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.
Brad Stuart | #23 | Defenseman
* Has a number of tools: skates well, hits well, passes well, and has a hard shot.
* Is the most consistently physical of the Wings' defenseman
* Hails from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. The only thing more bad ass than that is pulling a knife out of your chest and surviving.
* Abnormally large mouth can be a distraction during interviews.
* As would be the case with a former #3 pick on his fifth team, he can cancel out his talent by making plays so boneheaded that you want to rip your toe nails off.
NHL '97 Season Recap: 10 goals, 24 assists, 34 points
The last time we saw Brad Stuart, he was doing everything in his power to hand the Penguins the Stanley Cup in Game 7. It's a shame too, because his playoff run up to that point had been pretty stellar. While he was predominantly a stay-at-home defender during the regular year (2 goals, 13 assists), he stepped up his all-around play during the postseason with 3 goals and 6 assists in 23 games. When Rafalski and Lidstrom went down with injuries during the playoffs, he did his part to help take their place.
It's doubtful that his glaring fuck ups from that game are going to stick with him and carry over into the 2009-10 campaign. He seems to be pretty easy going; in his post-Game 7 comments, when talking about one of his giveaways he literally said the words, "My bad." Like he just bumped into a dude in the hallway or something.
His NHL '97 season was an improvement offensively as he saw his stats resemble what they were earlier in his career. Much of this had to do with the fact that Sega Babcock didn't seem to like Jason Williams manning the point on the 2nd power play after a tragic incident that unoriginal sports columnists now refer to as "Williamsgate", in which during a game against Columbus, Williams blind-sided teammate Niklas Kronwall with a steel folding chair, jumped into Ken Hitchcock's arms and sucked at his man-teat for 20 minutes until the two were separated with the aid of a fire hose. Babcock lost trust with Williams after this and replaced him with Stuart, who filled in quite well. (In a related story, "Williamsgate" caused Sega Holland to consume mass amounts of Tequila and spend all hours of the night trying to call the Vancouver Canucks to get Mikael Samuelsson back. However, the line was perpetually busy as the Canucks were trying to assemble the league's first 22 man roster composed entirely of defensemen.)
If this virtual projection tells us anything -- and Lord knows Sega has never lied to us before -- it tells us that Brad Stuart seems to play better when he isn't utilizing a human brain. He's versatile enough to be used in all game situations, but his play in all areas has room for improvement in comparison to last year as he contributed to an average defensive effort and shaky penalty kill.