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By Jeffrey Otto
Detroit Red Wings Writer
Washington Capitals Writer
With one year left on his current contract, and saying that he wasn’t even considering testing the free agent market next year, Luke Glendening was happy to sign-on for four more years in Hockeytown. “For me, growing up in Michigan, being a lifelong, truly a fan of the Red Wings and to have an opportunity to stay here with these guys that I’ve started to grow up with kind of, it was just something that I couldn’t pass up on” Glendening was quoted as saying on the Wings official website.
A native of Grand Rapids, Glendening was a walk-on at Michigan where he earned a scholarship and captained for his final two years. He went undrafted after college in 2012 and spent the next two seasons moving from the AHL Providence Bruins to the ECHL Toledo Walleye to the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins. The latter campaign saw him raise the Calder Cup in 2013. The Wings called him up during the 2013-14 season and there he has remained and continued to impress.
Glendening is often characterized as a player whose strength lies not in the usual numbers used to measure NHL success, but in the intangibles. Glendening’s numbers are good but they’re not spectacular: 21 points (8 goals, 13 assists) this past season in 81 games and 18 points (12 goals, 6 assists) in 82 games in the previous season. They’re not HOF stats, but they’re certainly nothing to dismiss, either. At the very least he’s set to become the Wing’s next Iron Man with games-played numbers like those!
The exit of center Pavel Datsyuk to the KHL in June meant not just a loss of HOF-worthy stats, but those intangibles which the Wings’ Magic Man also brought to the ice. Glendening shines in the face-off circle, winning draws with a .522 face-off winning percentage in his career. He’s also valuable when it comes to killing penalties and harassing opponents. “Anything I can do to frustrate an opponent, doesn’t necessarily mean fighting, just frustrating them by working hard, being hard on them . . .” Intangible, until you’re the one picking yourself up off the ice or sitting in the penalty box.
Hockeytown is well accustomed to star players with gaudy stats. Glendening will most likely never be counted among such elites. Instead, he will continue win draws, draw penalties and create space on the ice for those elites to do what they do. In the end, his Stanley Cup Championship ring will be no less shiney than theirs.