Where the heck is Justin Abdelkader?
The Muskegon, MI native and former Michigan State Spartan has been a ghost for the Red Wings all season. He’s counted on by the team to provide physical play and to be a force around the net, as well as contribute offensively.
The expectations certainly didn’t dwindle after agreeing to a seven-year, $30 million deal during last season. Simply put, he hasn’t lived up to his deal.
Through 38 games (he missed several weeks due to a sprained MCL), Abdelkader has scored only four goals to go with eight assists. He hasn’t at all looked like the player that the Red Wings gave the “A” to wear on his jersey as alternate captain.
The Red Wings’ offensive game has struggled all season, and their power-play is approaching historically poor levels – currently ranked 30th overall in the NHL at just 11.8%. Abdelkader certainly hasn’t helped things by completely failing to make any kind of a difference on the ice.
We don’t know if he’s still dealing with the lingering effects of his MCL injury, though it would surely help to explain his drop off in play. Was Detroit mistaken for extending him for an additional seven seasons? Or will he return back to that Hockeytown fan favorite?
The team is in serious danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since Abdelkader was a toddler. They need him to immediately start living up to his newly-signed contract and promotion to alternate captain if they have any hope of salvaging what’s left of this season.