(Note: I’m pushing back the Future Red Wings still playing Part 2. Too much postmortem to attend to.)
As the sting of Game 7 begins to wear off, I’m bringing those feelings back so you can feel the sting a little longer. It’s necessary. We need to figure out what went wrong.
As you may know (I hope you do), I’ve created the Responsibility Number, which takes each goal the Red Wings score or allow and then divides the one goal between the players responsible for making it happen.
The metric isn’t perfect. Defenseman are at a disadvantage. By the nature of their position, they won’t be responsible for as many goals as the forwards. Also, not every forward’s job is to score goals. Some, like Joakim Andersson, earn ice time for their defensive ability, or are used primarily as penalty killers. For those reasons we can’t just take the highest scoring and lowest scoring players at face value.
The differences, however, will manifest itself much more at the lower end than the higher end. With us examining who is not responsible for the Red Wings’ playoff elimination today, the top is a good place to start.
Your top five Red Wings by responsibility number:
1. Henrik Zetterberg, +3.66 goals (+4.57, -0.91). The best player the Red Wings had. With the winning team in the Red Wings’ two series averaging 3.43 goals per game, Zetterberg is the only skater you could say is responsible for winning one game by himself.
2. Johan Franzen, +2.16 goals (+2.41, -0.25). He was great in the Anaheim series, but disappeared against Chicago (+0.25 goals in seven games). His main job is to score goals. Bingeing on them in one series isn’t doing his job. He doesn’t deserve to be this high and should take a small portion of the blame.
3. Justin Abdelkader, +2.00 goals (+2.66, -0.66). Outside of one stupid penalty in Anaheim, Abdelkader pretty much did his job. He scored a goal every now and then, played physical, and didn’t allow too many goals.
4. Pavel Datysuk, +1.74 (+3.07, -1.33). He accounted for the third-most scored goals on the team but maybe wasn’t as good defensively as he has been in the past. Yet, as a center, he’s going to wrack up some negative points, and he was playing with worse defenseman.
5. Gustav Nyquist, +1.61 (+2.39, -0.78). Nyquist may not have been lived up to the super-skilled reputation he had in Grand Rapids, but he chiseled in a role for himself with the Red Wings. He was the team’s best player against Chicago with a +1.21 rating.
Also not responsible for the Red Wings elimination:
Jimmy Howard (obviously). He gave up three goals that he should have saved. He stopped many that should’ve been sure goals. Corey Crawford gave up nearly as many bad goals in the last series alone and the Blackhawks still won.
Dan Cleary, +1.47 goals (6th on team) (+3.22, -1.75). Aside from getting lazy on the backcheck on Brent Seabrooks series-ending goal (a big “aside, I know), Cleary secretly had a stellar playoffs. His 3.22 goals scored were the second most on the team. Many of those points came with Cleary filling the Tomas Holmstrom role in front of the net. I’m not sure if the Red Wings will keep him around — he’s an unrestricted free agent — but he at least played himself into a discussion.
Jakub Kindl, +0.09 (9th on team) (+0.95, -0.86). The number doesn’t look great until you compare him to the other defensemen:
- Danny DeKeyser: 0.00
- Jonathan Ericsson: -0.91
- Carlo Cloaiacovo: -1.00
- Brian Lashoff: -1.63
- Kyle Quincey: -1.88
- Niklas Kronwall: -2.19
- Brendan Smith: -3.55
Kindl was a full point better than the the next defenseman who saw significant playing time, making him the Red Wings’ best on the blue line by quite a margin.
Damien Brunner, +0.94 (7th on team) (+2.14, -1.2). His playoffs played out much like his regular season: stretches of goals and stretches where he disappeared. But he put up the second-highest number (+0.96) on the team in the Chicago series, so it’s tough to blame him for anything.