Throughout the week, I’ve been exploring a handful of upcoming free agents and trying my best to predict their chances of being re-signed. Later this afternoon, I’ll post what I feel is a fairly accurate peek at the 2010-11 Red Wings. To the surprise of absolutely no one, I’ve already got my chart ready to go, have the numbers in a spreadsheet and it’s just about ready to share with you fine folks.
Alright, I won’t go as far into each of the following as I did with Eaves, Miller, and Lidstrom (not that those were novels or anything).
Lilja :: Assuming his return is on par with his play before the concussion, I’ll bet you anything he’s re-signed for similar money. Losing Lebda and Meech (more on that in a second), solidifying the blueline will be priority number one this off-season.
Lebda :: I’m not even sure he survives the trade deadline. An unrestricted free agent-to-be, he’s almost sure to be gone.
Meech :: I bet he’s qualified this summer and then offered up in trade, or kept in a 8th defenseman/14th forward capacity since he doesn’t bitch.
Tollefsen :: Similar to Meech, he’ll be a restricted free agent, so all that needs to be done is send a qualifying offer and he remains property of the Red Wings. If another team is interested, the Wings can accept draft pick compensation if they choose not to match an offer.
Janik and Delmore :: these kinds of depth guys are always available in July and August, so I don’t think there will be a rush to re-sign either. Janik played well in his few games in Detroit, so if he’s willing to take a similar two-way deal, I bet he’s given an offer.
Bertuzzi :: If you asked me in December or January, I’d say he was a shoo-in for an extension. Now, I’m not as sure. There’s definitely still a chance he’s offered a contract, but isn’t it just as likely that — like, oh, I dunno, 2007 — he signs somewhere else for eleven more cents? More on him this weekend…
Holmstrom :: He’s re-signed. Count on it. I bet he even takes a lower salary to stay in Detroit.
Helm :: He’s restricted, so it isn’t dire that he’s re-signed immediately. All I know is that I want him re-signed for the rest of his natural life, and two or three years of the afterlife. Seeing him in another uniform, ever, will leave me feeling jailsexed against my will.
Williams :: The guy that was nearly a casualty of the roster crunch leading up to the Olympics is unlikely to be re-signed (thus leading to the speculation that he’s a trade piece).
Maltby :: The shoulder injury thing certainly throws a monkey wrench into the situation. I wouldn’t have thought that he had a contract waiting for him at year’s end — despite seeing the best hockey from him in years. But now I feel that, if he decides to cut his season short by taking the surgery now, the Wings wouldn’t allow him to call it a career (even a Wings career) like that. I have to think he signs on to be a potential 13th guy for one more season.
Abdelkader :: He’s an RFA. And he’ll be in Detroit for a long time.
May :: HA! All jokes aside, he seems like a great person and wonderful off-ice leader. His best frolicking days are behind him, and I can say with 100% certainty that there’s 0% chance he’s signed. Ignore the math.
Ritola :: He’s restricted, like Helm and Meech, and I can just about guarantee he’s signed. According to NHLSCAP, players that sign their first pro contract at 20 (like Ritola), have four years before they’re waiver eligible. In theory, he can be re-signed and assigned to Grand Rapids and play the role of Justin Abdelkader next season.
Stay tuned… TPL’s 2010-11 Red Wings roster is coming up in just a little bit…