Building the New Dynasty

UPDATE: The reason Jiri Hudler and Tomas Holmstrom aren’t listed anywhere below is because they’re both unrestricted free agents, meaning that they’re no longer Red Wings unless they’re re-signed. Homer might retire (and if he doesn’t, he should have), and Jiri Hudler may chase dollars elsewhere. They don’t have trade value because they’ll be free to whoever wants them on July 1st. Sure, you could trade their negotiating rights, but certainly not for what you’re hoping to get to plug these holes. Last year, James Wisniewski drew a sixth round pick in exchange for the negotiating rights… Hudler won’t even draw that. Holmstrom, God love him, might have to call it a career and we’ll miss him dearly. But the more things change, the more we’ll have to deal with saying goodbye to long-loved heroes like him.

For some perspective, I’ll send it to Nashville Predators head coach Barry Trotz:

We used to look up at Detroit, feeling that we were a little inferior in terms of talent or whatever it may be. I think we’ve grown to the point where we have a great respect for the Detroit Red Wings but we’re not in awe of them.

And therein lies the rub. No one’s afraid of the Red Wings anymore. They’re totally predictable and no longer have an aura of mystique. Coach Babcock wants to get deeper (after mentioning that the Predators were the deeper team), and I’ve already called for some roster movement. While I certainly don’t have all the answers, I think we’re at a place where we can look at this logically and objectively. Let it be known that I absolutely hate playing these games because it never works out the way we think it’s going to… and it’s (essentially) a waste of time. But whatever, it’s April 22nd and all we have is time thanks to our underachieving Red Wings.

First of all, we know a few guys aren’t going anywhere: Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, and Bertuzzi are either untouchable, have extraordinarily long (and horrible) contracts, or have NTCs. Bertuzzi isn’t a top six kind of player any more and can contribute from the third line:

xxx — Datsyuk — Franzen
xxx — Zetterberg — xxx
xxx — xxx — Bertuzzi
xxx — xxx — xxx

Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader are restricted free agents and will be signed, you can just about guarantee that. Let’s slot them into the third and fourth line center roles, shall we?

xxx — Datsyuk — Franzen
xxx — Zetterberg — xxx
xxx — Helm — Bertuzzi
xxx — Abdelkader — xxx

Goose Nyquist proved he belongs on a scoring line and perhaps this early-exit wake-up call will be what the doctor ordered for Mr. Babcock to actually give a rookie a shot like that. Great chemistry with Pavel, let’s throw him there:

Nyquist — Datsyuk — Franzen
xxx — Zetterberg — xxx
xxx — Helm — Bertuzzi
xxx — Abdelkader — xxx

The ideal way of building a scoring line is to have two supremely skilled guys (one playmaker, and a trigger man) and team them up with someone to make some space for them. In other words, Nyquist and Datsyuk with Johan Franzen creating the time and space. For the second line, Zetterberg is your playmaker and any new top line player would be his trigger man. If the Wings CAN somehow pry Zach Parise (though I think it’s unlikely) or Alex Semin (who’s a head case), he’d be slotted in there along side a new big man? There are a few big men available via the free agent market, but they’re old(er) and I don’t know how much that’d differentiate from the current Wings. Guys like Doan and Smyth… they’d be traditional Wing targets, but it’s time to look past that philosophy. I know he’s hated in L.A., but a guy like Dustin Penner could be a potential Red Wing reclamation project. Who knows…

Nyquist — Datsyuk — Franzen
Parise/Semin? — Zetterberg — New Big Man?
xxx — Helm — Bertuzzi
xxx — Abdelkader — xxx

You’ll notice that Valtteri Filppula hasn’t slotted in yet. And it really burns me to have to write that because I love that kid. But with so many, as JJ said in the comments of the last post, middle six forwards, they start to become redundant. Zetterberg isn’t going anywhere… which means Flip might have to. I’d be heartbroken, but he might have to be, by default, the body that’s moved via trade (along with prospects and/or picks) to get a trigger man or big man for the second line.

Drew Miller has more than earned his stripes and deserves a spot moving forward, not to mention he’s under contract, can contribute from the lower lines, and too much turnover isn’t what the doctor ordered.

