OK, it’s that time of year. Hockey’s so close that you can almost taste it. By my count, there are 6 days remaining before the Wings kick off their season in Sweden (which is still entirely too many, but at least we can see the light at the end of the tunnel). In order to pass the time, I’ll be posting a player profile every day until then (in alphabetical order, because I’m one of those people). I want to make it very clear that these are not predictions, because I do not, under any circumstance, make predictions. They’re simply my thoughts on each player’s performances last season, and my hopes and expectations for them this time around. Today’s subject:
2008-2009 Regular Season: 41 GP, 2-5-7, +/- -12, 12 PIM
2009 Playoffs: 2 GP, 0-0-0, +/- 0, 0 PIM
Season Highlight: Scoring his first career NHL goal.
Season Lowlight: I'll go with sitting out most of the playoffs.
Meech filled a valuable role last season when he stepped in as a forward during the Wings’ traditional mid-winter rash of injuries. In fact, there were times when I was convinced that he was a better forward than defenseman. With the ascendance of Jonathan Ericsson, he didn’t get much playing time toward the end. I think his main contribution was to nearly give me a heart attack every time he was on the ice.
At this point, Meech is kind of the odd man out. Nobody really knows where he fits into the lineup, or if there’s a place for him on the team at all. He’s largely been overlooked and forgotten (and I’ll admit that I almost forgot to write up one of these for him). For a while there, I was assuming that he’d be used as trade bait, but the Wings’ current cap situation makes that tricky. What befalls him will depend a lot on what happens to Andreas Lilja and his head. If Lilja’s back in the picture, you have to assume that Meech will be gone, but that wouldn’t be enough solve the salary problems. If injuries force him into any significant amount of games, expect his production to be about the same. If he wants to have any legitimate chance at prolonging his stay in the Winged Wheel, he’ll need to work on that +/- rating and the defensive side of his game.
What he needs to do to make me happy: Answer the call whenever/wherever he’s asked to play.