Many of us have taken note of the way Justin Abdelkader is turning into a bona fide shit-wrecking anvil on skates. He's a modern day Grind Liner for this crazy new millennium we're living in where Todd Bertuzzi is a team leading plus-11 and Jonathan Ericsson shrunk and regrew 9 1/2 feet in the last 18 months. I liked this line from Chris at NOSH:
"(Abdelkader's) become some crazy version of Maltby and Dallas Drake combined into one."
I'll also assume that Chris was referring to the "50 goals in Junior" version of Kirk Maltby, the one with the velvet hands who once scored on a 450 foot slapshot from atop one of those mini blimps that drops the "5 dollars off your next car wash" coupons (according to Mickey Redmond). Maybe Abs isn't quite to that level but he's certainly a descendant from that same annoyingly tenacious family tree.
Through 10 games, Abdelkader has 3 goals and 4 assists while only getting slightly less than 12 minutes per game. Coming back to the originally linked tweet: Spread that scoring out to a per-60 minute average and he's scoring at a higher rate than everybody in the league not named Crosby at even strength. Obviously 7 points in 10 games is a small sample to pull from, but the larger point is that he has already shown great improvement in an area where he was firmly planted among the league's worst in 2009-10. On top of that, he makes the other team notice him every shift, leading the Wings in hits per game and penalties drawn-per-60.
He gets put in situations that give him a better chance of succeeding, by facing easier competition than our top guys and having his limited minutes used carefully. But the same could be said about his 2009-10 season, and he still performed like a below average player. So this start has been encouraging to say the least. Abdelkader is obviously impressing Babcock by making the most of his time on ice and thus far avoiding the quagmire of the 12th man rotation. A giant step like this is only going to tighten Babs' pants even more.