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Pro/No :: Mike Modano

In the coming weeks, we’re teaming with our friends at Winging it in Motown to break down each of the Red Wings’ impending free agents. At the end of each breakdown, you’ll have a chance to give your vote: are you Prodano… or Nodano? We’ll compile all of the data over 48 hours and report back about where the community sits on each of the potential departures.

But first, a little background information about the Red Wings’ salary cap situation heading into 2011-12. With 11 forwards (including Jan Mursak, but excluding Cory Emmerton), the Wings have committed just under $31.5M on the front end. With Jimmy Howard and four defenders, there’s just under $16M committed to the rear. That’s a total of $47.5M of the projected $62M salary cap.

The Red Wings will have about $14M to play with — and that’s to fill the holes on the forward units, sign (or promote) another three defenseman, and find a backup goaltender. If Nicklas Lidstrom returns, he’ll command the lion’s share of that pool, so big name free agents like Brad Richards are absolutely out. However, the Wings have proven time and time again that they can work magic without much cap space, and we should all have faith that GM Ken Holland and braintrust will deliver another stellar roster by the time camp rolls around.

Without further ado, our first free agent up for pro/no debate:

Mike Modano, center, #90
40-years-old (turning 41 in June)
6’3″ :: 210 lbs
21 NHL seasons (1 with Detroit)
From Westland, MI

Regular Season — 40 games played, 4 goals, 11 assists, 8 penalty minutes, -4, 12:26 average time on ice.
Playoffs — 2 games played, 0 goals, 1 assist, 0 penalty minutes, +1, 10:13 average time on ice.

On August 5th, the Red Wings signed local hero Mike Modano to a one-year contract worth $1.25M in base salary with the opportunity to make an additional $500,000 in performance bonuses. Of those bonuses, he met two: 40 games played ($150,000) and round 1 playoff win ($125,000) making the total he earned in one season with the Red Wings $1,525,000.

As of July 1st, he will be an unrestricted free agent.

Prior to his wrist injury (which was sustained on November 26th), Modano had played in all twenty of the Wings’ games. He returned on February 26th, playing 20 of the team’s 21 remaining games, missing only April 3rd against Minnesota (the second half of a back-to-back) as a healthy scratch.

However, he seemed to lose his spot in the lineup for the post-season. He was a healthy scratch for 9 of the 11 games Detroit played — spelling an injured Johan Franzen for Game 4 against Phoenix, and again in Game 6 against San Jose.

With a full complement of players, Modano found himself in healthy scratch territory — rotating with Kris Draper for the final few games of the second round. If Franzen were healthy, it’s likely that neither Modano nor Draper would be in the lineup.

1) He’s a hometown boy, hailing from nearby Westland (or Livonia, depending on who’s telling the story).
2) Despite his age, he’s still damn fast and a wonderfully skilled skater and a legitimate threat.
3) He knows how to win — and become a valuable member of the team even if he’s not in the lineup each game.

1) Never really became accustomed to the Red Wings style of play, but was improving each game until his injury.
2) His fire may have been extinguished being a healthy scratch at the most important part of the season.
3) Considering his age, recent injury history, and offensive production, the Red Wings can likely replace him without having to pay $1M.

Before the playoffs even began, he sounded like he was leaning toward retiring no matter what the season’s outcome was. Following the second round exit, he says that he’s “75% sure” that he’s going to call it quits, adding that “there’s a high probability my playing days are over.” If this is, indeed, the end of his playing career, he’ll likely return to Dallas and become a member of the Stars front office.

If he does decide to play, he can’t expect to make more than he did this season — and would likely have to take a pay cut to continue playing in Detroit or anywhere else he’d consider. Given his history, however, it might be insulting to offer under a million. If he were to continue, I’d have to guess he’d sign somewhere around $1M – $1.25M

Internal :: Jan Murak and Cory Emmerton are potentially ready to play similar third/fourth line minutes next season.
External :: Upcoming free agents of Mike Modano’s ilk (meaning, age and salary range) are Mark Recchi (BOS), Doug Weight (NYI), and John Madden (MIN).


Photo Credit: Carlos Osorio, AP

15 thoughts on “Pro/No :: Mike Modano”

  1. I voted no.   First off, I have no doubt that Mike Modano (if he’s willing to sign for another season) can probably still bring a talent level higher than most of the guys that Holland would consider putting in his place.  Unfortunately, a lot of what I saw out of him late in the season said to me more that the fire is going out rather than he’s a mature adult who is cognizant of his diminished abilities.

    I think I would rather have a young and hungry guy down on the third or fourth line than a veteran who never quite “fit” with the club, but could work on any of the team’s four lines.  Giving up Modano would certainly mean giving up a bit of depth, but I’m ok with that.

  2. No way. We need to get some of our youth up from Grand Rapids, if only just to see what we’ve got, and if it’s got the stuff to stick. Modano clogs up the depth chart, and while the name means alot, the on-ice play doesn’t really do all that much to warrant his spot on the roster. I really think he shouldn’t be re-signed, but then again I’m not Ken Holland.

