Last Word On Hockey brings our Team of the Decade series. We will dive into the best player at each position this decade for every organization. The biggest and best at each position, with the most memorable moments in franchise history. Here is the Detroit Red Wings decade lineup.
Detroit Red Wings Decade Team
The Red Wings have been night and day over the 2010s. Detroit was a contender for the Stanley Cup in the first portion of the decade. However, the team saw its 25-season playoff streak come to an end and now the team is at the bottom of the league. Detroit has had plenty of talented players in the decade. Some of them will live them on in team history.barel
Here are the best Red Wings players of the last 10 years.
Centre: Pavel Datsyuk
Pavel Datsyuk may have headed back to his native Russia after the 2016 season, but the Magic Man was the face of the successful part of the decade. He was always in the mix for the Selke Trophy and usually would contribute around 20 goals.
He was also one of the cleanest players in the game as he’d barely have any penalty minutes. Datsyuk did everything for the club from scoring to defence and was a team leader. The team seems to be missing the spark that he provided when he was with the club. Speculation of his return gave Wings’ fans hope before Datsyuk decided against a return to Hockeytown.
Left-Wing: Henrik Zetterberg
Many thought Henrik Zetterberg would be the centre of the decade team, but he did play on the lefts side. This helps keep the Swede in the lineup and allows for Datsyuk to have a place. Zetterberg was the team’s captain and scored 154 goals and 401 assists during the decade.
The veteran battled through injuries until he retired in name only in 2018. He worked his way up from a seventh-round selection in the 1999 NHL Draft to be one of the best in the organization. His leadership was pivotal in all parts of the decade. He guided the young players in the locker room until back issues forced him out.
Right Wing: Johan Franzen
Johan Franzen scored 104 goals and got 123 assists during the 2010s for the club. He was another Swede that played a pivotal role in the Wings being contenders for so many years.
Franzen was another steal for the then general manager Ken Holland, who managed to unearth some gems in the later rounds. He averaged 0.73 points per game with the club but also was solid at the other end of the ice.
Defence: Niklas Kronwall
Another Swedish player gets another a spot as Niklas Kronwall earns his place. Kronwall scored 67 goals with the team, but his defensive prowess gets him on the team. He was a physical force that patrolled his own end and the neutral zone.
His prolific hits were affectionately known as “Kronwalling.” He finished in the Top 15 of Norris Trophy voting for three years and he was a part of the good and the bad of the decade. Kronwall may not be as appreciated as someone like Nicklas Lidstrom, but he’ll get his moment in the sun.
Defence: Nicklas Lidstrom
The decision to include the 2015 Hall of Famer was a difficult one because he retired after the 2012 NHL season. Players like Danny DeKeyser got more games, but Lidstrom scored 36 goals in just those two seasons.
He won the Norris Trophy in 2011 and was in the top five in his final season before retirement. Lidstrom was a workhorse despite his advancing age as he’d log 23 minutes of ice time a night. The team hasn’t been on the same on defence since he departed and they’ve never really replaced him.
Goalie: Jimmy Howard
Jimmy Howard has had the run of the crease for most of the decade except for a brief spell where Petr Mrazek had the job. Howard has struggled mightily in the 2019-20 season, but he had a goals-against-average of around 2.54 for the decade.
He won 243 games with the club during the 2010s and his best season was 2011-12 when he finished sixth in the Vezina Trophy voting. The Ogdensburg, N.Y. native posted a .923 save percentage and went 21-13-7 for the club.
Justin Abdelkader did score 106 goals for the team during the decade, but his production tailed off severely by the end of the 2010s. Gustav Nyquist earned Hart Trophy votes in the 2013-14 season with 28 goals. Tomas Tatar was a big part of the Wings’ success before he was traded last season.
DeKeyser has been a fixture of the lineup since 2013 and has averaged 21 minutes of ice time per night. There really hasn’t been a lot of standout defenders on the Detroit Red Wings decade team.