MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Henrik Zetterberg was coming off two subpar seasons, by his standards. But he bounced back strong and led the team with 80 points. He was much stronger on the puck than he has been in recent years. He also was strong defensively, the player they relied on to match up against top centers such as Joe Thornton, Ryan Getzlaf and Jonathan Toews. After missing the first round of the playoffs with a sprained knee, Zetterberg again elevated his play in the postseason with a strong series against the Sharks.
MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYER
Jiri Hudler experienced a forgettable season after returning from a one-year stint in Russia. He got off to a disastrous start and lost confidence. He started to heat up when he was placed on a line with Pavel Datsyuk, but he should have been better on other lines, too. He played too much on the perimeter, wasn’t strong on the puck and didn’t shoot enough. He finished with 10 goals and 37 points, far below expectations. His future with the club is uncertain.
They need to upgrade their defense, even if Nicklas Lidstrom returns. They could use a top-four, stay-at-home defenseman who has the ability to shut down opponents’ top offensive players, preferably someone with size and a physical edge. They also need to shore up their backup goaltending position — someone whom they can rely on to play 20 games and spell starter Jimmy Howard.
FREE AGENT FOCUS
The Wings are hoping to re-sign most of their free agents. Lidstrom is expected to return for his 20th season. The club also will try to retain grinding forwards Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller, though both might get better offers on the market. Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson has turned down an offer of $2 million per season, according to Booth Newspapers, but the club still is hoping to work out a deal. Longtime Wings Kris Draper and Chris Osgood could be headed for retirement.
–LW Kris Draper participated in informal workouts with several Detroit Lions players on June 8 and even caught a pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford. Draper, 40, wants to play next season and expects to hear from general manager Ken Holland prior to July 1. The club is contemplating whether to offer him a contract.
–D Nicklas Lidstrom is a finalist for the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award as a superior leader and contributing member of society. It honors an individual who leads by positive example through on-ice performance, motivation of team members and a dedication to community activities and charitable causes. Messier will select the winner, which will be announced June 22 at the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas.
–RW Andrej Nestrasil signed a three-year entry-level contract. He was the Wings’ third-round pick in the 2009 entry draft (75th overall). Nestrasil, 20, had 19 goals and 51 assists in 58 games for Prince Edward Island (QMJHL). He is a good-sized right wing (6-2, 200) who protects the puck well along the boards. A native of the Czech Republic, he is more of a playmaker than a scorer.
–D Adam Almqvist signed a three-year entry-level contract. The Swedish native (5-11, 174) was taken with the 210th overall pick in the 2009 draft. The 20-year-old has spent the past two seasons with HV71 in the Swedish Elite League, where he had two goals, 22 assists and a plus-31 rating in 80 games.
–RW Danny Cleary suffered a concussion in Game 7 against San Jose after his head hit the ice following a collision with teammate Jiri Hudler. Cleary was feeling better two days later and said he would have been ready to play at some point during the next round had the team advanced.
–RW Todd Bertuzzi suffered a concussion in Game 7 against San Jose after making helmet-to-helmet contact with Dany Heatley. It is not a long-term injury, however, and coach Mike Babcock said Bertuzzi will be ready for the start of next season.
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