Nyquist — Datsyuk — Franzen
Parise/Semin? — Zetterberg — New Big Man?
xxx — Helm — Bertuzzi
xxx — Abdelkader — Miller

That leaves two slots open (along with two healthy scratch slots) and a returning Dan Cleary, Jan Mursak, Cory Emmerton, Valtteri Filppula, and a bevy of prospects and free agent targets to fill them. I think that Emmerton will be held onto (he’s a center, so unless they can find another center they like better, why not hold on to the league minimum guy that already knows the system, since he won’t be expected to play many minutes anyway?). Same goes for Jan Mursak, who really hasn’t had a chance to show what he’s got. For giggles, let’s throw them in the press box for this game — and Dan Cleary rounding out that third line:

Nyquist — Datsyuk — Franzen
Parise/Semin? — Zetterberg — New Big Man?
Cleary — Helm — Bertuzzi
xxx — Abdelkader — Miller
(Emmerton/Mursak)

That leaves us one slot, on the fourth line. It’s entirely possible they promote from within… someone like Tomas Tatar (who, like Nyquist, isn’t built for that role) or Joakim Andersson. Nobody else on the farm is ready for even that role… unless they really jump the gun on Riley Sheahan (but, to be clear, he’ll need some seasoning in Grand Rapids). Unless someone comes from Europe and blows the doors off of things (Teemu Pulkkinen, Calle Jarnkrok… neither of which is likely), they’ll be looking to the market again.

FORWARD CHECKLIST
:: Top Six Trigger Man
:: Big Man to Protect Top Six
:: Fourth Line Energy Winger

FORWARD SPARE PARTS
:: Valtteri Filppula (the only movable part with any trade value whatsoever)
:: Johan Franzen (if there’s another CBA buyout window or someone, somehow, somewhere takes on that albatross of a contract)
:: Patrick Eaves (who is hoping to be ready for training camp, but may be redundant with Miller… also, who takes him given his health?)
:: Potentially Dan Cleary, given his health and age, etc.
:: Prospects like Landon Ferraro, Tomas Tatar (yes, he’s expendable), Joakim Andersson.

———–

Well that was fun… how about the blueline? There are at least three holes currently, and some will sort themselves out… but the only guys that are signed for next season are Niklas Kronwall, Ian White, Jonathan Ericsson, and Jakub Kindl:

Kronwall — xxx
White — xxx
Kindl — Ericsson
xxx

Brendan Smith will almost certainly be on this team when the season opens. Whether he’s a top six guy or the de-facto 7th is yet to be seen, but I’d bet dollars to donuts he’s in the opening night lineup:

Kronwall — xxx
White — xxx
Smith — Ericsson
Kindl

Nicklas Lidstrom is in control of his own fate. If he wants to return, he’ll be on the team. Period. He may not be the #1 guy any longer, but he’ll play as long as he wants to. Whether or not he wants to is another story, and we’ll have to wait a few weeks to find out. They’ll definitely chase free agents replacements, but it’s quasi-slim-pickings this summer. Guys like Ryan Suter, Dennis Wideman, Pavel Kubina, and Jaroslav Spacek will be available and some may be able to fill that void a little bit.

Kronwall — new big timer
White — Lidstrom
Smith — Ericsson
Kindl

It’s entirely possible the Wings go to camp with more blueliners than they can use. There are a handful of top six guys available, but all they’d do is displace someone like Kindl. That list is fairy impressive, with Greg Zanon, Johnny Oduya, Chris Campoli, Milan Jurcina, and — blast from the past — Sheldon Souray on that list.

The restricted free agent defensemen is an incredible list, but I doubt any are available (unless their teams decide to trade their negotiating rights for whatever reason): Shea Weber, Mike Green, Matt Niskanen, and Erik Karlsson are in need of a new contract. I bet that zero of them make it to the market. Another RFA is Kyle Quincey… who I refuse to believe was acquired simply to be a rental. His play in the post-season wasn’t anything to write home about and he may be a tradeable asset at this point, particularly since it’ll take Ericsson-like money just to qualify him. That’s ugly. Also, who does he slot in for? You don’t pay a man 3.5M to sit in the press box. Nevertheless:

Kronwall — new big timer
White — Lidstrom
Smith — Ericsson
Quincey/Kindl?

