Detroit Red Wings: 5 Most Disappointing Players This Season

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Detroit Red Wings: 5 Most Disappointing Players This Season

Detroit Red Wings: 5 Most Disappointing Players This Season
Don McPeak - USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Red Wings are struggling to find consistency this season, and a rash of recent injuries isn’t going to make that any easier. The Red Wings have been without Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, and will now be without Darren Helm for at least two games. In addition to that trio of forwards, promising young defenseman Danny DeKeyser remains sidelined with a shoulder injury. Despite those setbacks, Detroit had fired off a four-game winning streak until things fell apart in a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday.

The loss of Zetterberg and Datsyuk has opened the door for others to step up offensively, and while Helm, Johan Franzen and Daniel Alfredsson have seized that opportunity there are many others who continue to be dead weight. A few of the players on this list have performed so poorly that cutting them doesn’t seem like the worst idea, especially with many players waiting in the wings with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL. Salary cap issues have put roster spots at a premium in Detroit, and veterans like Jordin Tootoo, Patrick Eaves and Cory Emmerton have seen time in the minors as a result. While they currently hold onto third place in the Atlantic Division, that could change in a hurry if they can’t find consistency or ways to win at home. These five players have been the most disappointing through the first quarter of the season, and that needs to change.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL featured columnist for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your circles on Google Plus.

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Brendan Smith

Brendan Smith
Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

Defenseman Brendan Smith has shown some progress in the past few weeks, but with a minus-4 rating that is third-worst on the team there is still work to be done. He's only managed to chip in four assists in 19 games and he still needs to show he can be better in his own zone. A recent fight with Chris Neil was the step in the right direction, as it earned him some respect and showed he was willing to stand up even if he was mismatched.

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Dan Cleary

Dan Cleary
Perry Nelson - USA TODAY Sports

Dan Cleary continues to make everyone scratch their heads and wonder why he was brought back. Through 28 games, Cleary has one goal and four points yet somehow continues to get chance after chance to try and get things going. The time has come to dump some dead weight, and that starts with showing Cleary the door no matter how much faith Mike Babcock has in him.

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Kyle Quincey

Kyle Quincey
Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

Where to start with Kyle Quincey? The veteran defenseman continues to be a liability in his own end, while bringing almost no value offensively. At a cap hit of almost $4 million, three points in 29 games and a team-worst minus-9 rating just isn't going to cut it. He's done everything he can to ensure he won't be back next season, and ironically he's done that by doing very little good on the ice

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Jimmy Howard

Jimmy Howard
Andrew Weber - USA TODAY Sports

Just one season removed from carrying the load for the Red Wings, Jimmy Howard is struggling in a big way. His 6-8-6 record reflects one of the worst starts of his career, and his 2.70 goals-against average and .909 save percentage show just how bad things are. The scariest stat is his 2-5-6 mark on home ice, where he and his team had been dominant in previous seasons. Backup Jonas Gustavsson is 7-0-1 and likely to take more starts if Howard continues to struggle.

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Stephen Weiss

Stephen Weiss
Andrew Weber - USA TODAY Sports

The Red Wings brought Stephen Weiss in to boost secondary scoring, and so far he hasn't come close to doing that. With just two goals and four points as well as minus-3 rating, Weiss has by far been the biggest disappointment of the season. He took a costly penalty on Wednesday that changed the momentum in an eventual loss to the Flyers, and for the $4.9 million he's making this season he must start doing more.

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