It was a tough year for you if you owned a Red Wings forward in 2009-10, thanks in part to injuries limiting Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Holmstrom, Valtteri Filppula, Dan Cleary, and Johan Franzen.
Franzen, likely the most impacted out of that group, only managed to contribute 10 goals and 11 assists in 27 games – a scoring rate slightly down from the season prior.
With the exception of Zetterberg – who maintained a .95 point per game scoring pace – all other fantasy noteworthy Red Wings saw a decrease in point totals from the offensive juggernaut team that made it to the Stanley Cup finals in 2008-09. The most notable decrease was Pavel Datsyuk, who went down from a 1.2 point per game pace down to just .88 points per game to cap out at 70 points.
Nicklas Lidstrom led all Wings defenders in scoring again this season but – keeping with the overall theme – at a much reduced rate. Lidstrom only contributed 49 points in his 82 games – his lowest mark since the 2003-04 season. A cold October and November mainly contributed to Lidstrom’s lack of product as he ended the year with 32 points in 42 games.
Like Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski’s 42 points in 78 games was his lowest total since the 2003-04 season but recorded the highest plus/minus on the team with +23. Niklas Kronwall, the Wings’ only other fantasy-relevant defenseman, missed 34 games to injury but contributed 7 goals and 15 assists in his remaining 48 games.
Jimmy Howard emerged as the go-to goaltender in Detroit, surprassing a shaky Chris Osgood. Howard broke out to a 37-15-10 record with a 2.26 GAA and .924 SV% – good enough for rookie of the year consideration in the NHL and likely waiver-wire pickup of the year in your fantasy league.
On the Bench:
Mike Babcock may be have the most secure grasp on his coaching job than anybody else in the league. He’s got a great relationship with the Red Wings front office and that Gold Medal sure didn’t hurt.
The Bottom Line:
Detroit had to rely on a lot of borderline players to pick up the slack last year and some of them will be back – Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller – but the others will be cut loose. However, none of these transactions have any real fantasy significance unless you are in the deepest of leagues. The most notable improvement to the Wings in the offseason – in addition to the re-signing of Jiri Hudler – will come from the extra time they can take to get healthy and regroup after an all-around disappointing season.