Pass/Fail: Todd Bertuzzi

The traditional method of ranking individual player performance is usually some sort of “report card” or “A+” grading system. Not here. You see, we like to keep things simple at TPL. You either made the grade or you didn’t. No grey area. Black and white. This is “Pass/Fail.”

Statistically Speaking
[table id=25 /]

The Good
(Ed. Note: I REALLY wanted Petrella to write this. No seriously. Can you imagine Petrella trying to type out what’s about to come across the screen? It’s pure deliciousness in thought alone. Imagine how excellent it would have been if it had come true. No matter…) Always the source of controversy around these parts, Todd Bertuzzi’s game was enough to quiet many of the skeptics around here. It’s taken some time, but Big Bert seems to have finally settled in to his niche in Detroit, and there was no bigger sign of that then his commitment to backchecking and defensive play this season. While it won’t show up in the stats, Bert’s dedication to the little things seemed to win over many of his doubters, especially coming off of an offseason that saw him get a raise that many felt he didn’t deserve. He also did his part on the scoresheet, tallying 45 points as a complimentary wing on the Datsyuk centered line. He’s learned to control his aggression on the ice without taking away his physicality, and his ability to use his body to shield the puck in the corners generated a number of scoring chances this season. He remained absolutely lethal in the shootout, using his “changeup” approach to keep the Wings relevant in the skills competition. Finally, with health always an issue for Todd, he missed only ONE game the entire regular and postseason combined.

The Bad
Despite a refocused effort on solid defensive play, Bert still managed to post a less-than-flattering -7 rating during the regular season. As was the case for a number of his teammates, Todd was helped immensely when playing on a line featuring Pavel Datsyuk as the center. When he moved up and down the lineup and found himself playing more of a grinding role in front of the net, his production suffered and so did his decision making. The blind spin-o-rama pass seems to be here to stay, and while it worked on occasion, more times than not it the puck wound up outside the zone or on the stick of the opposition. Despite his offensive production, Bert was also incredibly streaky, which didn’t bode well during the trying months of the regular season campaign. No matter what he does, he’ll always have a target on his back when it comes to the officials, which proved costly on a few occasions this season.

Extra Credit
The one moment that stands out among all the others with Bertuzzi was his two-fight night against Shane O’Brien of the Nashville Predators. With the Wings getting rolled 3-0 at the time, Bert brought the fists…and then brought the fists again, jump-starting the Wings on the way to a 4-3 win. The Joe was rocking a few weeks later against Phoenix when Bert dropped the gloves again, and for the first time in a long time the fans were chanting his name for a GOOD reason. Close second: Bert’s shootout goal that closed out Minnesota in his 1,000th NHL game.

Grades
Disch: No Vote
Petrella: PASS
Hollis: PASS

The Reasoning
Disch: *Spin Class*
Petrella: You couldn’t have done this Pass/Fail series last year??! Damn… watch what happens – and all the haters take note – Michael Petrella gives Todd Bertuzzi a pass. I still don’t think he’s on the top half of the team in terms of “talent,” but there’s no denying that he’s finding a niche and contributing in the ways that he CAN. He still does dumbshit spin plays, but once in a while they go in. But he’s playing solid and forming chemistry with the right guys… good on him.
Hollis: I’m still stunned at Petrella’s reasoning. No matter. I truly think the Wings are better with Bertuzzi than without him, and he looks comfortable in his own skin now in Detroit. He’s no longer the major scoring threat he once was, but he’s still got enough in the tank to be crafty and dangerous. He’s heading into the last season on his contract, and I would really enjoy seeing him win a Cup in Detroit to help silence the doubters once and for all.

