Witkowski’s “numbers” defined by his role

DetroitRedWings.com’s Arthur J. Regner examines Luke Witkowski’s 2017-18 season this morning, and any discussion of Witkowski’s campaign yields mixed feelings from me.

There’s no doubt that Witkowski gave the Wings significant “pop” and even an intimidation factor when he played…But his presence, which would’ve been even greater had he not been suspended for 10 games, took away from a 4th line spot that could’ve gone to a youngster.

Anyway, Regner’s article duly notes that Witkowski’s “numbers” were defined by the role he played on the team:

31 – Total number of games Witkowski appeared in during his first season as a Red Wing.

1 – Witkowski scored his first NHL and only career goal on February 17 against the Predators in Nashville. Witkowski’s father, John, was there as the team was on the dads and mentors trip.

4 – Total number of points Witkowski accumulated last season. That matched his point total from the 2016-17 season when he was with the Lightning.

68 – His 68 penalty minutes ranked second on the Red Wings. Justin Abdelkader led Detroit in penalty minutes with 78.

Regner continues, and it’s important to note that Witkowski, who has a year left on his contract, has a big supporter in the Red Wings’ coach, so it’s highly likely that Witkowski will remain on the Wings’ roster going forward.

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

14 thoughts on “Witkowski’s “numbers” defined by his role”

  1. Blashill coached him before. He was roommates with Dekeyser. Maybe even a connection with Helm’s babysitter. So he’s going nowhere.

    What isn’t mentioned is that during those 31 games he played, we typically couldn’t roll 4 lines. So we had a bunch of random line combos. Notice something similar about Tampa, Vegas, Jets, Nashville (ie the good teams)…they just roll 4 lines. Consistently. But Witkowski has lots of character. Plus you can’t ice a team of 20 year olds.

  2. I know this is off topic, but just wanted to mention that the Wild hired Paul Fenton away from Nashville.

    So Dubas and Fenton are both off the table. Meanwhile, we didn’t even bother exploring any other option. We just brought back the Clown who created this mess. Such a complacent country club.

  3. Sorry. I thought on a slow day it was worth mentioning Fenton’s hiring. His name was repeatedly discussed on this site prior to Kenny’s extension. I preferred Fenton given his role as AsstGM was also to oversee the amateur draft…something Nashville has been superb at, particularly in drafting d-men.

    But yeah, my sincerest apologies for going off topic. Maybe you or Biv can steer us back to race relations or something more relevant?

    1. There’s that victimization again. Thanks for all your efforts acorn to keep the conversation solely on hockey.

    2. Never said one thing about the race stuff. In fact I haven’t really been even commenting here when that was happening, I read it though as I check TMR daily. George does hella good work in providing news even when there is hardly any.

      Relevant? Sure, the whole consensus is the Gritkowski is a waste of space, I would have rather had Tangradi up. He least might create more offense and isn’t afraid to fight. I’d actually rather have a prospect up to see what we got than those 2. Not how I’d build the team but that is ok though in the grand scheme of things. Put’s us closer to an earlier draft pick, same with next year. The front office is finally starting to show their willingness in rebuilding and it’s what were stuck with. I don’t think Grit stays past his contract. They’ve been bringing in a fighter that doesn’t provide anything for years. At least when their contract is up, for the most part they’re not brought back.

      Managing expectations is the key with this team and the front office. At least they’re starting to come to terms with where their at as a team? They’re actively trying to re-build this from the draft. At least it’s happening. Maybe 2 years too late maybe 10 years too late that’s up for debate but at least it’s starting to happen, albeit slowly.

      1. Agree that Tangradi could have filled Witkowski’s role. But Witkowski had an “in” with Blashill and Dekeyser. Would have rather had that role go to a young player to evaluate…but then cue the “we don’t want kid X playing 8 minutes on the 4th line when he can be the man in Grand Rapids” .

        And sadly, most fans and media buy that argument.

        1. “we don’t want kid X playing 8 minutes on the 4th line when he can be the man in Grand Rapids”

          I actually agree with that when it comes to the higher end prospects. I don’t want Svech wasting away on the 4th line grinding and sucking out all his creativity. I firmly think that’s what happened to Jurco. What I’m talking about as far as prospects is the lower tier guys. Let Turgeon, Holstrom etc etc take that spot. See what you got in the system.

          1. Yup. Agree with that too. That’s why I was arguing to play Nosek over Drew Miller. Get Turgeon or Bertuzzi cutting their teeth in the bottom 6 sooner. But when it comes to skill players like Jurco or Mantha or Svech…then playing them on a line with Glendummy is hurting them. For me it’s not about minutes it’s about the skill around you. 12 minutes with Nielsen on 3rd line at least gives you a chance to use your skill. But rushing up the ice with Glendening and Abby is just a waste of time. Dump, chase, lose possession. Every time.

  4. The comment that Blashill likes Witkowski tells me a lot about the coach and why he must go. The Red Wings need more young talent than they need a player of very limited skill whose very presence on the ice irritates the officials. If Blashill does not understand this, he is not too bright is he?

    This team needs a coach who can coach (Bob Hartley?) not someone who pisses off his young talent by calling them out publicly rather than teaching them.

    I really thought that Blashill could do the job. He has had ample time to demonstrate that he cannot coach at this level and probably not really at the AHL level. Bah Humbug!

    1. I too thought Blash would make it. Now I have my doubts but I don’t mind him holding the youngster accountable. I do mind him not holding vets to the same standards. I don’t care how long they’ve been there, EVERYONE should be held to the same standards. Some of his schemes just don’t work, although I understand some of it due to the roster makeup. He had a great system in GR but it’s not the same system he employs in Det. I know it had to change due to the roster and an example of not being able to activate his defense like he did in GR. Could his curreny system work here with a different roster? Idk and unless the roster changes we won’t know. My biggest beef with him is accountability in all aspects not just youngsters. There were plenty of nights to my eyes where Helm and Glenny were probably the only vets giving it their all.

  5. Waste of a Roster Spot with Detroit and GR. At this rate we will have the same roster, AGAIN. Try putting some prospects on the roster

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