At the beginning of this offseason, the normally reserved Ken Holland said something that many of us had been waiting to hear for a long, long time: “We’ve going to be active and aggressive in free agency.” Really, he had no choice. Nick Lidstrom’s retirement and Brad Stuart’s need to be with his family meant Holland was down two top-pairing D-men, with a third becoming a RFA in Kyle Quincey. The answer, of course, was supposed to be Ryan Suter. Ken Holland would march right in there, lay down the most compelling offer the Wings had ever thrown at a defenseman not named Lidstrom, bring him back to Motown and sit him at a table where he could declare to everyone that he was a Red Wing and the best was yet to come. And of course, let’s not forget Zach Parise. Sure, the Wings didn’t really need him, but if Ken Holland was feeling lucky, perhaps he could just flip the switch and convince him to tag along in Motown. That’s what big time players do, right? They work their way up through the ranks of the “lowly” teams in the NHL, just to eventually sign with the mystique-laden and history-rich Detroit Red Wings.
We already know how this story ends. Ryan Suter and Zach Parise both spurned Detroit to go to the Minnesota Wild, with one player returning to his hometown and another getting the quiet lifestyle he craves. If it feels like a slap in the face, well, it’s because you’ve been living under the same rock that Ken Holland has been under since 2002. To be fair, there’s plenty of things that Holland did right in this process. They secured the elusive in-person meeting with Suter, they made the competitive offer and they bent over backwards sending coaches and former players to ensure that the Wings organization was represented well at all times. But at some point during this process – especially after the in-person meeting with Suter – how did Ken Holland not realize that this thing wasn’t coming together and that Suter and Parise were a package deal with only one real destination in mind? I mean, Ken, if you’re REALLY reading Twitter, it only took one pass through Michael Russo’s feed last night to get the educated idea that maybe you’ve done all you can on these guys and it’s time to get to work elsewhere.
The fact is, though, that the Wings find themselves at a crossroads in terms of how they promote this team to the outside world, and especially to free agents. I’ve beaten this horse dead a number of times, but the shtick about this being an elite destination for the elite talent of the hockey world is now old and dead. The Wings haven’t been truly elite since 2002, and found their way to a Stanley Cup in 2008 and the Final in 2009 with very, very good squads. Not elite squads, but very good ones. So why, then, does Holland continue down this path? He lowballed Ryan Suter, frankly, with 13 years at $80 million, and had to come up to $90 million just to stay in the conversation. Except Suter ended up signing for 13 years at $98 million. How the hell is that being aggressive in free agency? No, we’ve seen this before. That’s the move where Holland throws out a number but reminds you that “Hey, we’re Detroit, remember?” No, Ken, nobody remembers. These kids don’t care about that.
What Zach Parise and Ryan Suter care about are the following: their lifestyles, their family, being the top dogs on the team and making some money. But when Ken Holland’s “increased” offer falls $8 million short of a defenseman they “desperately” need – and one they’ve probably tried to sell the whole “mystique” argument to – there’s a real big problem in the room, and quite frankly it’s not Suter or Parise. Call me crazy, but when you lose out to both of these guys after supposedly being in it – and then lose out to your protege in Tampa for the enigmatic Sami Salo – perhaps it’s time to take a look in the mirror and figure out if you really understand how this thing works anymore. Sure, you’ll always have those guys – Jaromir Jagr – that go where the money is. Some guys will also want to go to a market rich with history and play for an organization that is steeped in tradition and prestige. But others, well, others just want to be made to feel that they are important and that a life-changing decision for them is a life-changing decision for the organization too. Minnesota afforded that opportunity to Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Detroit? I’m not so sure. My gut tells me the Wings made their pitch, sold Suter on playing for the “premiere” organization in the NHL, and probably didn’t really read between the lines on his needs.
Maybe I’m just sour grapes over this whole thing. Heck, that’s probably a really logical explanation. Maybe this thing was over before it even started and Parise and Suter were just taking us all on a huge joyride. But the fact is that free agency has become an instrument of torture for Red Wings fans over the past few years and this year is no different. Ken and Co. are now scrambling to piece together a free-agency period that includes more than just Jonas Gustavsson, Mikael Samuelsson and Jordin Tootoo, but now that the big fish are off the line, everything feels small. And instead of scooping up the big talent for alot of money, the only way that big talent ends up in Detroit is if we ship out some of our own in return.
Aggressive in free agency? That begins by getting out of that ivory tower we call Red Wings legacy.