DEFENSEMAN CHECKLIST
:: Nick Lidstrom’s decision
:: A top-flight defender, Lidstrom or otherwise
:: Another top six that can play NHL minutes

DEFENSE SPARE PARTS
:: Jakub Kindl (he doesn’t have much value on his own, but he could be packaged)
:: Kyle Quincey (may be a desirable piece for the right team)

Let’s posit another dream scenario… I doubt it’s likely because they’re division rivals and the alleged asking price is absolutely absurd (and the Wings simply DON’T have the pieces to make it happen), but Rick Nash is going to be moved at some point. Perhaps the price comes down because the Blue Jackets find zero suitors, but he’d slot in nicely on that other scoring line… potentially as both the big man AND the trigger man. But that’s the kind of move the team needs to become relevant again.

SO, TO RECAP
1. There needs to be changes. And relevant ones.
2. A top six goal scorer is a MINIMUM requirement.
3. They will likely need a big body for the top six, as well.
4. Even if Lidstrom returns, they’d probably like to add a new top defenseman.
5. They will need to allow prospects to actually play if they can.
6. They will be able to move some of our “middle six” guys, even if it means only acquiring draft picks for now.
7. Another bottom pairing defenseman couldn’t hurt.
8. Some of the changes will likely have to happen via trade since the free agent market isn’t exceptional.

9. Valtteri Filppula, Dan Cleary, and Jakub Kindl are the most likely, albeit not terribly likely, trade chips.
10. If someone was willing to take Johan Franzen and Kyle Quincey off of our hands, Godspeed little doodle.
11. The prospects that are worth anything are precisely the guys we can’t move. Jarnkrok, Pulkkinen, Jurco, Sheahan, Nyquist, Smith, and Almquist are dudes who will plug some of the holes that are coming soon.

12. Trading draft picks won’t help. First, the Wings don’t have a first rounder in this year’s draft.
13. This year’s draft sucks anyway.
14. 2013’s Draft will be the jam… the Wings are going to need some more bodies in the cupboard, but it’s the only chip they have.

49 thoughts on “Building the New Dynasty”

    1. No mention of Hudler. Like mentioned yesterday, he’s a UFA and may not figure into the Wings future plans… but he has no trade value and can be replaced… even internally. 

    1. I love Homer. It can’t be understated what he’s brought to this team over the years. But the current incarnation, unfortunately, can’t contribute like would be expected of a new incarnation of the Red Wings. Sad to say he’s probably going to be urged to hang them up. 

  1. Great post.  As I said on Twitter, I’m thinking no Parise, just in case.  I would try to unload Franzen.  Love him, but something’s gotten into his head and maybe he’d find himself on a new team.  And I would unload Hudler.  

    So I’m thinking of Gus with Pav and Bert to be the “big body” on that line. I thought Bert/Pav/Gus had some terrific chemistry for a game or two there, which is why I put Bert on the top line.

    My second line is Sheahan – “big body”/Zetterberg/Filppula – goal scorer (I know I’m reaching a bit here).  

    Then Miller/Helm/Eaves for third line, then Tatar/Abby/Mursak.  Extra forwards: Cleary, Emmerton.  

    Sorry, but I think Lidstrom hangs them up.  So… Kronwall/Suter (don’t know if he’ll want to come, but maybe Nashville won’t be able to afford to keep him), White/Smith, Ericsson/Quincey.  Extra: Kindl (unless we can’t get Suter).  For what it’s worth.  Mostly I want to see some YOUTH in the line up next season. 

    Isn’t this fun?  Probably isn’t what will happen at all, like you said, but what else do we have to think about right now?

    1. Goose-Pav-Bert
      Sheahan-Z-Flip
      Miller-Helm-Eaves
      Tatar-Abby-Mursak
      ?

      Just threw up in my mouth. A lot.
      That combo is miles worse than the one that could barely win a game in the first round of the playoffs

    2. Sheahan is nowhere near ready for the Wings. He only scored 20 goals over 3 seasons at Notre Dame. That’s not enough. He will be good (hopefully) but he needs a minimum of one season but probably two in GR to be ready for the Wings.

  2. Hudler is a UFA and is probably gone.  Also, holy shit.  What if the wings get rid of Quincey?  If they don’t get that first round pick back what a disaster that is for Holland.  Terrible.

