It’s no secret that the Detroit Red Wings organization rewards grit, determination, and hard work. Luke Glendening is the epitome of those three things. The undrafted U of M grad has carved himself a nice little spot on the Red Wings’ fourth line. Trusted for his strong defensive game, Glendening gets the majority of his ice time on the penalty kill. He’s the Wings best shot blocker and, arguably, their best at faceoffs too. Let’s see how his season went.
These charts are so scary when you see so much red. Glendening gets no favours from his deployment. With most of his zone starts in the defensive zone, it makes sense that his offensive metrics are nothing to write home about.
What is scary, though, are his defensive metrics. Glendening is on the ice for a lot of goals against and a lot of shots against. Part of it could be the quality of his linemates, but the other part of it is that the opposing NHL players are just better than him.
He doesn’t have a ton of speed and isn’t great with the puck. He’s strong, sure, but he’s also small, only standing at 5’11”. His defense is definitely the best part of his game, but he had a hard time keeping up with his competition.
Glendening actually had a pretty good year this season. He got off to a hot start, sniping home a beautiful wrister in the first few games of the season, and concluded the year with 19 points. That’s the second highest mark of his career.
He also added three shorthanded points, which he was able to steal while playing with Dylan Larkin.
The other metric to point out here is the faceoff percentage. Glendening was Detroit’s best faceoff man and was trusted in important game-breaking situations. He had one of the best faceoff percentages in the league.
Yikes. This ain’t pretty. Because Glendening’s only job is to defend, he’s on the ice for far more shot attempts against than for. Relative to his teammates, he had one of the worst Corsi-For percentages. It’s a result of the team being unable to gain possession of the puck when he’s on the ice and their inability to break out of the zone.
It was always frustrating when the fourth line was on because it became a sit back and defend kind of game. The opposing team cycled around the outside and Glendening and his linemates chased it.
Glendening’s goal-based stats reflect his Corsi ones. He was never given the opportunity to play an offensive shift, so of course he’s going to have more goals scored against when he’s on the ice. Add poor defense and mediocre goaltending to the mix and it makes for a beautiful disaster of a fourth line.
I predict more of the same from Glendening next season. At this point, he’s hit his ceiling and we know what to expect. Despite the trade rumours this season, I don’t see him being moved next. His contract still has too many years left on it and Detroit values him at much more than he’s worth.
Glendening is a fine fourth line center. His ability to win faceoffs is a great asset to a team that struggles so mightily in the defensive zone. He’s not the kind of player that you expect 20 goals out of, but he is one you think should be able to shut down the opposing team. He didn’t do too good of a job of that this season. Hopefully he can step it up next year.