DETROIT - Johan Franzen became the target of Red Wings fans' frustrations during the team's first round series loss.
Including the playoffs, the 6'3" forward ended the season on a 13-game streak without a goal. Looking further back, he had only one goal in his last 23 games.
Many fans spent the last week calling for the team to use its compliance buyout to rid itself of Franzen, and the 11-year contract he signed in 2009.
Ken Holland has other ideas.
"I don't have any plans to buy Mule out," the Red Wings general manager said Tuesday.
"I know he didn't score down the stretch. I know he didn't score in the playoffs, (but) we had a lot of guys who didn't score in the playoffs."
He explained his rationale, looking at other teams with "streaky scorers."
"I like Mule. He's a big body. When he gets on a roll, he can carry a team."
Holland said the days of seeking out a 60-goal scorer are over. The new strategy, he said, is to find multiple 20-goal scorers. The successful teams in the NHL have been built in that mold.
"Mule has the potential to score 25 (goals). We need more players that can score 25," Holland explained.
"We need more Mule's."
The Swedish forward is owed $17.5 million over the next six seasons. His annual cap hit is $3.95 million, a number considered by some a reasonable number for a 25-goal scorer.
"I think there's this perception that July 1st free agents, there's this hockey store, this fantasy hockey league that I'm running, playing in and we can go get superstars. Those days are over," Holland said.