Luke Glendening’s skills on the faceoff became a running joke this season, as the Red Wing’s broadcast team clung on to the feat during the worst stretches of the season. Let’s go beyond the faceoffs and look at Glendening’s season as a whole.
Games Played: 54
4th line veteran winger/center
2021 Season in a Nutshell
For most of the season, Luke Glendening was known around the league for one specific skill: faceoff wins. This was especially true before the trade deadline. Glendening drew a surprising amount of interest around the league for his ability to consistently win faceoffs – he led the league in win percentage for a good chunk of the year (He was dethroned by Patrice Bergeron near the end of the year). A decent shutdown grinder with a very specific skill was enticing for teams looking to complete a playoff ready roster.
Glendening was typically deployed to either win a faceoff or shut down an opposing line. He succeeded at both quite often. His plus-minus finished at three, tied for best on the team. While the stat is not the best for discerning the talent of a player, it certainly comes into play for a guy deployed specifically to keep the game close. Glendening also scored at an okay rate, with six goals and nine assists on the year. He certainly wasn’t a game changer in terms of offensive output, but 15 points is a reasonable ask of a veteran forward without many offensive skills.
They Said It
“He’s a great culture guy because of where his work ethic is at. We talk all the time about outworking, out-competing the other team. He embodies that. And then he’s an effective player on the ice, certainly with his face-offs but his defensive play and his ability to win battles, also grinding teams in the O-zone.”
-Jeff Blashill, via MLive
As an aging forward on a rebuilding team, Glendening was never going to get the credit he deserved this season. As fans clamored for the future to arrive in Detroit, Glendening put his head down, and did what was asked of him. Although not as quick or skilled as he once was, Glendening brought that signature Detroit grit to the lineup nearly every game, quieting opposing lines and winning important faceoffs. He also managed to score a bit, too. Glendening was never in the Dylan Larkin/Jakub Vrana category of skilled players, but he did what he was asked to do and was perhaps the best veteran on the roster.