Pavel Datsyuk: Is the Magic Man Overrated?

Ryan Lambert, columnist for Yahoo Sports’ Puck Daddy blog, posted a couple of interesting tweets Tuesday morning regarding Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk.

While I don’t agree with his overall assessment of Datsyuk, Lambert isn’t completely off base with his tweets.

So Datsyuk is still a good player in the eyes of Lambert, which is the part I agree with him on. However, Lambert quickly followed up this tweet with another.

It’s true: Datsyuk has had bad luck with injuries, especially last year when he missed 37 games, mostly due to knee issues. The unfortunate thing for Datsyuk is he just turned 36 in July, and he’s closer to the end of his career than the beginning of it.

[Related: Top 5 Overrated NHL Players]

To make his case for why he thinks Datsyuk is not a top-10 center, Lambert listed 10 centers who he believes are better than the Magic Man.

Ask any Red Wings fan, and you can believe they will claim blasphemy on Lambert’s opinion. However, Lambert isn’t exactly out of line here. Yes, Datsyuk is still a good player, but he isn’t the same player he used to be six to eight years ago when he consistently put up 85+ points per season.

With that being said, point totals should not be the only thing that determines whether or not a player is good. Datsyuk does a lot of other things better than most of the players on Lambert’s list, such as winning faceoffs, being a great two-way player and making his teammates around him better.

In fact, Datsyuk had a better faceoff percentage last year than Sidney Crosby, Anze Kopitar, Steven Stamkos, Evgeni Malkin, Ryan Getzlaf, John Tavares and Tyler Seguin and more takeaways than Jonathan Towes, Patrice Bergeron, Crosby, Kopitar, Stamkos, Malkin and Getzlaf despite missing 37 games.

Here’s a highlight reel of Datsyuk’s 2013-14 season, which includes more than just goal scoring.

As far as Lambert’s list goes, I would put Datsyuk ahead of Getzlaf, Tavares, Seguin and Joe Thornton right behind Bergeron. He deserves to be in the list of top-10 centers in the league, but he isn’t the best at his position.

So is Datsyuk overrated? No, not by any means. I think if you ask any unbiased fan of the game, they will tell you Datsyuk is still a really good player. But by no means is he the greatest right now, and I think most people realize that.

There are a lot of great centers in the league, and Datsyuk is one of them, not the one.



9 thoughts on “Pavel Datsyuk: Is the Magic Man Overrated?”

  1. I must conclude that mr. lambert really doesn’t know a great deal about hockey. What is truly amazing is that some organization actually gives him voice by allowing him to express his opinions in a public forum. I think any team in the league, ANY TEAM IN THE LEAGUE, would love to have Pavel on their team, even though he is not 37 years old.

  2. Blah, Blah, Blah.. Must be a slow news day. Just like Barry Sanders was in football. Datsyuk is a highlight real every time he steps on the ice.

  3. Lambert has notoriously poor track record of calling anything in Hockey. He is rarely on base (except for the obvious) and predictions and statements are usually wrong.

    His tweet has this order for the best centers in Hockey right now:

    “for me it’s prob. crosby, toews, kopitar, stamkos, malkin, bergeron, getzlaf, tavares, seguin, thornton, datsyuk, backstrom, sedin, duchene”

    That might be the worst rating order I have seen in years. Datsyuk too low and Seguin @ 9 is a joke (talk about overrated). Getzlag @ 8 is probably the most laughable on the list.

  4. Why are we even giving Ryan Lambert’s opinion even the slightest consideration? If anyone has read even half the bs this dope writes, then they know that, besides being rabidly anti-Red Wings, he’s generally just a know-nothing when it comes to hockey. From what I understand, he’s not even that well-liked by most other nitwit hockey bloggers, and that’s saying something.

  5. Not only is Datsyuk UNDERRATED, he’s probably one of the most skilled players to ever be on the ice. What he needs are stronger teammates to get him the puck so he can dangle-dangle.

    • Stronger teammates certainly will help, and they got some in Nyquist, Tatar, Mantha, etc. Problem is, these guys take time to develop, and Datsyuk only has three years left on his contract and has expressed interest in playing in the KHL.

  6. Biased Wing fan here and I can admit that Pav may have lost a step though to call him overrated is BS. Those tweets are just a ploy from Lambert and Search Daddy to upset Wing fans and get more clicks. It never fails. When hits are low for the month, just put up a derogatory article pertaining to the Wings. It brings out our foil hat wearing fan base like flies to isht. And that’s exactly what Search Daddy is. Isht. I have not visited that site in three years.

  7. And most of these highlights were with Detroit on a virtual penalty kill seeing as how Pavel had to carry that dead weight Bertuzzi as a linemate for much of the season.

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