Things are about to get very interesting in Hockeytown. Kirk Maltby, who had been weighing shoulder surgery and – by doing so – would solve all of the Red Wings’ cap issues, has decided he would prefer to wait until the season ends to proceed. Operation: Jailsexed.
Through Helene St. James of the Freep, Maltby said had a third cortisone shot (which is the last one he’s allowed to receive for the year) right before the Olympic Break, and he hopes that it’ll get him through the final 21 games of the regular season and the playoffs:
We’ll see how it feels over the next few days and how it reacts to getting back on the ice, but I would love to play the rest of the season and into the playoffs.
This is big news because when Andreas Lilja is cleared to return to the Wings (which, apparently, he hasn’t been), the Wings will need to clear about $700,000 in cap space. The veteran Grind Liner knows that he’s still an option to be moved — since he makes $883,333 — but says he can’t worry about that:
That’s not my department, to worry about the salary cap and who may have to be moved. I know we’re right there and if Lils comes off, something has to be done. Basically right now, though, it’s a lot of what-ifs. I’m a realist in that I know I’m on th etail end of my career, but I really want to play. I felt like this year, as far as my legs and my body, it’s held up pretty good. With the way the league is now, as long as you can skate, you’re able to play. I feel I can still contribute and help this organization win, not just this year, but maybe one more year. I do feel like I can fit that role of being a leader and still contributing in a limited role, especially as a penalty killer.
If Maltby does play out the season, and Lilja is cleared to return, the following players might start to feel the fire creeping up on dat ass:
Todd Bertuzzi :: $1,500,000
Jason Williams :: $1,500,000
Jonathan Ericsson :: $900,000
Kirk Maltby :: $883,333
Brett Lebda :: $650,000 (he does not clear the space on his own)
Derek Meech :: $483,333 (he does not clear the space on his own)
So….what happens? Does Hollis get his wish and see Jason Williams depart via trade? Do the rest of us FINALLY get to rid ourselves of Jonathan “frolicking” Ericsson?
It seems to me that most likely option is that Ericsson is traded. He has more upside than either Lebda or Meech, and clears the necessary space. I would be surprised if Williams goes simply because he can actually score goals if he isn't out with a broken leg.
We saw that during the flames game.
Also, did you ever think about how much our PK and general defensive play picked up while Ericsson was out in IR? Even though we were still playing with Lebda, Meech, and Janik/Kindl? hmm…
Well this was unexpected…
Maybe Lilja's not as close to being cleared as we thought?
Nah, somebody's getting moved and he's definitely a blueliner, perhaps he's two people, but not in a cool 'Fight Club' sort of way.
well this is interesting:
Crazy, isn't it? I've put off writing a "Oops, scratch that" article in fears I'll have to write another one for THAT one…
It does seem likely that Maltby is headed to surgery, as expected, and Helene St. James was covering her ass.
I would be shocked to see Malts play again this year after Lilja returns. I love the old warhorse and as far as I'm concerned, he can stay as long as he wants, but I worry this is turning into a Pulp Fiction-style "in the 5th, your ass goes down" scenario.
Sidenote – I have a feeling it might be longer than we think until Lilja is back.
I love Maltby and I think he's a great guy and an important player, whether he's out on the penalty kill, scoring goals or just being a presence in the locker room. That being said, I really think he's going to have the surgery and we'll see Lilja back. I know Malts said it's not his responsibility to take care of the salary cap but the man who does take care of the salary cap has been known to be quite… influential over player's decisions.
Also, whose to say that he doesn't have the surgery now in order to come back next season? He said himself that he feels good enough to continue, possibly past the season. He's a good guy to have around and I don't think the organization is going to throw him out on his ass, by any means.
My gut feeling is Lilja in and Maltby gets surgery but that won't be announced until the very end of the Olympic break.
Orrrrrrrrr… this is all a diversion tactic away from some monster Kenny Holland trade. I wouldn't put it past him at all.
Update: Holland tells Malts either he is waived or gets surgery. Kirk takes the smart path.