  3. what is up with you bloggers thinking gustav is ready for the NHL? why are you so enthralled with him? he needs more time in the minors that is so obvious. he gets pushed off pucks so easily there is no way he can be a top 6 on a puck possession team, and that is what this team is. I dont think a trade for Nash is totally out of the realm of possibilites, this team has pieces to move to get him. I think Iginla is a potential target also. I would love to see parise picked up. As for franzen he is the best bona fide goal scorer this team has year in and year out, but somehow he is still turning into an enigma. hopefully they will find a buyer for him, it would be nice to move him in a package for Nash.

    1. Maybe it’s Nyquist’s ability to show he absolutely can contribute at this level… with the seven points in a handful of minutes (he was the fourth most productive player on the team given his minutes-played and points-produced) and the six points in seven games he had AS A CALL-UP. 

      Not everyone needs time in Grand Rapids. You’ve been brainwashed by this organization that thinks that’s the best philosophy for prospect development, but when was the last time anyone of any value was developed by that philosophy? Henrik Zetterberg or Pavel Datsyuk? Oh wait, no — they spent a grand total of zero days in Grand Rapids.

      Jimmy Howard needed that time… he was a late bloomer. Nyquist is the furthest thing from a late bloomer… he absolutely destroyed NCAA hockey (which is a half-step below the AHL, admittedly), but being named a Hobey Baker finalist twice is insane. None of those guys spend too much time in the AHL, assuming they’re not midgets like Gerbe.

      Iginla would be a wonderful choice for the team, but doesn’t his age concern you in the least? If the Wings are trying to do something different (as I’ve tried to illustrate), acquiring a 35-year-old Iginla may not send the right message. But you’re certainly not wrong… he could be a nice fit. 

      I 100% agree with you re: Franzen. Maybe the Blue Jackets would LOVE to be locked into that contract, giving them a bonafide threat to replace (or start to replace) Nash. Here’s hoping, friend. 

      1. hudler, and fil both spent years in grand rapids, so im not totally brainwashed.  i hear your point about him being too good to be in GR, it just seems like playing a regular first line shift in the AHL would be better than (maybe) forcing him into a position on a top line that hes not really ready for (IMO). or worse having him sit on the bench and not see much ice time which could alternatively hinder his development. What do you think? 

        Iginla’s age is a bit of a concern, yes. He fits the bill for what the team needs now though, grit, leadership, and scoring touch. For the right contract length and price it would be very fitting. Although i think you would have to disagree with this pointing out your philosophy of the wings breaking through their own mold (i.e. picking up aging players in the twilight of their careers.) 

        I think it is a very real possibility to move Franzen in a package for Nash, the only hindrance i can see taking place is that its within the division. 

        1. You’re right about Hudler and Filppula… I was being overdramatic. =)

          My fix to your concerns about Nyquist (and they’re valid ones, to be sure) is to throw him on that line for a few months and see where it goes. He’ll learn on the fly (which, admittedly, isn’t the best way to learn the physical game… but if you’re going to learn to play against men… may as well jump right into the fire if you have the chops for it). If it’s not working out, there’s no reason you can’t bump him off of that line OR send him to Grand Rapids. Regardless of how many games he plays in the NHL this season (or next, really), he won’t have to clear waivers to be demoted. Why not take a chance for once? Especially since there’s literally no risk.

          My question for you as a Grand Rapids season-ticket holder is this: did he look as dominant on the ice during each game as he does on the season-long score sheet at that level? I never got a chance to see him live (in the AHL, that is), so I can’t speak to that… but his numbers indicate that he may have been on a different level from the majority of the AAA guys (which, let’s be clear, is a damn good level anyway). 

        2. Oh, and the Iginla/Nash stuff — good stuff here. 
          Iginla is certainly intriguing. He DOES kind of go against the grain I’m trying to lay in the post, about making significant changes and abandoning the old way of things, but if you’re going to return to that philosophy, he’s as good of a cog as you could insert into the machine at this point. 

          Being in the Central with the Jackets certainly doesn’t help our chances of landing Rick Nash. However, maybe with some creative realignment coming in the near future, Scott Howson won’t be a penis about it. Also, Franzen might grease the wheels since they don’t have anyone who even ALLEGEDLY is a playoff performer. Tatar is absolutely redundant (and not as good) with Nyquist in the fray — but again, I’ll defer to your thoughts as a Griffs season ticket holder. 

