Let's face it, it seems like Johan Franzen has been a lost cause for quite sometime.
In his first year as a Detroit Red Wings player, the 2005-2006 season brought
him to the 3rd line where he collected 80 games (incredible for him since, you
know, ACL problems all the damn time) and 16 points; the exact same season
where Steve Yzerman knighted him as "The Mule." Oh, boy. What he will
forever be remembered for is his spectacular performances in the 2008 and 2009
playoffs where he put up 41 points for 25 goals and 16 assists in 39 games,
which also includes two hat-tricks in back-to-back games against the Colorado
After doing such amazing things like that though, what happened next?
Sure, in the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 regular seasons, he led all Detroit
players in goals, but he was inconsistent for many parts of both seasons,
basically scoring in spurts. It really seems like he has lost that edge that he
once had to be so dominant around the net unless teams around the NHL have done
enough research that they know what he's capable of; therefore, he's carefully
marked. Whatever the case might be, he just cannot find the back of the net
like he once did. Obviously, the same can go for Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik
Zetterberg, not being able to put the numbers they did during the Wings
Cup-winning year in 2008 and the year after that with the presence of Marian
Mike Babcock tends to juggle Franzen a lot throughout the top-six forwards
whether he's centered with Datsyuk, Zetterberg or Filppula. There was even a
time last year with the Wings where he was thrown on the third line due to so
much inconsistency. In saying that, Franzen is still a legitimate power
forward, who's capable of finding the back of the net during key moments of the
game. Sure, he hasn't really done that recently and he struggles to find a
regular scoring pace, but there's still much value to be found in him.
Does this mean Johan Franzen could be used as trading bait since there's always
teams in the market for big power forwards and players that are willing to go
to the net? Of course. Are the Red Wings willing to take advantage of that? If
the price is right, there's definitely a possibility. Even with that being
considered, Franzen still carries a big contract with him. Though his salary
cap-hit per year is not too over-the-edge, he has a contract that expires in
the 2019-2020 season. That might not be appealing to many NHL teams. To add on
to that, Detroit could be skeptical over trading him since they're the ones who
handed him that big contract.
In the end, none of this might even be put into question by Detroit management.
Johan Franzen could find his game this season and deliver. The Red Wings have
only been through three games so far this season. It's really too early to tell
in any case. Whatever might happen for Franzen this year and in the future,
let's hope it just works out the best for the Wings.
Him too, of course. Don't particularly want a 6'3, 220 pound player coming
after me because I'm thinking of my favourite team before him. Sorry, Mule.