Happy 4th of July everyone. Go drink a beer.
Photo Credit: The Detroit News
I just realized we might miss the playoffs for the first time in a WHOLE lot of years. Call me chicken little, but it just hit me like a ton of bricks. Merry F-n’ birthday, America.
I’ve been arguing for the past few weeks that if the Wings can’t pull in guys like Suter and Parise, we may have to all prepare ourselves for subpar seasons to give us a chance to rebuild. And yeah, that might include missing the playoffs.
so you think the Wings should have offered >98million??!! You’re being delusional b/c you’re dissappointed (as am I). Suter is a good defensemen but not worth betting the farm on. 98mil is ridiculous. Minny has 28mil tied up in 4 players next year. FOUR. Have a little faith 🙂
8 million spread over 13 seasons is barely an increase over Ken’s 90 million over 13. Wings could have covered that easily. Would hardly call that delusional.
I thought the Wings offer was too high too…I should have mentioned that. These 10-15 year contracts are crazy. We can thank the salary cap for that though. Its forced GMs to be clever to circumvent the cap restriction.
But in theory, the money wasn’t the problem. The story’s been that in the end it came down to playing at home, and it sure sounds like the Wings were a very close 2nd. Nothing the Holland did would make his family move to Michigan. Why offer Suter $100M+ if it’s not going to make a difference?
Not saying offer him $100 million. Just saying that when the other suitor has the local angle + more money, your promise of less money for more “prestige” ain’t gunna do shit. So one would assume you at least match that high offer on the table and see what happens. As long as you can afford to, that is. Which the Wings definitely could have done.
If we had offered Suter and Parise what they eventually signed with, the Wings would have had 1.7 million in cap space. We still have to deal with Quincey and Abdelkader’s contracts and find cap space for them or let them get signed for picks.
In upcoming years, we’ve got more guys to resign. Is it possible that we’re better off without those huge contracts hanging around our necks? Because at this point, I don’t think we could have gotten JUST Suter.
No, Kenny won’t let that happen. He will field a team of ex-Wings and barely servicable NHL retreads and reclamation projects and somehow get in to the playoffs again. Because that is his goal .. even though he knows they are not physically able to survive all the way to The Cup or talented enough to win it all. “Just get in the playoffs and anything can happen”. Like injuries, exhaustion, the system breaking down. Other teams stepping their game up while we are barely hanging on!
You are being sour. Sure, Ken MAY have slipped up, but he’s one of the top GMs in ALL of sports! You need to remember that.
Based on what? Hate me, but tell me: what great move has he made since the Brad Stuart trade? Standing on a gas station?
Ya know I’ve been saying that for years as well but I’m really beginning to question if he really is the brilliant mastermind we all believe him to be. When he took over in 1997 that all-star team was already basically in place and Wings fans (maybe Kenny as well) have essentially been riding the wave of the Yzerman/Lidstrom eras up until now.
The talent level on this team has been dwindling for the last few years and I understand that the cap era is a a completely different animal but when was the last time since 08 that Holland made any real significant acquisitions to bolster this roster? Hossa had to suggest that he wanted to come to Detroit before we even thought to bring him on board that summer. I’m starting to think that if some big splashes aren’t made this summer… maybe Tick Tick isn’t the GM we believed him to be.
Then again maybe i’m just playing chicken little because my brain is full of fuck with all these shenanigans over the last 6 hours but I really want to see something big/unexpected go down here.
Why make a move just to make a move because you “want to see something big/unexpected go down here”? It must be hard to understand that a lot of times in the salary cap era GM’s hands are tied because they don’t want to sell the farm just so their fans “can see something big/unexpected go down”. I hope you don’t ever run your own business. I get the feeling you (and most of Wings nation) right now would flush your assets down the toilet just to shake things up, be risky and dangerous. News flash, sports teams success ebb and flow with time. Why would you care if the Wings didn’t win a Stanley Cup for a few more years or didn’t make the playoffs? Would all the sudden you stop watching the Wings and jump off the bandwagon perhaps? Maybe you wouldn’t, maybe you’d just bitch and moan about how the Wings suck and blame it all on Holland and forget that you actually got to see the Wings win 4 CUPS. More than most NHL fans can say. Welcome to the Salary Cap. It seems like fans of teams are just starting to realize it was implemented years ago…
Because that’s the way people view Holland. I’m not saying he’s a bad GM by any stretch of the imagination but they hold him in regard as some sort of deity who makes brilliant move after brilliant move that mesh with each other and always have this miraculous outcome. If that’s the case then let’s see it because compared to the success and prestige this team has had in the past 20 years, things are looking pretty rough right about now.