          Franzen + Tatar + maybe a big-body Nash-sized fringe prospect (Tvrdon?)…?

          1. lets be clear, there is a reason why nyquist was starting games in the playoffs while mursak, and even tartar didn’t even get a sniff of ice. Nyquist has the best skill set on the griffins, but tartar really is not that far behind. Nyquist obviously did not appear to be physically dominant out there, but there is a reason why he broke the GR rookie scoring record. But you are certainly right that in the big picture tartar does become redundant, not only because of Nyquist, but also due to Mursak. The bonus is down the road Nyquist will be a top 6 guy, and tartar will be able to fill out a bottom 6 role in the future if he lasts without being moved. I will say twoard the ending months of the season it was apparent that Smith was the most dominant player on the ice. The man amongst boys analogy plays in here, he is NHL ready for sure. Looks like the marinating in the AHL will work again (or so we all hope) :). 

            I feel like that package is right, although with the high esteem the BJ’s have for Nash they will want 3 guys ready to be inserted into the starting lineup every night for him, similar to what they wanted at the trade deadline. In my opinion thats an assine amount for 1 player, but Nash is not your everyday player. Franzen + Tartar + Kindl seems more likely. Would you make that trade? i sure as hell would.

    2. Nyquist is ready. Sorry but he is. Yes, he made some silly mistakes but all young players do. He scored 22 goals in the AHL in 55 games. That’s a ridiculous record. The AHL has nothing left to teach him. Is he 100% ready for the NHL? No. But he’s too good for Grand Rapids.

      1. as a season ticket holder in GR i know all to well about how good he is, dont worry im not bashing him in any sense, merely stating my opinion that he is not quite ready for a top 6 position on this team. If you read my post above to Petrella you will see my concerns with him being moved up pre-maturely to the wings squad full time. 

    1. It’s an unfortunate byproduct of change… I doubt that Hudler will be brought back, and Filppula is — as I mentioned above — the only chip of any value. Gotta give something up to get something back, I suppose. 

  4. Matt Carle is also a free agent this year and I think he’d be a great fit on our blue line.

    For forwards?  I’m pretty much on the Parise-or-bust bandwagon here. I’d take Semin, but man there’s a ton of worry about him just being another Franzen with all the talent in the world and not enough drive to make it work.

    I know that the Wings have the system of a playmaker, a sniper, and a big body, but I think we can keep Filppula with Zetterberg and slot in another playmaker/sniper without having to use that big body. I think the Filppula-Zetterberg-Hudler line this year proved that.  I think with an improved offensive philosophy that concentrates more on in-zone movement and well-timed trips through “the key” (basically the scoring area below the tops of the circles and preferably between the dots) will create a lot of success.  Big bodies are good for opening up space, but strong skating, fast movement, and great core strength (like Datsyuk’s) can do the same thing. 

    I hate to say it, but it may be time to part with Abdelkader to make a bit of a shakeup, even if all is does is shake up the bottom lines. If not that (which I’d be cool with keeping Abby), then Babs needs to be quicker to throw “the rotation” back into it with the bottom-six guys.

    1.  JJ, great post, you are thinking along the same lines that I am. Parise is the only serious forward worth throwing it at in the offseason, and I hope they do just that. For the first time really post-lockout they’ll be able to do this.

      I also agree 100% that Filppula/Z made a dynamite pair and unless you can get a player like Rick Nash, Filppula is well worth his contract for his stellar defense, hard work, and still really good offense, even if it isn’t quite up to the likely unrealistic expectations we’ve pushed upon him.

    2. I’d agree on the point with Z’s line. Honestly, as Z’s career is progressing, he’s showing more that he can kind of replace that big body in the sense as he makes space. I don’t think there’s another player in the league as good as he is at protecting the puck which kind of throws D men off their system at times if they’re not super disciplined. 

    3. GIve me my Matt Carle!!!!!!

      Honestly, he’s a good alternative to Ryan Suter, and will come a lot cheaper. He’s a great two way player and has been one the underrated stars for Philadelphia.

      Make it so.

  5. To follow up, I think the Wings have a lot of good talent that fits in the right places, but that they’re not consistently reminded what it means to do their job. I think Filppula shies away from contact a bit too much in favor of trying to sweep pucks off of sticks and I think Datsyuk accepts contact too much when he has the puck because once he added that surprise body check on defenders, it worked wonders for him for a while and I think he got away from doing enough skating to catch people running around and making them look silly.