Final TPL Grade
PASS

Up Next: Jiri Hudler

Past Reports:
6/7 :: Brian Rafalski (PASS)
6/7 :: Pavel Datsyuk (PASS)
6/6 :: Brad Stuart (PASS)
6/4 :: Henrik Zetterberg (PASS)
5/27 :: Jakub Kindl (SPLIT)
5/26 :: Darren Helm (PASS)
5/24 :: Niklas Kronwall (PASS)
5/23 :: Valtteri Filppula (PASS)

Pass/Fail: Brian Rafalski

The traditional method of ranking individual player performance is usually some sort of “report card” or “A+” grading system. Not here. You see, we like to keep things simple at TPL. You either made the grade or you didn’t. No grey area. Black and white. This is “Pass/Fail.”

Statistically Speaking
[table id=23 /]

The Good
Brian Rafalski is a pro’s pro. In 2010-11, like several seasons before it, he was the best in the business keeping the puck in at the blueline by whatever means necessary. I meant to type up a thing earlier in the season outlining why that’s so important — and how you can’t really “quantify” that kind of contribution, much like his veteran presence, his incredibly calm demeanor, and his outlet pass skills — which were, to be clear, absolutely filthy. He was second on the team in +/-, even in a “down year,” and was relied on for more than twenty minutes a night. His 0.76 points/game were the second  best in the League among players that played at least 40 games. Read that again: HE WAS THE SECOND MOST PRODUCTION OFFENSIVE DEFENSEMAN LAST SEASON.

The Bad
With all of the wonderful things we can say about Brian Rafalski’s season, there’s just as much on the thumbs down side. He had clearly lost a step, and was getting drilled behind the net a hell of a lot more than he used to, likely a result of his body telling him it was about time to hang ’em up. For an offensive contributor, he didn’t actually score goals all that often — chipping in only four goals in 63 games, and ZERO on the power play (which is his bread and butter). When the post-season rolled around, Rafalski found himself a minus player. Truth be told, the situation had become evident as the season wore on that his body just wasn’t in it anymore.

Extra Credit
Of course, Rafalski threw us a curveball as he walked away from the final year of his deal, and the $6M that would have come with it. He decided that there were things that were more important than hockey at this point in his life, and he was going to walk away (while he still could) to pursue them and spend time with his family. This is a man that has earned that right and — despite the weak season, by his standards — he’s a valuable player that will be nearly impossible to replace internally or via free agency. That’s worth something.

Grades
Disch: PASS
Petrella: PASS
Hollis: PASS

The Reasoning
Disch: Raffy is an easy top-4 defensemen on the Wings and really a top 2 on most teams, injured or not.  He played like it this year…despite some ugly moments that happen for any non-Nick blueliner when you’re out there against the opposing team’s best.  I think next year when Shitbox’s replacement is starting the break, we’re going to realize how big a deal Rafalski was to the 2010-11 team.
Petrella: While his season may be a “fail” in his own eyes, it is so only by his incredible standards. He retired one of the best quarterbacks in the League, and his intangibles can’t be understated. But for someone that’s expected to be Nicklas Lidstrom’s quasi-equal counterpart, he didn’t quite get there. We’ll all be disappointed if we think he can be replaced and improved upon.
Hollis: Despite the mobility issues and the turnovers, Rafalski was still one of the best at breaking open a rush and finding ways to contribute points. Even when he knew his career was done, he kept working and kept contributing. Pass for the season and pass for the career.

Final TPL Grade
PASS

Up Next: Todd Bertuzzi

Past Reports:
6/7 :: Pavel Datsyuk (PASS)
6/6 :: Brad Stuart (PASS)
6/4 :: Henrik Zetterberg (PASS)
5/27 :: Jakub Kindl (SPLIT)
5/26 :: Darren Helm (PASS)
5/24 :: Niklas Kronwall (PASS)
5/23 :: Valtteri Filppula (PASS)

Pass/Fail: Pavel Datsyuk

The traditional method of ranking individual player performance is usually some sort of “report card” or “A+” grading system. Not here. You see, we like to keep things simple at TPL. You either made the grade or you didn’t. No grey area. Black and white. This is “Pass/Fail.”