And you’re right, we have seen four cups under Kenny but we’re 3 years removed from actually being relevant and we have a completely different team right now. I don’t know if you’re satisfied with the idea of missing the playoffs but I’m no less a fan than you are just because I have high expectations for the team that was regarded as the “class of the league” up until a year or two ago.
Ron, that’s exactly what I’m saying though. Coulda, shoulda, woulda’s get you nowhere. Because of the salary cap the past few years Holland has made no moves because they were not beneficial to the future success of the franchise. We live in a time where everyone wants immediate gratification. Are you on the conference call when Holland is kicking the tires on a trade and they want half of our farm system because we’re the Wings and we’re desperate for a goal scorer? You’re not. Holland has made cheap role player moves because that’s all he could really do. Maybe they meshed well, maybe they didn’t. You could also say without those role players we may have not made it to the playoffs continuing their streak. What about the season crippling injuries the Wings have had to their older players the past few seasons too. Their bodies are breaking down from year after year of playoff contention. Don’t you think that also has to do with early playoff exits? I think so. Be a little objective as a fan. For me personally, its more fun to think that soon within the next couple seasons, or even this season, the opportunity will arise where Holland will be able to load up the roster and make a strong push. We’re in a situation right now I’m interested in seeing how he handles it, all the pressure from fans and media must not be helping anything. I just hope he doesn’t make some bold move and set this club back for 5 seasons because of it. Then all the fan who were screaming for this to happen will just turn their backs and scream how big of a mistake it was that he did it. It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.
Wow. What a giant over reaction from a fan who can’t grasp the changes in the NHL. The fact is these guys chose to play in a smaller market by their families. In the end that appealed to them more. Period. Lets break things down shall we? There is a salary cap now (wake up!). No team will ever be like the juggernaut the Wings were up until the salary cap took place, and arguably up until 2008 when the Wings won there last cup. Since then teams have been able to rebuild through the draft and spend equally to build just as competitive of a team as the Wings. Teams have modeled their franchises after the Wings, stealing lots of important components on how the Wings have been so successful. European talent is no longer an untapped resource the Wings seemed to know about before everyone else. No team will ever win back to back Cups again, just my opinion but so far it hasn’t happened since the cap was put in place. It could happen, but I think it will ultimately be a very very rare and even more difficult feat then it used to be. Before the salary cap the Wings had way more HOF players on their roster to entice other players to come and play. They currently have zero right now. I also would like to add that when players came to play for the WIngs they were experienced older vets looking to win a first cup or another cup. Hull, Robitaille, Hasek, etc those guys wanted to come and play with guys like Yzerman, Shannahan, Lidstrom, Federov et. al. Datsyuk and Zetterberg are not future HOFer’s. Not yet. Possibly not ever. Zetterberg 624 points. Datsyuk 718 points. They need a few more 80-90 point seasons to accompany the hardware they’ve won. They need to crack the top 50 in all time points leaders to be bona fide first ballot HOFers, or come very very close to the top 50 to be put on ballots and considered. Right now Lidstrom (a defensemen) sits at 50 with 1142. I’d really like to see an objective take on this situation. Instead of letting your bitterness and frustration come out when you typed this, it would have been nice to read an article about the challenges Holland faces now re-inventing their team building blueprint. While you addressed it some, it would have been nice to see those thoughts instead of such a dumb over reaction. Every article written by a Wings fan blogger or Detroit sports writer has been a dumb over reaction. It’s a shame too, because as a fan I’d like to read something fresh and get some more incite on how Holland is going to take on this new challenge.
According to the dictionary, you want to get some more provoking and urging around how Holland is taking on the new challenge?
OHHHH. Insight. Got it.
Wrong blog friendo. We just like to bitch and moan here.
Good one Chris. Calling out a typo. Classic move. You are one clever guy. Look in the mirror and say this out loud for me, C-U-N-T. Yell it real loud. Now go in the corner and cry.
Says the guy/girl who only goes by “guest”. Stay classy.
Chris, You don’t need to see my name to add some thing intelligent and poignant to a comment I posted. Instead you chose to go the douche bag route and do what every other moron does when they have nothing to say, call out a typo or some grammatical error. Knowing my name, address, favorite food or color is completely pointless. You can spin it any way you want. I said something you didn’t want to hear and you acted like a typical witless tool who gets scorned in the comments section. You could bring nothing to the conversation. I could care less if you wrote the article. If you can’t take other people’s opinions or criticisms of the blogs you write I suggest you find something else to pass the time. Sounds to me Chris, it’s you who needs to “sack up”.
