36-Year-Old Right Wing – Detroit Red Wings
Johan Franzen Contract Information:
Signed an 11-year, $43.5 million contract with the Red Wings in April of 2009.
Franzen (concussion) is likely to remain on long-term injured reserve for the four years that remain on his contract with the Red Wings, Ansar Khan of MLive.com reports.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Franzen struggled with a concussion in the middle of 2013-14, but still tallied 41 points in 54 games. The Mule was once again a streaky fantasy player, but even his droughts aren't that terrible. He's starting to get a little older at 34, but should still provide 45-50 points as a top-six forward.
Franzen was the third leading scorer for Detroit in 2012-13, notching 31 points in 41 games. The Mule didn't have a great playoff run, but is still one of the better forwards on the Red Wings. He'll likely start 2013-14 on the second line with Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson, which is not a bad trio. While he's getting older, Franzen still probably has about 50 points in him for 2013-14.
Although Franzen's propensity for running very hot and cold may leave many fantasy owners frustrated, the end result has become very consistent -- he's now taillied at least 55 points in three of the last four seasons while only falling short thanks to a torn ACL in 2009-10. In addition to approaching the 30-goal mark every April, Franzen makes his mark with the man advantage (11 power-play tallies last season) and reliably cracks double digits in that department. Further, he's developed a knack for potting goals in clutch situations, with 15 game-winning tallies to his credit over the last two seasons. Once again in position to skate on the wing of Pavel Datsyuk, Franzen remains a strong bet to lead the Wings in goals this season.
Franzen slumped badly down the stretch and potted just two goals in his final 27 regular season games before a sprained ankle derailed him in the playoffs. Somehow his 55-point campaign seems like a disappointment, especially when you consider that five of his 28 goals came in one game against Ottawa. Still, Franzen remains a threat for 30-plus goals and he sees heavy minutes on a line with either Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg, and occasionally with both on the power play. He should be fully recovered from the ankle sprain long before training camp is underway and we like his chances of reaching the 60-point plateau for the first time in his career this season.
In many ways, you could argue that Franzen was the Red Wings' Most Valuable Player last season. He missed 55 games with a torn ACL, but he tallied 21 points (10 G, 11 A) in 27 regular season games while the Wings posted an 18-5-4 record while he was in the lineup and a 26-19-10 record when he was out. Further, Detroit scored 3.26 goals per game when Mule was on the ice compared to just 2.56 goals per game without him. As a top-six forward with an opportunity to potentially skate with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk at even strength, Franzen should make a push back into the 30-goal range with a double-digit tallies on the power play. Be sure to pounce if the owners in your league discount him on draft day because of the missed time last season.
The Red Wings locked up Mule for the long haul in April, inking him to an 11-year, $43.5 million contract. Now that he's being paid like a top-six forward, the pressure to continue producing at a high level is likely to follow. It's unlikely to faze him, however, as Franzen had another strong postseason, cranking out 23 points (12 G, 11) in 23 playoff games in the Wings' return to the Stanley Cup finals. He's now firmly entrenched as a top-line winger in Detroit, especially with the loss of Marian Hossa to Chicago. Playing alongside of Pavel Datsyuk and seeing top minutes on the power play should help move him closer to the 40-goal plateau this season.
Franzen took full advantage of Tomas Holmstrom’s absence throughout March en route to tallying 15 goals over his last 16 regular season contests. Even after Holmstrom returned for the playoffs, “Mule” tied teammate Henrik Zetterberg with 13 goals in the postseason despite playing in six fewer games. The missed playoff time was due to subdural hematoma – where blood was pooled between Franzen’s brain and skull. It’s believed that he won’t have any long-term effects from the injury, so look for the Wings to deploy Franzen on one of the top two lines, while using him as a second pesky power forward to place in front of opposing netminders. With a full season’s worth of games as a top-six forward, Franzen should be able to top the 60-point plateau.
He's starting the year on the Pavel Datsyuk line, albeit Franzen is the blue-collar element to the trio. He should be able to tack on 10-15 points to the 30 he bagged last season.
If he can finagle his way into the top six forwards, maybe you have something, but the Red Wings still have too much talent in front of him for that to be all that likely. Let Franzen prove it on your waiver wire before you consider a move. If everything works perfectly for him, his upside is 35-40 points.
Rangy center could have a shot at a third or fourth-line role in 2005-06. We'll see what he brings to the table in training camp. Based on his entry-level deal, the Red Wings see him more as a project than a plug-and-play model.