The Detroit Red Wings need to make the call on Justin Abdelkader

Embed from Getty Images In 2014-15 Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader scored 23 goals and had 44 points. His abrasive, physical play earned him the respect of his teammates and admiration of the Detroit Red Wings coach’s and front office. It rubbed opposing teams the wrong way. Those were the good old days.

In the 2015-16 season, Justin Abdelkader once again posted solid numbers recording 19 goals and notching 42 points for the  Red Wings. These were the best offensive seasons of his career it also came with Pavel Datsyuk playing the majority of the time as his center.

The only issue (which at the time was not a big issue) was Justin had signed a seven year, $29.75 million dollar contract extension. Now it has become an albatross  of a  problem. This past season Abdelkader had gone 23 games without a goal and 12 games without a point.

Justin Abdelkader is a good penalty killer and grinding winger with one small problem. The Red Wings are paying out a lot of money for a guy who does not have the offensive ability he showed early in his career. Given his age, contract and declining numbers Justin Abdelkader is basically impossible to trade.

That leads us to waivers. Steve Yzerman and his  Detroit Red Wings are serious about rebuilding the team this is a fact. Then a clear message  needs to be sent  and place Justin Abdelkader on waivers if he starts next season the same way he played this past year.

Every NHL team and all hockey teams need an Abdelkader type player on the fourth line. But absolutely not at $4.25 million per season,  for a player who scores 6 goals and has multiple extended scoreless slumps during the season.

Detroit Red Wings, general manager Steve Yzerman was right to not buy Abdelkader’s contract out. That would have tightened the Wings salary cap. Waivers would send a strong message. Justin Abdelkader would clear waivers and be sent to Grand Rapids with only a $1.19 million cap hit. Opening a roster spot for one of Detroit’s top prospects like Filip Zadina.

Tyler Bertuzzi has taken Abdelkader’s spot as a tough, hard hitting, abrasive forward who is very capable of putting up solid offensive numbers.

It is time to move on from Justin Abdelkader.

Detroit Red Wings: The importance of Tyler Bertuzzi

Embed from Getty Images As the Detroit Red Wings continue to sort out players who will be on the roster when the rebuild reaches it’s end, one player that is sure to be there is Tyler Bertuzzi. Last season Bertuzzi (or Bert as he is known to teammates, coach’s and fans) became the first Detroit Red Wing player ever to record four consecutive three-point games.

Tyler Bertuzzi isn’t flashy. He is not the fastest, or strongest, or quickest or flashiest player on the ice. That is perfectly fine with the Detroit Red Wings organization. What Bertuzzi is, is a hockey player, who does the hard work and gets results.

2018-19 stats: 73 games, 21 goals, 26 assists, 47 points, plus-11 rating, 36 penalty minutes, put Bertuzzi on the map. It gets better for the young forward, named NHL’s second star of week on April 1 after tallying 10 points three goals, seven assists in four games. Career highs in goals, assists and points. … First career hat trick Jan. 12 at Minnesota in 100th career game.  Six power-play points three goals, three assists.  Tied for team lead with four game-winning goals. Tyler Bertuzzi led the  team in plus-minus rating plus-11 at home, even on road. Bertuzzi also led the team in shooting percentage 16.0%. Showing some defensive skill Tyler was third on team in takeaways 34.  winning 33%  of faceoffs 10-of-30. Showing he is not afraid to get under opposing teams skin, Bertuzzi was suspended two games Dec. 4-6 for punching Colorado’s Matt Calvert from bench. Tyler missed seven games Feb. 1-14 due to a concussion.

Those are working mans numbers. Make no mistake it was Bertuzzi’s ability to play the same type of hard working game every night that made Bertuzzi’s season so successful. Tyler Bertuzzi’s first full NHL season was a huge success. Bertuzzi, showed he can be an offensive threat in addition to providing grit, physicality and abrasiveness. He has a knack for being around the puck and he goes to the hard areas with reckless abandon , in the corners and in front of the net, making him an ideal complement on the top line with Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha.

Tyler Bertuzzi has flashed his worth and is they type of player the Detroit Red Wings need going forward.