    Honestly, if Hudler will come back for a low-enough salary, then I’d take him back with the promise that he’s just going to spend more time with his stick on the ice in the offensive zone (and the concept that maybe Hudler needs to work more as a defensive winger while a speedy player is the cherry-picker on his line. It doesn’t work to spread out the defense when the guy playing in front of your net can get back on Jiri Hudler from his own blue line before he’s finished crossing center ice). 

    Dan Cleary is a big question mark for his salary. If he can stay healthy, I’m ok with the 25 goals he can put up, but I just don’t know if he has it in him to do that.  I know the Wings don’t get rid of people who sacrifice for them as much as Cleary has, but come business time, I don’t want to give the guy a spot because I like him if it’s going to cost somebody else a spot from where they can contribute.

    1. Yeah, I’m curious about Cleary, too. He’s young (ish) and still under contract, but part of me wonders if he’s considering a Rafalski-like surprise retirement, simply because of his body. To be fair, though, his knee condition may be dealt with during his off-season surgery. He has the same thing I had (and likely the same surgery), and it took me a full year to get back to normal just walking around… but I didn’t have the best doctors or therapists in the world fixing me up. So who knows…

      But he does seem like an expendable cog in the machine at this point…

  6. What about a deal with Winnipeg for Wheeler? They have enough scoring forwards and need defenders so… Quincey, Cleary, Mursak and Andersson for Blake Wheeler. 

    Winnipeg would get a top 4 defender (for their standards), a 1 year replacement for Wheeler, and two NHL ready prospects who could start on the Jets 3rd line.

    Detroit would get a big (6’5) winger, who will be just 26 next year, who consistently scores between 15 and 20 goals, and is under contract for 1 more season at a reasonable $2.55m. 

    I think Wheeler trumps Quincey, Cleary, Mursak and Andersson but Wheeler is a UFA after next year and could leave Winnipeg for nothing. Quincey, with a new deal, would be under contract for 3-5 years, Cleary’s contract comes off the books after next year giving Winnipeg cap room, and Mursak and Andersson will both cost under a million next year and then will be RFA. Winnipeg could get three long term, cost controlled players for 1 year of Wheeler. Obviously, Detroit would be gambling that they can make a deal with Wheeler to keep him here.

  7. I’m assuming Holmstrom and Hudler aren’t back next year. For my defenders, one list is if Lidstrom re-signs, the other if he retires.

    1) If Lidstrom retired we need to find a #1/2 defender.
    2) Detroit needs a #1 goal scorer. We haven’t had this since Hossa left.
    3) Find a #3/4 defender to fill Start’s role.
    4) Detroit needs another 3rd line winger to fill the Hudler/Cleary role. 
    5) Find a #8 defender.

    1) Nobody we can get will replace Lidstom so don’t try. Remember when Ben Wallace left the Pistons  and Joe Dumars panicked and WAY over paid for a bad fill-in? I’m worried we’re going to pay ridiculous money for a quick fix. It won’t work, it never works. That means we fill Lidstrom’s role with either a UFA (and overpay), a RFA (and lose picks), or a trade. None of the free agent defenders is a true #1 defender. Sorry but they don’t ever hit the market. We’d be paying a #2 or a #3 to pretend to be a #1. I would not look to free agency to fill this void. A trade would make sense but I don’t think any top defenders will be on the block this summer. If we could get one, we should absolutely offer up Franzen, Tatar and Quincey. That should be enough to get a great defender if some team is crazy enough to put one on the block. But I doubt that happens. The only scenario where I could see this happen is with a team that NEEDS scoring. Minnesota, LA, NYI, Florida, Columbus, Colorado, Calgary, Anaheim and Dallas all scored under 2.5 goals a game. Potentially one of these teams would be willing to move an elite defender for Franzen, Cleary and Quincey. However, the only all-star defenders on these teams are Doughty, (who LA won’t move, especially since they already corrected their scoring deficiency) and Campbell who sucks. Cam Fowler could be good but Anaheim doesn’t need another expensive forward. Brett Burns is a good defender but he’s not great and Minnesota already has talented forwards who are inconsistent. 

