This discussion of our 3rd and 4th lines will be a bit tricky. Reason is there are guys that play in the top 6 that I don’t think should be there and there’s one guy, we’ll call him G. Nyquist, who I think should be getting more minutes. But, I’m not the coach.
We have a lot of guys to discuss, so we’d better get to it.
Full bottom 6 preview after the jump:
Jan Mursak: I wouldn’t mind seeing Mursak traded or waived if someone on the team has to be traded or waived. I thought his Slovenian fan club was kind of cool, but at the end of the day, what did he do? Is he a depth scorer? No, he doesn’t score. Is he a checker? 21 hits in 25 games. He’s only 24, so that’s a plus, but with so many forwards on this team, barring injury, I don’t see any room for him. He has managed to produce points in the AHL, so maybe he just needs more time. The question will be whether or not he gets that time.
Justin Abdelkader: *Bad high-sticking joke* Back when Detroit was setting the record for consecutive home wins, Abdelkader was fighting someone on a regular basis. He didn’t win a lot, but never really got whooped either. Still, he finished his checks, chirped and backed it up by dropping the gloves. Back in the 2010 playoffs when Doan and the Coyotes were hitting us into oblivion, Babcock put Abby into the lineup and the tide turned. If you watched him play then and even now, he doesn’t pass up the chance to hit a guy. Ever. He never turns away after the puck is passed. Look for him to center the 4th line.
Jordin Tootoo: Next to Abby you will find Tootoo. I’m really looking forward to this combination. Tootoo is like Abdelkader, but meaner and way more irritating. All I ask is that no one brings a whistle to the Joe.
Someone will bring a whistle to the Joe.
Cory Emmerton: He's good with people.
Darren Helm: 3rd line center. We all know what he can do. The only change I expect from Helm this year is, hopefully, an ‘A’ on his sweater at some point. The Wings tend to have a captain and 3 guys that share alternate captain duties. Helm needs to be one of those guys.
Drew Miller: Miller rarely screws up and when he does, he makes up for it later. A lot of times I see people on Twitter say, “We can’t lose so-and-so, he’s one of our best penalty killers!” Ok, but our PK sucks. I don’t think that’s on any one guy, though. Miller led all forwards with 66 blocks, which means he’s where he’s supposed to be on the PK. I suspect he’ll spend most of his time on the 4th line with Abby and Tootoo.
Gustav Nyquist: With the log jam of bottom 6 forwards on this team, Nyquist will likely stay in Grand Rapids. Personally, I see him as a top 6 forward right now, but the coaching staff felt differently last season. He spent time on the top line with Datsyuk and had 8 points in 8 games, but as guys came back, he got pushed down to the 4th line. He also had no time on the power play. Were they afraid this rookie would make our terrible power play even worse? Apparently.
Mikael Samuelsson: As some have suggested when we previewed our blueline, Sammy will probably man the point on our second power play unit. Hey, if he can do the job, great, but if he starts to suck, one of our actual defensemen has to take over.
Patrick Eaves: Eaves is skating and is practicing with the team, but has not been cleared to play. I hope he can comeback at some point because he was a really good penalty killer. That and he has offensive potential, is right handed and never takes a shift off. Reminds me of Maltby, minus all the agitation.
Bert/Cleary: One of these guys will probably be on the 3rd line at some point. Both are capable of playing in front of the net on the power play, but neither are particularly great scorers anymore.
If Nyquist is sent down and Eaves is still injured, then the Red Wings still have 14 forwards. With all of the injuries this team’s blueline sustained last year, I hate the idea of having only one extra defenseman and two extra forwards. Could Holland be looking to move one of these extra forwards in exchange for another defenseman? We’ll see.
I like our bottom 6. I think the 4th line will be meaner than it has been in years and the third line could have a good combination of speed, grit and scoring if they can develop some chemistry.