Detroit Red Wings: Four Potential Bounce Back Candidates

DETROIT, MI - APRIL 05: Detroit Red Wings forward Frans Nielsen, of Denmark, (51) and Montreal Canadiens forward Logan Shaw (49) face-off at center ice during a regular season NHL hockey game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Detroit Red Wings on April 5, 2018, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - APRIL 05: Detroit Red Wings forward Frans Nielsen, of Denmark, (51) and Montreal Canadiens forward Logan Shaw (49) face-off at center ice during a regular season NHL hockey game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Detroit Red Wings on April 5, 2018, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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DETROIT, MI – APRIL 07: Justin Abdelkader #8 of the Detroit Red Wings poses with season ticket holders following an NHL game against the New York Islanders at Little Caesars Arena on April 7, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. The Islanders defeated the Wings 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Justin Abdelkader
DETROIT, MI – APRIL 07: Justin Abdelkader #8 of the Detroit Red Wings poses with season ticket holders following an NHL game against the New York Islanders at Little Caesars Arena on April 7, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. The Islanders defeated the Wings 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Justin Abdelkader /

Justin Abdelkader needs to step up in more ways than one this up and coming season for the Detroit Red Wings.

The Detroit Red Wings drafted Justin Abdelkader in the 2nd round of the 2005 entry level draft with the 42 pick overall.

After back to back seasons of 40 or more points, the Detroit Red Wings decided to give Abdelkader a 7-year contract extension worth 4.25 million per season.  Along with the contract the Wings decided to stitch an “A’ onto his sweater making him an alternate captain.  The departure of Pavel Datsyuk left a vacancy in which Justin was awarded the honor.

The following season after, signing that deal Abdelkader rewarded the Red Wings with a lackluster performance scoring 7 goals and 21 points while playing in 64 games.  Or what some would say, NOT GOOD!  Last season Abdelkader took a step in a positive direction recording 13 goals & 35 points.

In 2017/18 “Abby” played 16:33 per game, his lowest total minutes per game over the last four seasons.  With the volume of Red Wings forwards, Abdelkader should be around that total again this season likely playing where ever Detroit needs him.  He can play up on the top line being a worker, retrieving the puck for Larkin & Mantha.  He could play on the fourth line being completely an energy guy who rattles the boards every shift.

Abby is sort of a hybrid with his size and physical ability when the puck is going in for him.  His highest production came on the wing of Pavel Datsyuk which comes as no surprise knowing how magical Datsyuk was.  The definition of “stick handling in a phone booth” is Datsyuk, and then he could lay it on his teammates stick allowing them to finish.

The Detroit Red Wings certainly hope Justin Abdelkader can rejuvenate himself this offseason and bring with him 15 goals & 25 assists when he shows back up for work to the rink in 2018/19.