A few words to describe the 2016-17 season for the Red Wings would be bad, unlucky, and inconsistent. However a few players had worse seasons then expected, which factored in the general disappointment and frustration of the overall year. Here are my list of players that not only underperformed, but need to have better seasons for both the team and their own sakes.
Here’s a NHL player who scored 14 goals in the previous season, only to have 2 goals this year (both on the last regular game of the season). Needless to say, that’s an outcome nobody wanted. Thankfully, since he has proven he can score in this league, there should be no question that he comes to score at least 15 goals next year. If not? He’s on the last year of his contract and was the topic of being traded at the deadline for a first round pick in February, so the Wings will ether trade him or let him walk.
From an offensive point, he finished with 12 points, including 4 goals. I’ve always viewed scoring secondary for defensemen, but that goal number should rise. Being –22 didn’t help his case. Defensively, he was pretty horrible. Other team’s top lines had him overmatched and overworked. Probably would be better as a secondary pairing player moving forward. When you accidentally score on your own team, there aren’t too many positives.
Bad is not the word I would use to describe his season. Underwhelming is more like it. While he did get 36 assists and as established himself as one of the better playmakers on the lineup, he only scored 12 goals. Being paid almost 5 million dollars a year, his prime focus is to score more. Not getting suspended would probably help too. He needs to be a key guy on the power play again and up his goal production.
After his breakout season as a rookie, he followed up by failing expectations. 17 goals is not a bad number to be at for his age, but he was too inconsistent throughout the year. Finding creative ways to score now can be difficult but that’s exactly what he has to do. His moves and strategies from his first year have to develop into more goals. Playing him as a center will really help.
With Jimmy Howard making a clear push for the starter role, and Jared Coreau having a great postseason with Grand Rapids, Mrazek’s future in Detroit has never been more unclear. His .901 save percentage and 3.04 GAA was the worst of his career. When he was left exposed to Vegas, there was a clear impression that Holland is expecting an extreme bounce back season. We’ve seen glimpses of greatness from Mrazek, and I personally believe he can be a good starter, but that not be with the Wings.
Missing a large chunk of the season, Helm finished with 17 points. 8 goals and 9 assists. Ideally, he can come back and have a healthy season and be a great bottom six producer. His career high in goals is 15, and I don’t expect him to pass that soon, but his speed will hopefully propel his scoring abilities.
His first year as an alternate captain could have been more productive. He only played 64 games due to injury, but 7 goals is beyond unacceptable for a forward making $4.25 million a year. 24 points was his total, but that too is underwhelming. A comeback year would be obviously scoring more, but using the ice time he gets to improve the power play and cram the net as well.
There is no easy fix to this current team. But individual players, some entering their prime, need to rise to the occasion. Young kids and Zetterberg can’t carry the load alone. That starts from not having such an injury filled season, but playing up to your potential when you’re on the ice.