Apr 27, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Detroit Red Wings left wing Johan Franzen (93) warms up before the game against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Red Wings shut out the Stars 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Johan Franzen and the 2013-2014 Season

This dance happens every off-season, every time there’s a reprieve from hockey and fans can sit back and take a look at their team’s potential roster and fantasize about how awesome the upcoming season will be.

It’s a recurring thought, discussing Johan Franzen and his potential, and in the last three seasons or so, most people have just written him off completely and want to be rid of the Swede. How many times can you talk about potential before you see actual results?

But he isn’t dead weight, like many assume; it’s just his streakiness that drives people insane.

With the acquisitions during this year’s free agency, however, looking at names and statistics of new players, things are looking up for the Mule.

The final lineup of the Red Wings’ roster this year is still up in the air, especially with training camp still almost two months away. Right now, it’s easy to assume that Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg will start the season together on the top line. That leaves new acquisitions Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss on the second line–Franzen’s line.

Sick of hearing about Franzen’s potential? Now would be the time to look away…

Weiss is a more consistent Valtteri Filppula. Every season, he seems to hover right around the fifty-to-sixty-point mark, something Filppula only did in the 2011-2012 season. Alfredsson is a born leader, and if you look at his numbers with the Ottawa Senators, he has only failed to hit at least 55 points in a season once (not including this past truncated season); he was out for most of that season due to injury.

Fans should know it’s not always the player’s ability, but the ability of those on their line. Case in point: last season with Justin Abdelkader on Datsyuk’s line. It infuriated fans to no end, especially when Dan Cleary was there, too, and Datsyuk wasn’t scoring. But it turned out to be a phenomenal breakout year for Abdelkader, and the duo of him and Datsyuk is actually quite entertaining.

So will Franzen find some sort of magic with Weiss and Alfredsson? Probably. Most of our Swedes play well together anyway, so it’s natural to assume that it will be Alfredsson, but who knows?

Is it October yet?

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