Grade ‘Em: Andreas Lilja

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Well…Andreas Lilja has had a tumultuous a few years.  In 2007, he had Ericsson-like turnover numbers and pretty much handed the Western Conference Finals over to the Ducks.  Thus, in 2007-2008 he was probably over-criticized by the Red Wings faithful despite improved play.  His physical presence and effectiveness on the PK began to start winning people over during the 2008-2009 season.  But  in early 2009, as many remember, he took a blow to the head from Nashville’s Shea Weber which put him on the shelf for almost an entire year.

After months upon months upon months of concussion-related headaches, Lilja was cleared by doctors to resume play.  It was this return that forced Kenny Holland to move Ville Leino to Philadelphia.  In retrospect, sending Leino to Grand Rapids may have been the smarter business move…however Holland promised Leino that he wouldn’t do so.  But I digress…

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What I expected…0 G 0 A 0 Pts (0 Games Played)

What we got… 1 G 1 A 2 Pts (20 Games Played)

Obviously, at a $1,250,000 Cap hit, we’d expect a little more than two points in a season.  But Lilja becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent on July 1st, and will be interesting to see both what Andreas Lilja is expecting in terms of salary, and also if there’s any teams that might interested in a decent stay-at-home defenseman (Tampa Bay perhaps?)

My final grade (if one is applicable)….B

Lilja did help fix the PK and was probably a bigger part of Detroit’s run to the play-offs during those 20 games than perhaps people realize.  He was basically Jonny Ericsson’s babysitter out on the ice.  We actually got more than we expected in terms of play on the ice…since many of us never thought we’d see him on the ice again.  I don’t think a raise is in order, but if Lilja is willing to stay in his diminished role on Detroit, I don’t have any problem with re-signing him for another year or two.

And what do you guys think?

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