Here's a look at our mid-season grades.
Pavel Datsyuk - A - Datsyuk started a bit slow but has been nothing short of spectacular since. We expect nothing less.
Henrik Zetterberg - B - Hasn't put up the kind of numbers and at times looks slower than molasses but he is starting to get up there in the point column which is good to see. He is still contributing and will have a few games where he looks like one of our top two forwards again.
Johan Franzen - B+ - The stats are there, he is on pace for a career high. Franzenstein still loafs on occasion and is more a by-product of Datsyuk than the driving force behind his career high pace.
Valtteri Filppula - A - He looks dynamic. At this point in the season I would say he has been our second best forward. Always back checking and making smart decisions and the points are finally coming around for Flip.
Todd Bertuzzi - C+ - Sometimes he drives the net and makes things happen, sometimes he kills the play in the corner. Sometimes he stands up for his teammates, sometimes he takes another holding penalty. He's a serviceable forward though.
Jiri Hudler - B+ - I've been pleasantly surprised with Hudler's play this season. He seems to be competing relatively hard and has enjoyed a nice streak of 18 points in his last 20 games. Hudler is still having a hard time getting out of Babcock's doghouse though.
Dan Cleary - C+ - He has made a few errors in D-zone coverage that have immediately caused goals against. It's a bit frustrating because he is suppose to be better in his own zone. He also started off slow but has picked it up as the season has gone on.
Darren Helm - B - Hes been okay. The points aren't there but he isn't looked upon for points. He is turning into an elite PKer though.
Justin Abdelkader - C - I haven't seen much from him to get excited. He is pretty much invisible night in and night out. Don't love him, don't hate him.
Drew Miller - B+ - I was hoping the Wings would let him walk at the end of last season. He has proven me wrong and has firmly planted himself as a mainstay in the lineup. High compete level and occasionally shows some offensive instincts.
Tomas Holmstrom - C - Looks good on the Power Play usually. This will probably be Homer's last year and he looks beat from time to time.
Cory Emmerton - D - I'm just not a huge fan. He fills a spot but shows less than Abby and with youngsters behind him chomping at the bit to get in as well as the eventual return of Eaves, I wouldn't be surprised to lose Cory to Waivers or be a minor piece in a trade.
Nicklas Lidstrom - B+ - He is declining, which I hate to admit. He actually has had himself a few bad games which is unheard of. But still, for the most part, he's been the consistent TPH we have grown to admire.
Ian White - A - What a fantastic (and cheap!) pickup this guy was. It helps to play alongside Nick, but he has looked very steady and has a terrific two-way game.
Nicklas Kronwall - B+ - I'll admit I expected a bit of an increase in offensive production but he has really rounded out his game. He's also started playing safe during the regular season, which is probably due to his past of injuries, that allows him to step up big time in the Playoffs.
Brad Stuart - B - He's Stuart. Gives you what you expect from him on a nightly basis. Rarely makes any errors but isn't as offensively gifted as most of our Dmen. Lots of grit.
Jonathon Eric$$on - C - He still makes obvious bad decisions. Not sure if it's less than we are use to or not...
Jakub Kindl - B - The kid has been good more often then not but now has to earn his ice time with the emergence of Commodore. The potential to be a top 4 Dman is there.
Mike Commodore - C - Very steady. Sticks up for teammates and doesn't take crap in front of the net. Everything we expected from him. Hopefully he starts seeing a bit more ice time as the season wears on just to get his hockey legs back.
Jimmy Howard - A+ - The past 2 games he has slipped but what can you expect with the amount of ice time Babcock was handing out. Has emerged as a top 5 goaltender this season. Hopefully he keeps it up.
Ty Conklin - D - Really struggled early. Hardly played which forced Babcock into playing Howard so much. He did look good against Chicago the other night though, hopefully thats a positive sign. Still doesn't see the puck well and looses rebounds way too often for an NHL goalie.
The Coaching Staff - A - This team is back to where the should be after a couple of seasons of lackluster defensive play and an offensive game that tried to balance that out. Our 5 on 5 play is amongst the best in the league and we rank in the top 5-10 in every major statistical category outside of the PK.
First half MVP:
Let's hope for an even better second half and correct those pesky Road woes. We've planted ourselves once again amongst the Elite.