COMMENTARY | The Detroit Red Wings' 2012-13 season had its fair shares of highs and lows. A team many predicted wouldn't even make the playoffs was one win away from the Western Conference finals.
This article will look at the forwards who played throughout the season. Grades are based on performance as well as expectations met during the season.
Pavel Datsyuk -- A
Datsyuk led the team in scoring with 15 goals and 49 points in 47 games and added nine points in 14 games in the playoffs. He continued to produce despite coach Mike Babcock juggling the lines throughout the entirety of the season.
Henrik Zetterberg -- A
The first-year captain led the Red Wings to a 22nd consecutive playoff appearance, and he was first on the team in scoring during the postseason with 12 points in 14 games. Zetterberg certainly had a lot of expectations becoming the captain of the Red Wings, and he didn't disappoint.
Johan Franzen -- B
Franzen continues to be one of the streakiest players in the league. He finished third on the team in scoring with 31 points, but had just six points in 14 games during the playoffs. When he's hot, he's hot, but he can't sustain any sort of consistency.
Damien Brunner -- B+
Brunner started his rookie season hot in the NHL with 10 goals and 16 points in his first 19 games on the top line with Zetterberg and Datsyuk. He led the team in goals with five in the playoffs and, eventually, was moved to the third line -- one of the better third lines in the NHL -- with Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist during the regular season.
Valtteri Filppula -- C+
Filppula still cannot live up to the hype that has surrounded him his entire career. He had just 17 points in 41 games this season after having career highs of 23 goals and 66 points in 81 games last year. Filppula is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and I have a hard time believing the Red Wings will be willing to sign him for the money he will want.
Daniel Cleary -- C
Cleary has been on the first and second lines this season despite being a third-line winger at best. He had just 15 points in 48 games, but was second on the team in scoring at 10 points in 14 games during the playoffs. Cleary also is an unrestricted free agent who the Red Wings should part ways with.
Justin Abdelkader -- B+
When Adbelkader was first put on the top line, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. He seemed overwhelmed, and Datsyuk's skills seemed underutilized. However, he came on strong near the end of the regular season and provided the top line with some much-needed grit.
Joakim Andersson -- B
Andersson was called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins due to key injuries and performed well as the center on the third line. At 6-foot-2, 206 pounds, he's a big guy, who also has a great set of hands. He is a restricted free agent that will no doubt be brought back, but could be moved to the fourth line when Darren Helm returns to the lineup.
Patrick Eaves -- B
Eaves battled injuries during the season and had eight points in 34 games. He's a strong penalty killer for the Red Wings and led the fourth liners in points with three during the playoffs.
Cory Emmerton -- B-
Emmerton is another solid penalty killer who has shown flashes of skill but, ultimately, is a fourth liner for a reason. He started the season on the Red Wings when they had injuries to Darren Helm and Todd Bertuzzi.
Jordin Tootoo -- C+
Tootoo's role was very obvious when he signed with the Red Wings at the beginning of the season: agitate the other team's star players and defend his teammates. He did his fair share of that as he was first on the team in PIM with 78 and third in hits with 68. He played just one game in the playoffs as Babcok opted to go with the more skillful Drew Miller and Eaves on the fourth line with Emmerton.
Drew Miller -- B
Miller was second on the team in hits with 88. He didn't produce a lot being on the fourth line (eight points in 44 games), but logged minutes on the second penalty kill line. Miller also is an unrestricted free agent, but I expect him to resign.
Tomas Tatar -- B+
Tatar showed great potential during his 18 games in Detroit. He had four goals and seven points while showing off his speed and hand skills. I would have liked to see Tatar on the playoff roster this season, but he'll most likely spend the better part of next season with the Red Wings.
Gustav Nyquist -- B+
Nyquist is another guy with great speed and a great set of hands the Red Wings called up from the Griffins late in the season. He had some key goals in the playoffs and made a case for staying in Detroit on a regular basis.
Todd Bertuzzi -- C
Bertuzzi played just 13 games all season as he suffered a sore back all season long. He can be a great asset when he's healthy, but at 38 -- he'll be 39 in February -- his best days are behind him. He'll be an unrestricted free agent after the 2013-14 season, and I don't see the Red Wings extending his contract past that season.
Mikael Samuelsson -- C
Another Red Wing who saw limited playing time during the regular season due to injury, Samuelsson wasn't the same player he was when he played for the Red Wings from 2005-09. Unless he makes a dramatic comeback in the 2013-14 season, the Red Wings probably will choose not to resign him as he'll be an unrestricted free agent after next season.
Riley Sheahan -- N/A
Sheahan played in just one game this season with the Red Wings, so I don't have a big enough sample size to give him a grade. He's one of the full-time Griffins who Babcock is excited about seeing more of. I'd like to see him spend the majority of next season on the Griffins and get called up a few times to get his feet wet at the NHL level.
Jan Mursak -- N/A
Mursak played in just two games this year and decided to try his luck in Russia to play in the KHL. He played in 46 games for the Red Wings during three seasons and was injured for a good portion of the time.
Darren Helm -- N/A
Of all the injuries the Red Wings had this season, this one hurt the most. Helm is excellent on the penalty kill and is a solid third-line center. He played in one game this season and never was able to return as he had set back after set back. It was announced Helm will not need surgery this summer, and GM Ken Holland hopes to have him ready for the start of training camp.
Tom Mitsos is a Michigan native who covers the Detroit Red Wings for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He also is a high school sports reporter at MLive Media Group. You can find Tom on Twitter @tom_mitsos.
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- Pavel Datsyuk
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