The traditional method of ranking individual player performance is usually some sort of “report card” or “A+” grading system. Not here. You see, we like to keep things simple at TPL. You either made the grade or you didn’t. No grey area. Black and white. This is “Pass/Fail.”
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We’ll get to the nitty gritty in a minute, but the fact is that his return from the KHL provided the Wings to be a deeper team in the offensive ranks, and — whether you agree or not — he’s a proven NHL-calibre player, able to spark an offensive situation or two. Despite not being an everyday player when everyone was healthy, Hudler was sixth on the team in assists (27 – two fewer than Todd Bertuzzi), and eighth in shooting percentage among players that took 100 shots (9.5%). Unlike the aforementioned Bertuzzi, Hudler rarely played with the top six or with elite talent, but when he did get the opportunity to play alongside Pavel Datsyuk in February, he exploded for four goals and a bevy of assists. But, wait, I thought he was useless?
Well, he kind of was. Outside of that little microcosm, he had an extremely disappointing season. Can any of that be blamed on with whom he was playing and how many minutes he logged? Maybe — but that’s on him to force Coach Babcock’s hand to give himself a better opportunity. He didn’t really take the bull by the horns, and that’s especially problematic because of the expectations Red Wings fans had for him after he burned a hole in the KHL stat sheet. He wasn’t a reliable player, hold for a few weeks in the middle of the season, and he never took it upon himself to be a star. Perhaps the biggest statistical clue of how weak a season we experienced from Scuttles is his -7, tied for the worst on the team (cough, with Todd Bertuzzi, cough). Once we were in the playoffs, he maintained his place in the lineup, despite being one of the lesser offense-producers (only Abdelkader, Miller, and Draper had fewer points-per-game).
It’s difficult to categorize Jiri Hudler’s season because on one hand, our own expectations may be to blame — however, he proved, in 2008-09, that he was capable of chipping in 57 points and doing it without playing with the premiere talent. When looked at under a season-to-season comparative microscope, he was an absolute fail — despite some glimmers of goodness mentioned above. Expectations + paycheck x failed opportunities = inadequacy.
Disch: Abstinence is the only truly safe way to go…
Disch: We were completely underwhelmed all season with him…remember the discussion on 60? This is a money thing. If Gator puts up shitty numbers, I don’t care…plus Gator plays monster defense and can wear down blueliners on the forecheck. Scuttles got paid “arizona dollars” (Jerry Maguire, whatsup) and put up jack shit.
Petrella: The drop off was startling, and while I don’t think he should be anywhere near the top six, his production improving in that situation proves how much playing with good players can skew your numbers.
Hollis: For a guy making as much as he is, more is expected on the scoresheet. He was largely invisible until he got on a line with Datsyuk, but for all the money he is being paid, his output was sorry at best.
Final TPL Grade
Up Next: Justin Abdelkader
6/8 :: Todd Bertuzzi (PASS)
6/7 :: Brian Rafalski (PASS)
6/7 :: Pavel Datsyuk (PASS)
6/6 :: Brad Stuart (PASS)
6/4 :: Henrik Zetterberg (PASS)
5/27 :: Jakub Kindl (SPLIT)
5/26 :: Darren Helm (PASS)
5/24 :: Niklas Kronwall (PASS)
5/23 :: Valtteri Filppula (PASS)
Photo Credit: Christian Peterson, Getty Images