You’re right, I don’t care about your name or anything about you when you are making a rebuttal or comment on something I wrote. I do care when you decide to personally call me a “cunt”. No real need for that around here, and it’s especially cheap when you do it from behind the veil of secrecy that is the “guest.”
If you want my perspective on your original comment, here it is: Yes, times have changed. Nobody is saying they haven’t. There is most definitely a salary cap and it’s restrictive. That’s a given. That said, if Ken Holland wants to tell us that the Wings made “their best offer” I’d simply raise my hand and say “OK, but if you’ve got the whole location argument against you, why not up the financial ante to get on the same level as Minnesota, so at least you know it came down to location over money?” Is it alot of money? Absolutely. But if the Wings are truly the draw that Ken and Co. believe they are, then why not put the same financials on the table (which they could have afforded, for better or worse) and see how that “marquis market” theory stands up against the creature comforts of the home market. I’m sure the Wings would still have lost, but at least they would have been 100% competitive on price. As it stands, they weren’t, and we’ll never know what could have happened had they been willing to dole out an additional 8 million over 13 years.
Which then begs the bigger question: Is Detroit really the draw it once was for free agents? I think you and I agree it’s not, but who is to blame there? I say Ken Holland and the organization is a part of it, simply because they continue to fall back on the same principles that saw Hasek and Robitaille and Hull show up to win Cups. That’s not how this works anymore, and if the Wings want to land the elite free agent talent, there needs to be a philosophical shift in thinking moving forward. That needs to be combined with an influx of talent that was developed through the system, which is something we never see because the Wings insist on the outdated principle of loyalty and “paying your dues” in the minors. Now, all of a sudden, Ken is saying that he’s going to let these kids come up and play and go through the growing pains of the NHL, and I’m happy to see that happen. If this talent is as good as the Wings brass thinks it is, then we’ll finally see some reward for those drafts we’ve put together over the past five years. Let’s hope it works out. If it doesn’t, then there’s some serious problems in Detroit, from the top on down.
Now, since you seem to be so inclined to tell me exactly what kind of person I am, let me return the favor. If you want someone to add something intellectual and thoughtful to your comment, perhaps you shouldn’t start with a direct assault on their perception of the game. You don’t know me and I don’t know you. So calling me a “fan who can’t grasp the changes in the NHL” puts me immediately on the defensive. Human nature.
Then you called me a cunt. Good one.
I’ve taken your criticisms of my post. I’ve responded with what I believe to be a thoughtful response directly related hockey and the discussion in question. Hell, I’ve even taken your advice and looked in the mirror, shouted CUNT a few times and I’m still not crying.
Is there anything else I can do for you now?
The Cunt Douchebag with no understanding of hockey or the salary cap.
I agree with everyone you said except for that Holland dropped the ball with Suter. Simply put he didn’t get a chance to counter offer the Wild’s deal. So you can’t blame him for losing out to a player that already planned on going there with his pal. It was a lose-lose situation for Holland from the get go, now that everything has went down it’s pretty clear. It’s the boldest attempt for him to get someone in the last few years. So in the end you can’t fault Holland for not being able to counter offer the Wild deal.
I apologize that you got defensive from my comment, I did have a reason for it though. Wings fans have a pretty bad reputation for being whiney and self-righteous. There is a large part of the fandom that isn’t that way. It’s like the state of Michigan getting a bad reputation just because of Detroit. It just gets old to see the constant whining and armchair GMs on comment boards who don’t think clearly. Then a fan will speak up and say something that has logic and all the sudden they’re attacked by like 50 ravenous “fans”.
You weren’t the only one I pissed off by opposing what they said in a blog or article yesterday.
And for calling you a cunt, you trolled me in your own blog post. I thought it was pretty unprofessional. I just wanted to write out a comment taking a different angle and try to call BS on some of the info presented. Thank you though for your answer. I was looking for that originally.
Born in Mt. Clemens
Lives in St. Louis
So would you not call the LA Kings squad this year a juggernaut? I guess their four total losses in the playoffs on their run to the cup is considered mediocre. The team they assembled is pretty unreal and if you think it’s impossible to put a “cup-favorite” quality team on the ice just because there is a salary cap in place you’re sorely mistaken. The fact of the matter is that Kenny’s stood idly by the past few years while other GM’s have had the stones to make moves that put them in a strong position to be successful.
