Sunday, September 13, 2009

2009-2010 Player Profiles: Patrick Eaves...

OK, it’s that time of year. Hockey’s so close that you can almost taste it. By my count, there are 19 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:

Patrick Eaves

2008-2009 Regular Season: 74 GP, 6-8-14, +/- 7, 31 PIM
2009 Playoffs: 18 GP, 1-2-3, +/- -1, 13 PIM

Season Highlight: I have no idea, so I'm going with the prospect of a couple of years worth of free money thanks to his buyout.
Season Lowlight: Probably getting traded for just so he could be bought out.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know a whole lot about Eaves. He spent last season in Carolina, which isn’t exactly on my radar. I do, however, know that he was a first round draft pick who hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations folks had for his performance. The parallels that have been drawn (by everyone from fans to management) to Dan Cleary’s situation a few years ago are quite intriguing, and his bargain basement contract is a plus.

I honestly don’t know what to expect from Eaves this season. I’m totally sold on the idea of him being a reclamation project, but never having seen him play more than a couple of games, I don’t have any idea what we’re looking at here. The signings of Williams and Bertuzzi have also thrown his amount of ice time into question. I haven’t quite figured out where Eaves is going to fit into the lineup yet, and that’s obviously going to have an impact on the amount of production he achieves. I would say that his threshold for success this season would be to have a solid defensive year while netting 5-10 goals. A lot of people have him penciled in for 15 or so, but I’m not sure that he’s going to be a regular in the lineup unless someone gets injured. I really do feel, though, that if he can resurrect his career anywhere, it’s Detroit. The style the Wings play tends to bring out the best in players who buy into the system. There’s no pressure to go out and be the star every night. The just focus on defense first and let their offense stem from that.

What he needs to do to make me happy: Live up to my idealized view of him as a worthy and noble reclamation project.

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