    Though if I was, Jan Mursak gets a shot next year. He’s quick, he’s got some offensive upside, and we’d finally get a long look at him. At the future.

    Happy trails Mikey Mo.

  3.  Until the playoffs, I would have said he would be back.  I’ve never seen such a mishandling of a player after that point.  I have no idea who’s mother he fucked to get on the Wings’ shitlist, but it was downright embarrassing   

  4.  I also voted no, and that’s not an indictment of the player. Mike Modano’s been a hero of mine since I was a little guy, and I DO think he still has something to offer the game of hockey. However, it seemed that his passion for the game may have waned, and I don’t know if that’s the injury’s fault… or his own reflection on his career… or (like Chris mentioned) his mismanagement by the staff. Whatever the reason, he doesn’t seem to WANT to play anymore, or at least would have to think about it. When we have guys like Mursak knocking on the door (and, for the record, he’s basically been promised a roster slot), it may be time to let players like Mike Modano head off into the sunset, gracefully. 

    That said, if he did get an offer — and DID make peace with the fact that he’d be a healthy scratch often — I’d have no problem seeing #90 back at all. 

  5. i boted yes.  hes mike frickin modano.  however 1 mill is a lot of money.  if the wings could sign him for less than that and he wants to play they should absolutely let him play.  i think his scoring ability would be a greater asset then any rookies energy can provide.  (think about helm on a breakaway…)   plus if he can rotate out with someone thats young/speedy here and there its a win win.

  6.  Nope for me! –> Love Modano but its too much effort to fit him into the Wings’ system – especially given his age and the fact that I want to see the young guns get some experience and blaze for another 20 years of Playoff Hockey 😀

    Wish that the Mikey Mo could have worked out better but – we tried; …as for Free Agents – I had my eye on Madden as well

  7. I voted yes. Give the guy another chance. True, he was looking a little out of place with the system, but I think that being healthy a whole season will restore some of the fire. While it would be good to see guys like Mursak play a little, more seasoning is always good. Maybe, we can work out a 2-kids-and-a-goat line, which I assume is a compromise everyone will love. And all this is besides for the fact that I’m seriously biased in the direction of Prodano. 

  8. I voted yes. Give the guy another chance. True, he was looking a little out of place with the system, but I think that being healthy a whole season will restore some of the fire. While it would be good to see guys like Mursak play a little, more seasoning is always good. Maybe, we can work out a 2-kids-and-a-goat line, which I assume is a compromise everyone will love. And all this is besides for the fact that I’m seriously biased in the direction of Prodano. 

  9. I voted no, the Red Wings are already fragile and another 41 year old doesn’t help. I would rather see that ~1.25m be spent on a Dallas Drake type player or one of the GR up-comers.

  10.  I added a ‘no’ vote as well. He may have backed off of the pre-playoff retirement talk a bit, but a 25% chance of his choosing to return doesn’t inspire much confidence in his desire to force himself into the line-up if he’s given the chance. If he had said something along the lines of ‘yeah, this season didn’t go as planned, but I’m committed to giving it another go and retiring on a higher note than this’, then I’d be fine with Holland making an offer for his services. And who knows- maybe bridges were burned, or at least singed, with Detroit management through the playoffs, and if he does play, he tests the water elsewhere. Despite the intangibles and sentiment involved, his 4 goals are easy to make up for.

  11. Crater from SoCal

     No. His will to play is gone. He had a rough break, but even before the injury he just didn’t seem like this was what made him happy. If he isn’t happy and he’s just doing it for a paycheck then he isn’t giving it his all. Thats how the season felt from him. Didn’t train in the summer because he was still deciding if he’d play. Probably would do the same now. If you’re 40(1) years old the last thing you need to do is take a break. Thats when things go wrong. 

  12.  Definitely should resign him- not only for guidance for the youngsters, but also because he can still play. He’s a playmaker. Look at the room he created for Datsyuk in two games when he was on his line in the playoffs. Sure, he’s past his prime, but he’s still a contributor. I respect Babcock, but not playing him and letting Hudler and Miller play instead was a major mistake.

  13. I’m a no as well. It’s time to see some kids play, we’ve got more veteran leadership than any other team in the league. I’m looking forward to seeing Mursak and Emmerton, and they’re a hell of a lot cheaper than Mo. I mean, if we want to see an old guy play out one more year, I’d rather see Drapes and Ozzie come back, or maybe even bring in Weight! (that’s just a ridiculous dream, I know)

  14. It sounds like he’s calling it quits, and with the injuries he’s suffered I highly doubt he would come back anyways. Take that comfy job in Star’s front office Modano. Be smart and let some young blood in.

  15. I vote no he’s already said that he’s retiring and most likely Is looking for an front office job with the stars!! 

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