I would’ve liked to have seen Suter in Detroit as much as anybody, but honestly, in this situation, Holland did all that he could. I know everybody likes to criticize Holland every summer because he didn’t throw a massive contract at some crappy player, but we know, that this summer, the Wings targeted their man and put forth a offer well in range of what he eventually accepted (and of course we have no idea if the Wings were ever given a chance to try and match Minnesota’s offer). You can be upset that the Wings didn’t land Suter (I certainly am), but you can’t say that the Wing’s front office weren’t aggressive (and of course Holland is the only one scapegoated despite the obvious fact that this was a all hands on deck kinda deal).
I’ve been reading this afternoon about how David Poile, the Nashville GM, said that he was not afforded the chance to meet Minnesota’s offer for Sutter. It seems to me that as the chance for Sutter and Parise to play together and close to home began to materialize, they became the deciding factor for Sutter. If he was unwilling to give the team that drafted him and developed him an opportunity to match, what reasonable chance did the Wings really have in the end? How much more money do you want to pile on the table? We’re talking about a guy who was only the second best D-man on his team last year, and now has a 7.5M cap hit. On talent, I call that an overspend of at least 1M per year. At least. It remains to be seen how good he is without Shea Webber as a partner. What is a little more worrying is loosing out on Sami Salo to TB. Now what’s left as i write this is like Matt Carle, Michal Rozsival, Pavel Kubina. Brendan Smith, now is your time to shine, son.
Also, Lou Lamariello said pretty much the same thing from NJ. No call, no chance to counter or match the offer on the table for Parise, it looks like this had been in the works for some time . . . .
Jesus Christ! First Yzerman got Salo, and now he’s signed Matt Carle as well. Hog. Talk about sticking a dagger in the heart of the Red Wings next season.
The problem here is that we needed to sign Suter. A good GM wouldn’t have gotten us into this situation. Holland knew for a year that Lidstrom and Stuart were gone and he did nothing about it for a year. That’s pure GM negligence. Even worse, Holland knew that Lidstrom was in his last season and that our team wasn’t talented enough to go far in the playoffs and he still did nothing serious at the deadline. Lidstrom’s last season should have meant a big gamble. We can’t replace him and we should have gone all in (or at least go after the forward that we clearly needed). That’s the failure here. It’s not not signing Suter. $100m over 13 years is ridiculous for Suter. That would have a bad panic buy to try and cover for his bad non-moves. It’d be making a bad situation even worse. Suter is a good defensman. He’s not worth 13 years or a cap hit of $7.5m for more than 3-4 years. Lidstrom’s cap hit was $7.5m and that was a 1 year deal. $7.5m tied into one defender for over a decade would be cap suicide.
My solution to Lidstrom leaving would have been a bit crazy. I know that. Instead of wasting a 1st on Quincey (could have gotten Kubina for a 2, 4 and so-so prospect if you really wanted a defender which I don’t think we need) I would have held onto that pick knowing I was going to sell it this summer. Their was a great defender that hit the market this year that’s better than Suter. He just happened to be a RFA and he’d have cost 4 first round picks. Erik Karlsson at 22 is already better than Suter. Ottawa would have had the chance to match Detroit’s offer but I imagine a 7 year (so it ends before he’s 30) $52m contract (same cap hit as Suter but over 7 years not 13) would have gotten the deal done. Ottawa re-signed him at 7 years $45m but an additional million per year plus 4 firsts might have changed their minds. Now this seems like a lot, it is, but it’s not crazy. If we planed this and didn’t move Quincey it’d be only 3 more firsts, which is a lot, but Detroit can draft well enough to ditch 3 more late first round picks. Also, Karlsson is just 22. We’d have him locked in for the rest of his 20’s at a fair price for a top 5 defender but with 6 fewer years than Suter signed for. He’s better than Suter and he’d single handedly fix a power play unit. He’d be our unquestioned #1 defender until the summer of 2019. Isn’t that worth 3 more firsts? *
Now if Detroit couldn’t get Karlsson, they could have made a deal at the deadline in hopes of convincing the player they traded for to stick around longer than just for the playoffs. Tampa traded Kubina to Philly for a 2nd, a 4th and a so-so prospect. Had Detroit made that move, not only would our playoff defense have been better, but Kubina would hopefully have liked Detroit and would have signed on to a 2 year $8m deal (or so) and filled in for Stuart next season. Yes, he’s 35 but two years at $4m per is nothing for your #3 defender (assuming #1 is a hole and #2 is Kronwall). It’d remove the panic we now find ourselves in. Worst case Kubina and Kronwall our the #1 pair. Not great but it’s not terrible. Kronwall-Ericsson, Smith-Quincey, White-Kindl is not NHL talent. Honestly, I wouldn’t sign Quincey at this point. Whatever the case, Jimmy is going to have to be amazing next year. We might as well go get an elite forward now to try and outscore every other team.
