The Red Wings head into tonight’s matchup at 13-11-3. Not the world’s most desirable record, but far from disastrous. However, they’re currently sitting four points out from a playoff spot in a tough Eastern Conference and the roster’s been rife with questionable lineup decisions and lacklustre performances. So in this up-and-down Wings season, we turned to our staff to try to find this season’s MVP so far.
I’m inclined to say that the MVP’s still the man wearing the captain’s C: Henrik Zetterberg. Sporting a team-high 20 points, “Z”‘s on pace to drop 60 points this season over 82 games, an improvement over last year’s 50. Whether he hits that mark yet is unforeseen, but he’s been helping to silence reports of his demise. Averaging more than two minutes a night than any other forward on the Wings, he’s been performing extremely well for a 36-year old who many were perhaps looking to have a dropoff season.
The player to impress me most thus far this season has been Mike Green. That blue line was the biggest concern coming into this year and it has been as rough a go as expected. Especially since Danny DeKeyser decided to fall off a cliff and start making fans wish Jonathan Ericsson were on the ice more, Mike Green has really picked up the slack.
He has two multi-goal games already this season, including a hat-trick. He’s clocked the most minutes on ice of all Red Wings defencemen so far this year, he’s one of only two d-men on the team even close to a positive CORSI at 48% right now (Ericsson being the other) and either leads the team or is a close second in all other advanced stats such as goals-for, scoring-chances-for etc. That’s all with only a slightly inflated PDO at 101 and while being second on the entire Red Wings team in points at 16 (6-10) trailing only Zetterberg. His 16 points is good for 12th among all defenceman in the league and only three points back from 3rd place as of December 9. He’s averaging 24:20 minutes of ice time a night and is depended on heavily in all situations by Blashill. He is one of the few signings of the last few years that came in and did exactly what he was signed to do. He is, far and away, the best defenceman on this team and one of the best players period the Wings have right now.
A case can be made for Zetterberg or either of the goaltenders or maybe even Mantha at this point but for how much responsibility Green has managed to shoulder so far this year, he’s my pick for most impressive player. He has not only managed to stay afloat but actually thrive under his newfound workload and extra minutes. Hopefully these young defenceman in the system are looking to Green for how they should be playing in the future.
The Wings MVP thus far has probably been Mike Green. On a blueline that’s second best defenseman is JONATHAN ERICSSON, Green has shown that he is still a very good defenseman, even if he isn’t scoring 30 goals anymore. No matter who he plays with, he makes them look passable, and he’s put up solid numbers in spite of the rest of the team. Without Green, the Red Wings wouldn’t be anywhere close to where they are now, and that’s saying something, cuz they’re not even in a playoff spot right now.