Statistically Speaking
[table id=24 /]

The Good
Where do you even start with this guy? His puckhandling is a class above everyone else in the league, and his creativity makes everyone around him better. Despite missing 26 regular season contests, he still finished the the top 100 in the league in goals, assists, points, plus/minus, power play goals, shorthanded goals, game-winning goals and shooting percentage. He’s nominated for the Selke award (again) as one of the top defensive forwards in the game, and his ability to take the puck away from guys is still top-notch. He may not win that Selke this year, but there’s no doubt that he deserves to be a nominee. Despite a nagging wrist injury, he was the clear frontrunner for Conn Smythe honors on the Wings during the postseason, scoring clutch goals and forcing defenses to cheat up on him, opening up opportunities for his teammates. Even with the Wings out of the playoffs, Datsyuk is still in the top 10 in the league in postseason assists and plus/minus. He showed an increased physical side this year, never shying away from contact and throwing his weight around on the forecheck. All in all, a complete player from top to bottom.

The Bad
The injury. That’s it. The guy is a wizard on the ice, and clearly one of the elite players in the league. It was a shame he had to miss so many games due to injury, but that was his only limiting factor this season. Unfortunately for the Wings, the damage done by not having Datsyuk on the ice was pretty noticeable. As J.J. noted over at WIIM, the Wings GAA jumped from 2.75 up to 3.23 when Datsyuk was shelved during the regular season. He also looked a little sluggish and tentative in his return to the ice, but that’s to be expected. Some will argue that he still gets a bit too fancy sometimes, dropping passes where he should just carry the zone, but that’s scraping the bottom of the barrel at this point. His presence on the faceoff dot was also sorely missed during the playoffs while he was recovering from that bum wrist.

Extra Credit
Remember allllllllllllll the way back to the beginning of the season when Datsyuk dropped the mitts with Corey Perry? Yea, still one of my favorite memories of the entire season.

Grades
DischPass
PetrellaPass
HollisPass

The Reasoning
Disch: Single most dominant player I saw on the ice all year. Just off the charts. I started to believe this year. Wasn’t genuinely in that camp before….not like the rest of the believers. Wish he would keep the playoff beard.
Petrella: This one isn’t even fair. He’s so good, it’s ridiculous. I’ve always tried to avoid putting him in that top flight of players because I thought that maybe I was biased, as a fan of the Wings. But, I’m tired of keeping him off that list. He’s LITERALLY one of the best players on earth, and his display in the playoffs was absolutely filthy. A full year of THAT, and we have the number one guy on the planet.
Hollis: An incredible talent who seems to get better and better every single year. Just a lights-out player who gets you out of your seat every time he touches the puck. A healthy Datsyuk might just be the best player in the league.

Final TPL Grade
PASS

Up Next: Brian Rafalski

Past Reports:
6/6 :: Brad Stuart (PASS)
6/4 :: Henrik Zetterberg (PASS)
5/27 :: Jakub Kindl (SPLIT)
5/26 :: Darren Helm (PASS)
5/24 :: Niklas Kronwall (PASS)
5/23 :: Valtteri Filppula (PASS)

Pass/Fail: Brad Stuart

The traditional method of ranking individual player performance is usually some sort of “report card” or “A+” grading system. Not here. You see, we like to keep things simple at TPL. You either made the grade or you didn’t. No grey area. Black and white. This is “Pass/Fail.”

Statistically Speaking
[table id=22 /]

The Good
I’d imagine that wherever he is right now, Brad Stuart may finally not be walking with a limp anymore. Stuart prides himself on doing the dirty work for the Wings, blocking shots and sacrificing his body more regularly than any other defenseman out there. He was a regular staple on the penalty kill this season, and his defensive responsibility was a stabilizing force at many points this year. While it took some time for him to get acclimated, Stuart and Nicklas Lidstrom eventually found very solid chemistry with their defensive pairing. Despite a lack of offensive output, Stuart finished a very respectable +10 for the regular season and playoffs combined (-6 combined last season). Statistically, he finished with a better point-per-game production than he did last year, in which he played a full 82 games. In similar defensive roles, Stuart clearly out-shined counterpart Ruslan Salei with much smarter and more physical play.

