Luke Glendening Signs Four-Year Extension

On the eve of unrestricted free agency next summer, the Red Wings locked up another bottom six forward to go along with Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader in the form of true fourth liner, Luke Glendening.

Though not his game, Glendening did have a career year offensively this season with 21 points. He was *the* mainstay on Detroit’s penalty kill logging 254:25, the most in the entire league among forwards and  89 minutes more than the next Detroit forward, Riley Sheahan. He was the best Wings forward in the dot winning 55% of his draws (53% in D-Zone) but always seemed to get hemmed in his own zone posting a CF% of 44%. One may say that this number may have to do with the fact that he started 70% of his shifts in Detroit’s defensive zone, but his possession numbers have not changed much from his career number of 44.2% since he’s come into the League and his draw ratios have changed. In addition, not many grinders are possession gods, but let’s take a look at the comparables to Glendening’s contract provided by General Fanager.

Trevor Lewis and Jay Beagle combine for a 50.4% career CF% and Eric Fehr has scored 20 goals before, with all of them playing on true contending teams. Though Glendening is far superior in the draw, his biggest problem is getting out of the zone if Detroit turns the puck over or if he loses the face-off. Is the contract a slight overpayment? It’s hard to say right now with Glendening only being 26, but if he doesn’t improve other areas of his game, it will look like one.

A favorite of Mike Babcock and now Jeff Blashill, his total ice time is pretty elevated racking up 14+ minutes per game the past two seasons. Last year, he played more than Tomas Tatar (14:21) and Andreas Athanasiou (9:01). The former did have a disappointing season but was one of two 20-goal scorers on the team posting a cool 57% CF%. He did take 46 less shots but could not find any chemistry along with the rest of the team for most of the year due to shifts in ice time and line juggling.

The latter was a rookie and defensive work in progress, but was probably the most electrifying player on a team that scored 13 goals below the league average with more than 50 one-goal games. Athanasiou scored nine in 37 games (Henrik Zetterberg had 13 in 45 more games played) logging five minutes less per game than Glendening on the third or fourth line, posting a 51% CF%. Sure, their roles were different with the Grand Rapids native starting mostly in the defensive zone and Athanasiou starting the same ratio of shifts in the offensive zone (70% to 30%). However, with the impact of the Barrie Colt graduate and the speed game Pittsburgh won the Stanley Cup with, the difference in ice time has to change this season. Every team will be wanting to emulate them.

Glendening does bring the intangibles that every coach and general manager raves about, but on the ice, he’ll win draws, hit, but little else to help in the transition game. This is yet another long-term deal for character players to show the up and coming Detroit Red Wings core the “Red Wing way” forming a trio with and Helm and Abdelkader for the next five years at least.

That could work if they play minutes that define their roles, but a $10 million is a big investment for three grinders, the latest being “backhand” Luke.

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