see increasing time on the power play, where he is third on the team with eight points (four goals). The special teams units’ success has been a key to the Red Wings’ recent success, and they need Franzen and others to keep coming through when they get the chance with an extra skater.