Grade ‘Em: Pavel Datsyuk

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This season was pretty rough for little Pavel.  Sure he had one of the goals of the year against Nashville, but he also had his lowest regular season output since 2003-2004.  Datsyuk, whom we’ve known as a “more than a point a game player” for four consecutive season, didn’t hit that mark this year…though he still tied for the team lead in points with Henrik Zetterberg (who played in six less games).

What I expected: 30 G 70 A 100 Pts

What we got: 27 G 43 A 70 Pts

Pavel’s goal tally didn’t dip by much, only 5 in fact.  But his assists were way down.  Some might say that it’s because he didn’t have Hossa this year as opposed to last.  But I would counter that by saying Pavel had even more assists the year before when Hossa was still with Atlanta/Pittsburgh.  I can only assume that his helper tallies would have been better had Johan Franzen stayed healthy all season.

Injuries aside, this year had to be a dissapointment for Pavel.  70 points isn’t anything to sneeze at in this league, but after two straight 97 point seasons, it’s no wonder Detroit had problems until after the Olympic Break when things started clicking.  Pavel was separated from Hank, and never really seemed to click with Big Bert.  Therefore, he was mired in a production limbo for a good part of the season.  And by limbo, I mean around 0.875 points per game.

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He did seem to turn it around once the Mule came back for the drive to the post-season.  He also had 13 points in the 12 games played in the play-offs this year including a magical deke (which is typical for him) that helped us power past the Phoenix Coyotes in Round 1.  However, we expect Pavel to make the players around him better.  He’s too talented a guy to be churning out 70 point seasons.  This whole year was an anomaly and there is no doubt in my mind that Pasha will be back to around 100 points next season.

Final Grade: C

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