The Bad
If it wasn’t apparent before, there’s no question now that Stuart just isn’t a guy who is going to put up points on a regular basis. That said, for the amount of money he’s being paid ($3.75 million cap hit) one would surely like to see Stuart earn some more of his cash by finding the back of the net. Stuart’s knack for defensive responsibility also cost him at certain points this season, leaving him out of position and looking lost on the ice. Unfortunately for him, his first instinct seemed to be to stand still when he felt the scheme breaking apart, which essentially negated his talents and left the Wings exposed in front of the net. While not his fault, Stuart did miss a number of games due to a broken jaw and it’s hard to imagine that he’s going to be able to play 82 games again with all of the wear and tear on his body.

Extra Credit
To his credit, Stuart didn’t let his broken jaw keep him down for too long, bouncing back and maintaining the edge in his game. There’s alot to be said for putting the body back on the line after an injury like that, but Stuart didn’t seem to miss a step, and his presence continued to be felt by the competition.

Grades
DischNo Vote
PetrellaPass
HollisPass

The Reasoning
Disch: *At Spin Class*
Petrella: I was always a little hesitant to put much stock in Brad Stuart’s skill set, wondering (to myself) if he was more a beneficiary of the system… or if he was one of the reasons the system was beneficial. After his jaw was broken, it became apparent that he was a valuable member of a very talented blueline. That’s saying something.
Hollis: I continue to hope for more scoring from Stuart, but this year more than ever his defensive chops were evident for the Wings. While he’s not the fastest or most skilled guy on the blue line, his physical play and omnipresent mean streak keep him in this lineup for a reason. He’s entering a contract year this year and one would hope that he’s primed for his best season yet.

Final TPL Grade
PASS

Up Next: Pavel Datsyuk

Past Reports:
6/4 :: Henrik Zetterberg (PASS)
5/27 :: Jakub Kindl (SPLIT)
5/26 :: Darren Helm (PASS)
5/24 :: Niklas Kronwall (PASS)
5/23 :: Valtteri Filppula (PASS)

Pro/No :: Drew Miller

It’s Monday, so you know what that means — it’s Winging it in Motown‘s turn to host the newest Pro/No profile. Fresh off the heels of a Patrick Eaves vote (wait til you see the results of THAT one), it’s time to take a look at the other free agent grinder that just completed a second season in Detroit: Drew Miller.

As a reminder, every Monday and Thursday, WIIM and TPL will feature another free agent-to-be, and present the voting form. When all of the free agents have been covered, we’ll each have a big post dissecting the results and sharing the breakdowns of yes’s…no’s…and unsure’s.

SO — WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, HEAD TO WINGING IT IN MOTOWN TO READ ALL ABOUT DREW MILLER SUBMIT YOUR VOTES!

Pass/Fail: Henrik Zetterberg

The traditional method of ranking individual player performance is usually some sort of “report card” or “A+” grading system. Not here. You see, we like to keep things simple at TPL. You either made the grade or you didn’t. No grey area. Black and white. This is “Pass/Fail.”

Statistically Speaking

[table id=21 /]

The Good
First, allow us to welcome you back to the “Pass/Fail” show. Things went on an unscheduled hiatus there for a bit, but we should be all back on track moving forward. And what better way to ease ourselves back into it than with the beloved #40, Henrik Zetterberg. The future captain bounced back from a self-described “sub-par” outing last season with gusto this campaign, leading all Red Wings during the regular season with 80 points. He was 5th in the league in total shots, yet somehow still found a way to tally a career-high 56 assists. His two-way game is still one of the best in the league, and he’s still an incredibly tough matchup for any player on the opposition that has to line up against him. He picked up the slack when other guys went down with injuries, and he kept up a point-per-game pace the entire way. Maybe most importantly, he found a way to stay healthy for almost an entire season, only missing a pair of games during the 82 game regular season schedule.

