Because nothing screams "cutting edge" quite like The Triple Deke, we'll be passing on the typical season preview for 2009-10. Instead, we will bring you this: a highly scientific forecast of each player's performance, which will be calculated by using an updated copy of a 13 year old video game -- Sega's NHL '97. Each statistical output will be treated as an irrefutable premonition, and anyone who challenges the accuracy of our system will be burned alive in front of their families.
Kirk Maltby | #18 | Left Wing
* Fuck off.
* Used to be able to contribute somewhat offensively, but now all of his scoring is done purely by mistake.
* Isn't much of an agitator anymore. (And the Crosby thing is nothing to brag about. Anyone who is bothered by excessive hat throwing isn't worthy of mention in this category.)
* Good penalty killer, but much of that ice time is given to other players now.
Strengths, 2nd try:
* Really good at not having any strengths.
NHL '97 Season Recap: 2 goals, 0 assists, 2 points
Honestly I feel bad about saying this stuff. After all, I sort of defended Maltby a couple of weeks ago by saying that the team should either cut ties with him or keep playing him rather than leave him hanging. I think I said he earned it, or something, I don't really know. It was probably wrong and a cop-out to say something negative about Todd Bertuzzi again. The lesson here is that you should really never listen to anything I say when I put on the "serious voice" and the moment that I start babbling about an actual opinion is when you should go back to On The Wings.
Fact is, Maltby has one goal in his last fifty playoff games. I know it's not part of his responsibilities but good lord. There is no way that he can hold down a regular spot in the lineup anymore (this is me contradicting myself from that previous comment/changing my mind). He's been a mainstay on the Wings roster as one of "The Five Horsemen", an embarrassingly retarded nickname I just made up to describe the players who have won the Wings' last four Cups, but he's clearly knocking on the door to retirement *
His '97 Sega season was less than less than extraordinary. Oddly enough the only two goals he recorded were in the same game against the Bruins, but the celebration was cut short however as goalie Tim Thomas was so humiliated that he immediately traded himself to the Avalanche. Maltby spent the rest of the season rotating in and out of the lineup with Patrick Eaves and having Hot 'n Ready pizzas crammed down his throat up in the press box.
* Does he retire though, after this year? It's the final year of his contract. Let's say hypothetically that the Wings don't bring back two out of the three of Bertuzzi/Williams/Eaves for 2010-'11, but Abdelkader is re-signed and given a full time spot. We'll also say that they bring Homer back for one last hurrah before his body turns to sawdust, and obviously re-sign Helm. Not taking any future free agents into consideration, that leaves you with a lineup of:
Datsyuk - Zetterberg - Holmstrom
Cleary - Filppula - Franzen
Leino - Helm - (Bert/Will/Eaves)
____ - Draper - Abdelkader
It would seem to me, in my very un-expert opinion, that a number of things would have to fall correctly for Maltby to still have a career in Detroit after this year. Helm is due for a raise, but then with Lidstrom and Homer likely to take paycuts and the other one year deals coming off the books, there could be some wiggle room to make a free agent splash. The only way I see Maltby re-signing is if they're so up against the cap that only a league-minimum type of deal is all they're willing to spend.
But as for the retirement thing: Let's say the Wings don't bring him back; he's only 36 right now and is in good shape, he's still a decent skater, and....... oh right -- nothing after that. Forgot. Age/shape-wise he doesn't seem done, but judging by anytime that he's an annoyed healthy scratch, I can't picture him taking a role as a bit player on another team or as a minor leaguer. Maybe that's completely off the mark, I don't know. Just curious.