Many people believe that Pavel Datsyuk is “underrated,” but considering the cascades of adoration that come his way, that’s a little off. (Now, if you say that he doesn’t get the proper amount of Hart Trophy consideration, then you might be onto something.)
Nope, when it comes to Detroit Red Wings forwards who should get a little more attention, the list might start with Danny Cleary. Despite averaging just 1:32 minutes of power play time per game in 2010-11, Cleary scored 26 goals and 46 points (both career-highs) in 68 games. That’s more than a 31 goal and 55-point pace over a full 82-game season.
Unfortunately, Cleary hasn’t been able to make a bigger impact because of injury concerns. He missed 14 games last season, 18 games in 09-10, 8 in 08-09 and 19 in 07-08.
Hopefully this is just a blip on the radar rather than a sign of more health troubles to come, but Helene St. James reports that Cleary will miss the rest of the preseason (four exhibition games) with an upper-body injury. Red Wings GM Ken Holland said he hopes that Cleary will be ready for the regular season opener against the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 7, but we shall see.
(H/T to Kukla’s Korner.)