Through the first ten games of the season, here is my take on five Red Wings who have been impressing, and five who have left something to be desired:
- Thomas Vanek — He’s only played for Detroit for seven games, but he has been impacting with four goals and four assists to his pedigree. He went down to an injury that Ken Holland said is “worse than originally thought” against Carolina, and his absence is missed, as Detroit struggled on offense against St. Louis, Boston, and Florida.
- Dylan Larkin — He’s off to a slow start this season, notching only three goals and one assist in ten games. His first two goals of the season came against Carolina — his second multi-goal game of his career. His speed constantly makes him a threat, as his first goal of the season was on a breakaway.
- Ryan Sproul — Despite only playing a handful of games at the NHL level, he has shown a lot of promise for the future of the blue line corps. He lost his bid for his first NHL goal off a deflection by Riley Sheahan, but he did get his first NHL point on the play.
- Frans Nielsen — Another newcomer in his first season with the Red Wings, its nice to have Nielsen scoring goals for Detroit, rather than against. Granted, in the game against St. Louis, he did score against Detroit as he went to block Kevin Shattenkirk’s shot, but instead deflected it past Petr Mrazek for the Blues’ lone goal in regulation. He made amends later in the game, stuffing a shorthanded goal past Jake Allen to tie the game.
- Mike Green — Green is entering his second season with Detroit, and he has been a valuable asset with his right hand shot on the back end. He scored his first career hat trick against Ottawa.
- Steve Ott — I was not a fan when Ken Holland signed him during the offseason, and I’m still not a fan. Being a 4th line grinder, I know we shouldn’t expect much offensive output from him, but to watch him go in with Luke Glendening on breakaways is a sight that cannot be unseen.
- Luke Glendening — Speaking of LGD, the perennial 4th line center is showing why he’s a 4th line center — recording no goals and four assists in ten games played. Last season he scored eight goals in 81 games played, and his limited offensive production is mildly offset by his ability to kill penalties.
- Jonathan Ericsson — Big E, aka Big Error strikes again. While he has been surprisingly “not bad” in the first ten games, he hasn’t exactly been “kinda good” either. His fight against Dion Phaneuf against Ottawa showed that he is taking on a new role of a Konstantinov reincarnate. He may produce a little offense as the season stretches on, but his defense looks like it has already peaked. It is only a matter of time before he clears the puck over the glass in the final two minutes of regulation to give the opposition a power play to tie the game.
- Petr Mrazek — Coming on the heels of a big contract extension for Mrazek, he hasn’t exactly put up the stellar numbers that he did last season. Jimmy Howard, by contrast looks like he is vying for the starting role yet again, and if he keeps playing the way he has, he might get it. Mrazek has played in seven games, going 4-3-0 with a 2.94 GAA and a .910 SV%. He has been the goalie of record for three of the Wings’ four losses this season, giving up 12 goals in the losses to Tampa and Florida. Petr did stand on his head in St. Louis (1 GA, .969 SV%, 1 GA in shootout), and is a big reason why that game went to a shootout. Granted, the defense hasn’t been much of a factor and both Mrazek and Howard are struggling to get the offensive support.
- Tomas Tatar — Tatar is off to a slow start to this season, something that seems atypical for someone who led the Wings in scoring two years ago and was second behind Dylan Larkin last season. He did get the monkey off his back with a goal against Nashville, but only has two points in ten games.
While it is still early enough for the depressing list to turn their seasons around, it is also early enough for those who have impressed to take a turn for the worse.