The Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James brought up an interesting question about whether Justin Abdelkader could be the next Tomas Holmstrom and took a look at Abdelkder’s past season along with what he could do in the future. What she did not look at where any similarities or differences between the two players and that is what we will be going over here.
There are a lot of similarities between the two players; both of them like to take the body, neither are afraid of heading into the corner, and both are willing to do whatever it took to help the team.
Before Jordin Tootoo was brought in, Abdelkader was Detroit’s enforcer and fighter. He did not do a great job in the role, but he never backed down. Holmstrom was never a fighter, but he did not receive the nickname the Demolition Man for nothing.
Both are willing to do anything to help the team win as well. In Holmstrom’s last season, he was willing to be relegated to the 4th line in order to help the team and Abdelkader is consistently bounced around the roster, ending up as a 1st liner at the end of the season.
With the similarities comes differences though and there are more than a few of them between these two players.
Abdelkader is more of a grinding player who lucked into a 1st line role after Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson went do with injury. Holmstrom was more than just a grinding forward, Homer could score and was the best at what he did in the NHL.
Homlstrom had four seasons with over 20 goals and one season in which he scored 30 goals, in he 15 year career Homer has only had less that 10 goals in three seasons; while Abdelkader set a career high of 10 goals this season and it took him until the second to last game of the season to accomplish the feat.
The net front presence that Homer provided for the Red Wings was so revered that referees would call phantom penalties on him, but even with all of the calls against him and the beating he took out front, he went back to that spot and produced for the team. Abdelkader is nowhere near the level that Homer played at out in front of the net and might never make it there.
With all of that said it is the power play time is the greatest difference between Holmstrom and Abdelkader. Abdelkader received less power play time on ice than both Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist. For Holmstrom the power play was his home and the front of the net his office. Homer consistently scored at least half of his goals while on the power play and as of now Abdelkader is not even a power play player.
Abdelkader has a lot of development ahead of him if he wants to take over Holmstrom’s role on the Red Wings and I doubt that he will ever fully replace what the Demolition Man brought to the team.
Do you think Abdelkader could be the new Holmstrom for Detroit?