    If Lidstom retires, Detroit needs to have the balls to go all in on a RFA. We should be willing to part with lots of picks (2 firsts and 2 seconds) or picks + Frazen, Quincey and Tatar to get the young elite defender we’d need. Weber made $7.5m last year. He’s not a real RFA possibility because Nashville would match any offer we make and we’d have to be willing to part with four 1st rounders to match his 2011-2012 salary. I’d really love to see Detroit offer next season’s 1st and 2nd, the year after’s 1st and 2nd, Franzen and Quincey for… Erik Karlsson. He’s a stud and who almost had a point per game in his 2nd NHL season. That doesn’t happen for defenders. He had more points than any Red Wing this year. Ottawa has $27m in cap space as of right now. We aren’t going to outbid them on Eriksson. We need to make them want to make the deal. We’d have to pay through the nose but we’d get the most promising defender in the NHL.

    2) This should be interesting. I think the obvious solutions would be Semin (who needs to get out of Washington) or Parise. Those two are the only two who I think are good enough to become Detroit’s go to scorer. Parise is younger but Semin is bigger. I think Semin might actually be the better option, since he’d be playing next to countrymen Datsyuk.

    3) This is an interesting spot to be in. Detroit has a couple of options. Detroit could go out and sign a UFA or they could make a trade. If Detroit decides to just sign a UFA I’d like us to go after a veteran who’s coming from a team with no cap space, meaning Detroit doesn’t get in a huge bidding war with the hometeam to try and keep a key player. I’d look at Pavel Kubina or Matt Carle. With Pronger coming back, Philly doesn’t need either of them, nor do they have the cap room. Kubina is a big body, which Detroit could use. As a veteran he’d be perfect to pair up with Smith. Plus he can fight. Carle is great at moving the puck and would be a great PP point man. Besides signing a UFA, Detroit could trade either 1) Franzen or 2) a packaged deal including Quincey and Cleary (assuming we don’t need to move them for Lidstrom’s replacement).

    If we want I could see Detroit move Franzen (and White) for someone like Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Phoenix could use a new face if they leave Phoenix and/or if Doan doesn’t re-sign).

    4) If Franzen is on the 2nd line and Detroit still has Quincey and Cleary, I’d package them for a PF like Blake Wheeler. Wheeler on the 3rd line next to Helm and Miller would be fun to watch. If we keep Cleary he could fill this role. If Frazen is traded and Wheeler fills his role on the 2nd line, I think a UFA like Selanne would make sense. Selanne is a 25+ goal scorer who could fill in on the top 2 lines or be the go to guy on the 3rd line. If Wheeler doesn’t bud into a star playing with two playmakers in Z and Fil, Selanne could play next to them and finish the numerous chances created by them. 

    7) Go find a former Michigan/MSU defender who’s willing to come home and play between Grand Rapids and Detroit. Janik is a UFA so we need to replace him with someone for cheap. Jed Ortmeyer would work.

    Nyquist-Datsyuk-Semin
    Filppula-Zetterberg-Selanne
    Miller-Helm-Wheeler
    Tatar-Abdelkader-Bertuzzi
    (Emmerton, Eaves)

    Lidstrom-Kronwall
    Kubina-Smith
    Larsson-Ericsson
    (Kindl, Ortmeyer)

    or…

    Eriksson-Kronwall
    Kubina-Smith
    White-Ericsson
    (Kindl, Ortmeyer)

  8. You have really been killing it over here since we were eliminated. Kudos on that. 

    My only real area of difference – I think Franzen would be moveable. Prior to this past off-season, and this season, I would’ve agreed. Not moveable. In an age where the contracts of Jeff Carter and Brian Campbell can find homes, Franzen could go. Granted, you’re not going to get the value you may want (though getting out from the contract to have more cap room might be all the value you need), but as part of a package for….something? It could work. 

    The biggest things will be what players make it to UFA and if they’d want to play here. My thoughts on one in particular – I’m extremely anti-Alexander Semin. I’ve watched enough Caps hockey to hate the way Semin plays. Gifted scorer, but selfish, and lazy on the defensive end. I see his upside, but to me it doesn’t fit. 

    Prediction – Lidstrom is done. Looking at him at the end of that game, after it was over, he just seemed to be….I don’t know, taking it in. It just seems different this year, I can’t really explain it. 