The Bad
Maybe it was the fact that he finally did make it almost an entire regular season without missing a game, but there were times where Zetterberg became inconsistent and almost complacent. Despite his two-way abilities, Hank looked like he struggled in his own zone a bit, occasionally flubbing coverage in an attempt to pressure the puck or provide help down low. His 80 games may have been a career high, but 24 goals seems a bit low for a player with as much natural ability and game savvy as Zetterberg. He also finished with a -1 rating during the regular season, and found himself in a nasty goal-scoring drought during the doldrums of January and February. One more thing: He’s still pretty damn awful in the shootout.

Extra Credit
After missing four games due to a knee sprain, Hank came back with a vengeance against San Jose. 8 points in 7 games ensured that his point-per-game performance during the regular season carried over into the playoffs, and his hard work and hustle kept the Wings in every game against the Sharks. His grit and determination showed quite a bit about his character, just another reason why Hank is both a gifted player and leader on this team.

Grades
DischPass (via proxy vote)
PetrellaPass
HollisPass

The Reasoning
Disch: *At Spin Class*
Petrella: He’s a point-a-game player, and played in 80 games for the first time in his career. If he can overcome the injury issues he’s had in the past and continue on the path he’s traveling on, he’s a hell of a guy to have locked up long-term.
Hollis: He seemed to be a little quieter than usual this season, yet his numbers say he was anything but. Where he may have lost some flash, he’s gained more consistency, and he continues to make the guys around him better.

Final TPL Grade
PASS

Up Next: Brad Stuart

Past Reports:
5/27 :: Jakub Kindl (SPLIT)
5/26 :: Darren Helm (PASS)
5/24 :: Niklas Kronwall (PASS)
5/23 :: Valtteri Filppula (PASS)

2011 NHL Draft Prospects — Part II

The runaway favorite for Best Name Nominee of the second ten: Mika Zibanejad

As we creep closer to June 24th’s NHL Draft in Minnesota, amateur scouts and management teams are working hard to piece together their lists of potential picks, and the Red Wings are no exception. A few weeks ago, we took a peek at the top ten draft eligible players — also known as “dudes who will never be Red Wings.” But, you can’t get to the guys on the Wings’ radar without getting through the top prospects.

Obviously, these lists are fluid and a lot of the guys on the lower half of Top Ten may well have helped their cases (namely Huberdeau) with strong post-season performances. Before we get busy with Part II, a look back at the first ten prospects profiled:

PART I RECAP
1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
2. Adam Larsson
3. Gabriel Landeskog
4. Sean Couturier
5. Ryan Strome
6. Ryan Murphy
7. Jonathan Huberdeau
8. Dougie Hamilton
9. Brandon Saad
10. Tyler Biggs

11. Mika Zibanejad, C, Djurgardens (SEL), 6-2, 192
“Modern power forward” who loves hitting the shit out of people…but also has “great hands and hockey sense.” Sounds too good to be true, no? Like Jonathan Huberdeau, his stock has skyrocketed in recent weeks/months, and some folks think he’s the most NHL-ready of all Draft-eligible players this year. I even read one opinion that said he may be the best forward to come out of Sweden since Henrik Zetterberg.

12. Joel Armia, RW, Porin Assat (FIN), 6-4, 187
Armia has slipped a bit — once considered a top ten pick because of his red hot start to the SM-Liiga season, he struggled on the big stage of the WJC. He’s obviously huge, and he reportedly has great hands, so if the right team drafts him and remains patient, they should have a good one in the cupboard.

