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Examining Zetterberg’s Struggles

The Wings are a team that relies on balance.  The fact that they can expect solid scoring from 3 lines is a huge reason that they’ve been in the playoffs for longer than some college graduates have been alive. (THINK ABOUT THAT!)

Yet balanced scoring alone doesn’t create the dominance that Detroit is known for.  You need to have star players to go along with that balance, otherwise you end up a mid level team like Buffalo.  For every 50 point guy in Filppula, there has to be a Datsyuk as well.   A Zetterberg to go along with the Clearys.  Yet so far this year, Detroit hasn’t had that top line dominance it’s used to having.

Datsyuk has been solid, if unspectacular.  I have that sense that it’s just not bouncing for him yet.  But it will.  Zetterberg, however, has been non-existent.  He has one goal and one assist and is a minus one in seven games.   Homer, a fourth liner who has sat a number of games this season, has more points.  Zetterberg has done the opposite of stand out, he’s blended in. 

But the good thing is that he’s still getting shots.  He leads Detroit with 31 shots, 9 more than any other player.  Sure they aren’t going in, but they will.  His shooting percentage is abhorrently low this season, but that won’t last.

Year G SOG Pct
2002-03 22 135 0.163
2003-04 15 137 0.109
2005-06 39 270 0.144
2006-07 33 224 0.147
2007-08 43 358 0.12
2008-09 31 309 0.1
2009-10 23 309 0.074
2010-11 24 306 0.078
2011-12 1 31 0.032
Career 231 2079 0.111

His career average is 11%, which is actually pretty good.  The last two seasons, it’s dropped down to 7-8%, which has correlated with his goal scoring drop from around 35-40 to mid 20’s the past two season.

This season he only has a 3 percent shooting average.  Even Mikael Samuelsson’s career worst was 4.4% with Detroit in 07-08.  And that’s with Sammy shooting the puck from every angle, any time he had a chance, with that terrible shot of his.

Zetterberg’s a better player, with a better shot.  This won’t last.  Sometimes the puck just doesn’t go in for you; that’s what Z has to fight through.  Once he remembers how to score, it’ll become easy for him and the goals will come.

So while Z’s struggling out there, the fact he’s leading in shots makes me not worry about him.  The goals will come.

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