    With our special teams problems this year (specifically the power play), do you think there’s an assistant coach shake up? I’m thinking no, because I know they’ve only been here a year, but the PP this year was absurd. 

  9. I don’t know about anyone else, but I was seriously demoralized by what I saw out of Cleary this season. I know he was hurt but… I think finding away to open up his roster spot might be a bigger priority than you’re making it. Great, great read, though.

    1. Especially when he’s making $2.8m next year. If he was making half that I’d say he’s decent value.

    2. Especially when he’s making $2.8m next year. If he was making half that I’d say he’s decent value.

  10. If you trade Filppula, it better be in a deal that brings back a guy like Rick Nash. Filppula is rarely given the credit he deserves for being essentially as good as Z or Pav defensively because until this year he hadn’t really met our offensive expectations. He’s playing up to his pay rate, and his contract isn’t one of those mega deals. There’s way too much to like about him. He had good chemistry this year with Z, so rather than chase the elusive big winger for the second line, that scoring unit might just have to go small with Filppula on the wing.

    I actually think Johan Franzen is trade-able. Before you call me crazy, hear me out… the last year+ has shown us these contracts can move, especially in “value for value” type deals, where teams are swapping underachieving players that they think will bounce back with a change of scenery. Granted the new CBA will likely change the dynamic, but the height of the cap floor has created a weird secondary market for big contract players, as well. Richards, Carter, Heatley, and Campbell pop to mind. So, while you can’t rely on this strategy, it is worth a little discussion. Also, it is fairly obvious that if you try a trade with Franzen, you must take a risk in return, since Franzen carries the risk of A) long-term money and B) very streaky play. It might look like a bargain basement list, but think about guys like Drew Stafford, Derek Roy, Justin Williams, or Guillaume Latendresse. All these guys play for teams that could use a change up front to shake things up and improve their offensive output (I know the Kings are having a better playoff, but scoring is still like pulling teeth for them). All these guys have played well, but have sizable issues (similar to Franzen with his contract size and streakiness) — Stafford and Roy have played okay but are a part of a core group of forwards that just hasn’t achieved its potential, Williams and Latendresse have played real good when healthy, but haven’t been consistently healthy. Again, I don’t expect Franzen to be a guy you can trade in part for Rick Nash, but I certainly think he is trade-able so long as you set expectations rationally and realize that you can get good, but damaged talent back in return for your own good, but damaged talent.

  11. Are there any good backup goalies we could get for cheap? JMac has been much, much better than expected in the games he’s played but I’m not sure I trust him enough to be a full-time backup. Especially if Howard gets injured for a significant amount of time again

  12. Are there any good backup goalies we could get for cheap? JMac has been much, much better than expected in the games he’s played but I’m not sure I trust him enough to be a full-time backup. Especially if Howard gets injured for a significant amount of time again

  13. We need not only a backup goalie but someone who can push Jimmy a bit. Play some games and put together a win streak as a tandem goalie .. someone like Vokoun?  We must get scorers. We have enough skaters and passers. We need bonafide shooter/scorers. Defensively we need size and strength. Without making these changes 2012/13 will be a repeat of this year.

    1. I don’t agree with that. Howard was at his best when we rode him for a lot of games in a row. He gets into a grove. I don’t think he’s the kind of goalie that works well in a tandem. He’s a competitor. He wants to be out there every night.

  14. Nice article.  But do the math.  That team is already at the cap – unless it’s raised significantly – and you’re still talking about adding a guy like Ryan Suter AND Rick Nash.Those guys make a lot more than Filppula and Quincey.  You can’t just switch them out.  And if Nick had any interest in taking a hometown discount, he would’ve done it the last two off-seasons too.

    You’ve got to do the math along as you write these things.

    1. Uh… what? Where have you been?

      The team is nowhere near the cap. They were $16M under it this season (until they recalled everyone and their mother) and have over $20M to spend on next year’s team (unless the cap DOES go down). 

      Sorry, homey… I’ve done the math. But clearly you haven’t. 

  15. Where do you think Parise lands? I’ve heard a lot of wings fans saying they want him and Detroit has been rumored as a team that will go after him but I think Semin would be good and I think Parise will be going to Minnesota. 

  16. And they need to keep Fillpula who is finally developing into a great player so they can put Zetterberg and Datsyuk back on a line together, they play their best when theyre on the ice together

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