13. Duncan Siemens, D, Saskatoon Blades (WHL), 6-3, 192
Siemens claims he models his game after Scott Stevens, and is quoted as saying that he “likes to catch guys with their heads down.” He doesn’t score terribly often, but he adds a ton of assists and quite a few penalty minutes (SHOCKER!). Thanks to a September, 1993 birthday (Jesus Christ, I’m old), he’s one of the youngest players eligible for the Draft, so teams will have a long time to groom him. 

14. Sven Baertschi, LW, Portland Winterhawks (WHL), 5-10, 185
The Swiss-born winger left Europe after being drafted in the CHL’s import draft. By all accounts, he’s adapted well to the North American game, finishing with 85 points in 66 games — the most of any WHL rookie and 15th most overall.

15. Nathan Beaulieu, D, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL), 6-3, 190
Another big guy, and another Saint John Sea Dog. He scores quite a bit from the blueline, but lacks “something” to set himself apart from other talented players at the next level. Sound defensively and a solid player, but projects as a middle pairing kind of guy in the big leagues.

16. Jamieson Oleksiak, D, Northeastern (Hockey East), 6-7, 244
SIX FOOT SEVEN! Billed as “the next Zdeno Chara,” and for good reason, homeboy is a monster. He just turned 18 in December, and played 33 games as a freshman this season. He wasn’t a big point-producer playing in the USHL, but delivered fine numbers for collegiate hockey, hinting that maybe he’ll be a later bloomer than some of his contemporaries.

17. Ty Rattie, RW, Portland Winterhawks (WHL), 6-0, 167
A name that’s been on the radar since he was only fifteen or so, Ty Rattie joins teammate Sven Baertschi in the likely-first-round group. Skilled and creative, he needed a year of Juniors under his belt before he realized that the “flashy Bantam moves” wouldn’t work up there and he adapted. Everyone seems to be in agreement: he shoots to score.

18. Daniel Catenacci, C, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL), 5-10, 180
Well here’s a nice Italian boy who was the top selection in 2009 OHL Priority Selection — ahead of other Draft-eligible players like Ryan Strome, Ryan Murphy, Matt Puempel, and Boone Jenner. He’s improved offensively in his two seasons in Juniors, and scouts are salivating over his speed. One has to wonder, though, if his drop below the Stromes and Murphys are symptomatic of a bigger issue… or if they just developed on a different curve.

19. Vladislav Namestnikov, C, London Knights (OHL), 6-0, 170
Like Alexander Burmistrov a year ago, we have a Russian player already in North America, potentially indicating he’d rather be noticed by NHL scouts than KHL personnel. Reliable finisher, good skater, and takes advantage of his skill set but the common criticism is that he needs to get stronger — probably like all other players in the OHL. Oh, also… his uncle is Slava Kozlov.

20. Mark McNeill, C, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL), 6-2, 210
Prototypical power forward: strong skater, tough to play against, two-way smarts, not afraid to drop the gloves. McNeill is another guy — like Huberdeau — who seems to be climbing the mock drafts in the last few weeks and with good reason: he seems to be coming into his own and carving out a niche for himself.

Pro/No :: Patrick Eaves

Welcome to another round of the joint TPL-WIIM series of pro/no profiles, giving you all the details you need to make an educated opinion about each of the upcoming free agents. At the bottom of the entry, you’ll find a voting form — please feel free to leave additional thoughts in the comments either here or at Winging it in Motown!

THE VITALS
Patrick Eaves, winger, #17
27-years-old (5/1/84)
6’0″ :: 192 lbs
6 NHL seasons (2 with Detroit)
From Calgary

STATISTICS
Regular Season — 63 games, 13 goals, 7 assists, 14 penalty minutes, -2, just under 13 minutes a game.
Playoffs — 11 games, 3 goals, 1 assist, 6 penalty minutes, +1, 11 minutes a game.

