Red Wings: Three disappointing performances halfway through the season

Octopus Thrower

Halfway through the season, the Detroit Red Wings have been anything but disappointing. While they aren’t quite out of the rebuild yet, the organization has two true contenders for the Calder Trophy and is technically still in the race for the playoffs (although the postseason seems a bit unrealistic as it stands).

However, there have been a few members of the roster that have not lived up to expectations thus far. Let’s look at three players that have been a bit disappointing at the halfway point.

Adam Erne

Last season, Adam Erne was one of the biggest surprises in terms off offensive output. He was tied for the most goals on the roster and was fourth in points scored. Erne was the most productive bottom-six player in Detroit, showing flashes of offensive excellence at random.

Things seem to have a regressed a bit for Erne in 2021-22. He’s by no means a drag on the team, he’s just not at the level he was last year. Vladislav Namestnikov, Michael Rasmussen and Sam Gagner all have more points among the bottom-six. Erne has four goals and six points in 41 games this season.

Erne is more a symptom of a problem in Detroit. The Red Wings depth scoring has been lacking all season, and the blame should not be placed on any one player. With a brutal schedule coming up, the Red Wings need players like Erne to step up if they want to keep postseason hopes alive.

Nick Leddy

When Nick Leddy was acquired in the off-season, it seemed clear what his role with the team would be: act as Moritz Seider’s mentor and help the young defenseman translate his skills to the NHL. Shortly after the season began, it was clear that the German defender would fair fine without a guiding hand, and the duo was split up.

In the absence of the mentorship role, Leddy has been just okay for the Wings. He has a goal and 10 assists in 40 games. Leddy’s goals above replacement is an abysmal -7.1 and his wins above replacement is -1.3. The expected GAR and WAR are much kinder (-2.3 and -0.4), but still not pretty. Inconsistency is the best way to describe his play this year; one night he’ll look effective cycling the puck around the offensive zone and playing tight defense, the next he’ll just sort of disappear. L

However, all is forgiven if the veteran defenseman is moved for more capital at the deadline. Teams will be looking for a leader with experience that can bolster depth, and Leddy checks all of those boxes.

Filip Zadina

Filip Zadina is the clear-cut choice for the biggest disappointment this season. He has just four goals and seven assists in 40 games. Many projected Zadina to finally break out this year, and the opposite seems to be playing out.

Things have gone from bad to worse of late, as his minutes are being slashed by the coaching staff (he’s played as little as eight minutes in the past few weeks). Jeff Blashill has tried a few different tactics to spur Zadina on, from a healthy scratch to a role in the bottom-six, but nothing seems to be working.

There’s still time for the young forward to turn things around. But for now, it’s time for fans to get a bit concerned.

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