WDIV’s Dave Bartkowiak lists five Red Wings who need to dramatically improve this season in order for Detroit to return to the playoffs. Justin Abdelkader, Danny DeKeyser, Dylan Larkin, Gustav Nyquist, and Riley Sheahan are the players he points to as needing to raise their games in 2017-18. Of the four forwards, Bartkowiak is insistent that the defensive aspect of Larkin and Sheahan’s game must improve. He adds that Sheahan shouldn’t have ice time “dished out” to him with such a poor shooting percentage and his inability to find the net. Such a fact was a consistent gripe all season, as Sheahan continued to log minutes on the power play despite not scoring a single goal until the final game of the season. Abdelkader, who Bartkowiak calls a leader on the team, believes Abdelkader is a 20-goal scorer if healthy. A look at the trend of Abdelkader’s stats, however, point to a player who benefitted from having Pavel Datsyuk on his line in 2014-15. A glance at his entire career where he played 40 or more games, Abdelkader produced more than 30 points only twice. Out of those eight seasons, he recorded just one twenty-goal season, though he had 19 in 2015-16. Regardless, asking for another 20-goal season may be a bit much based on past performance.
- Mike Green was recently profiled by NHL.com’s Dana Wakaji who writes that the defenseman has been the offensive presence on the blue line that Detroit envisioned when they signed him two offseasons ago. The 32-year-old probably won’t hit the 70+ point campaigns he’s had in the past, but Wakaji adds that he’s a valuable offensive asset for a team starving for goals from its defensive pairings. Heading into the final year of his contract, Green could also be a prime trade chip should the Red Wings not be in the playoff hunt for a second consecutive season.