CONTRACT SITUATION
After being traded from the Carolina to Boston, the Bruins waived Eaves with the intention of buying out the remaining years on his contract. This made him an unrestricted free agent, and the Red Wings snapped him up for the league minimum on August 4, 2009. He was re-signed last summer, after a strong first season in Detroit, and earned a modest raise to $750,000 for another one-year contract.

As of July 1st, he will be an unrestricted free agent.

DEPTH SITAUTION
Eaves was part of an early-season rotation of bottom six forwards who found themselves spending some time in the press box. In November, with Kris Draper on IR, Eaves and Drew Miller were flipped for one another for ten straight games (until Mike Modano’s injury).

With Modano out for several months, Eaves was able to get into the lineup for every game; and when Kris Draper was healthy enough to return to the roster — it was Eaves who found himself out of the rotation. Draper, Miller, and Hudler formed the new healthy scratch rotation, seemingly solidifying Eaves’ place on the game sheet.

There was a three-game absence with an elbow infection, and a ten game absence following a collision with Torrey Mitchell, but Patrick Eaves was not a healthy scratch after December 4th…until the final game of the regular season, when he sat out against Chicago. In the six games leading up to the finale, Draper and Miller had swapped out for another.

In the post-season, 8 forwards played in all 11 games. Patrick Eaves was one of them.

CASE FOR EAVES
1) Slowly but surely, he’s solidified his spot in the active lineup, and has proven effective as a third or fourth line energy player.
2) He’s capable of scoring big goals — he’s a one-time 20-goal scorer in this League, and added 13 this season in what was very much a complimentary role.
3) In the past two seasons, he’s come very cheap — possibly due to the fact that the Bruins are still paying him more than a quarter-million dollars NOT to play for them.

CASE AGAINST EAVES
1) It’s certainly possible he knows that his value has increased in his two seasons with Detroit and may seek out a bigger pay day (or a bigger role) on another team this off-season.
2) At the same time, it’s possible that he’s replaceable on the open market or from within.
3) With the Red Wings looking for some things to change after two lackluster second round exits, it’s roster spots like Eaves’ that may be commandeered by a more proficient scorer.

WHAT HE’S SAYING
During locker room cleanout, Patrick Eaves sounded nothing if not confident that he’ll return to Detroit. He knows that he’ll be looking for another contract and said that “I’m sure it’ll get done” when asked if he was nervous about proceedings. Sounds to me like he’s a guy that knows he wants to be in Detroit, and won’t necessarily bicker about the terms if it means he can continue being a Red Wing.

SALARY RANGE
Even with $253k supplementing his Red Wings paycheck, Eaves is probably due a raise from his $750k salary from a year ago. His contributions to the team do exceed that number, and with the rising cap, the Wings should be able to do a cool million for the grinder. It’s just a matter of whether or not they feel they have to.

POTENTIAL REPLACEMENTS
Internal :: Jan Mursak and Cory Emmerton may be able to make the jump, Tomas Tatar may still be a year or two away.
External :: Upcoming free agents in a similar income bracket with a similar skill set and of a similar age include Boyd Gordon, Marek Svatos, Tanner Glass, Sean Bergenheim, Tim Brent, and Tomas Kopecky (just kidding…sorta).

WHAT DO YOU THINK
Thank you for your votes! They are now being tabulated and we’ll have a recap post later in the summer with all of the results!

Photo Credit: Dave Guralnick, Detroit News

Nickname Contest Winner!

Congratulations to our friend Partha, who has won the first TPL Nickname Contest. His winning submission came on February 13th, when the Wings faced off against the Bruins and the selected theme was The Godfather. After several rounds of voting on the TPL Facebook page, the following submission has emerged victorious:

Mike “If I Wanted To Kill You, You’d Be Dead Already” Babcock

Ah, Sollozzo. Such a cock. Anyway, congratulations, Partha — we’ll be in touch immediately to find out which design, and what size, you’d like!