*(Last year before CBJ traded Carter for Johnson, Detroit could have acquired Johnson and the 1st for Frazen. We’d have gotten out of Frazen’s deal, we’d acquire a replacement defender for Stuart this year and remove the need for Quincey, plus we’d add a 1st and not waste a 1st on Quincey. We could have traded both of those 1st rounders (LAK and DET) to OTT for 1/2 of Karlsson’s 4 first round pick costs. Then with a #1 defender in tow, we could concentrate on acquiring an elite forward to fill Frazen’s role. Our defender pairings would be: Karlsson-Kronwall, Ericsson-Johnson, Smith-White, Kindl)
Pretty pointless speculations – Karlsson was signed on June 19 by Ottawa, so he never became a RFA. Offer sheets are rare – if not, Weber should have received one by now (from the Wings or a number of other teams)…
Missed my point.
We shouldn’t of been in a positon where we needed to sign Suter anyway.
I know offer sheets are rare. 4 1st rounders is a ton. My point is that Karlsson is worth more than Weber and Karlsson would be worth it. I think Detroit could have signaled they wanted Karlsson before Karlsson re-signing. For example, on the trade deadline when we’d have acquired a 1st rounder, I’d have mentioned that that pick and our other 1st are most likely going to be traded as we target an RFA this summer. Hints like that to Karlsson would have held him up from signing an extension.
In any case, you totally ignored my main point.
Got it the first time all right and I do agree that he’s easily worth 4 1st rounders. But it’s a dream scenario and hints don’t work (Suter has known all year that the Wings were interested and that he would be their main target). First of all – Ottawa certainly would have matched whatever Kenny would have offered for Karlsson. You say they wouldn’t – I say they sure would. After all – neither of us really know – do we? Furthermore do you know for sure if Karlsson was or is even slightly interested in playing for The Wings? Players “used” to want to go to Detroit (to win, for the money, for the history, to play with talent etc.), but the days, when the Wings was the automatic first pick, (sadly) seem to be over! And Ottawa has a real nice trio of Swedish youngsters on the way (Lehner, Silfverberg and Zibanejad), so the Swedish “factor” can hardly be used as an argument. And Sundin (for instance) never wanted to come to Detroit anyway (despite being an UFA). So again (this is my point) – it’s pure speculation and (as much as I would have loved to see Karlsson wearing the Winged Wheel) I seriously doubt if he was ever a realistic option.
Forget the Karlsson thing. Your too hung up on that.
Isn’t the failure of Holland not that he missed on Suter but that he needed to sign Suter. A full year of knowing he was losing his #1 and #3 defensman and he waited until FA to try and fill their void. That’s my point. And you’ve missed that twice.
Seriously – I didn’t miss anything. Fully understand and understood that Holland needs to do/should have done something. We’ve all known for a while that the days of Lidstrom were numbered (though we probably all hoped for one more year) and Stuart would be gone as well. So yes – of course something had/has to be done. But finding someone to replace Lidstrom is no easy task and I probably dissected the whole Karlsson thing a little too much, because I really cannot see what Holland could have done differently. Suter wasn’t an option after all, though probably 90% of the hockey world believed he would sign with the Wings. Had he traded for him last season (very unlikely with the ambitions The Predators were having) the price would have been steep. And still with the risk that he’d be lost to free agency. Karlsson – no more words on him except he never was an option. So now – where and how do Holland find the guy to replace Lidstrom? Or what could he have done? Since your main point is that Holland should have prevented this situation from happening (where The Wings is left without a no. 1 defenseman), my main point obviously is and was what could Holland realistically (in bold) have done to prevent it from happening? Unless of course the answer is either convincing Lidstrom to keep on playing or find some magic solution that no one around here had ever thought about, which will leave The Wings with e.g. Duncan Keith for a 2nd round pick (since no one seem to want Holland to trade any prospects or players except perhaps Abdelkader, Quincey, Ericsson and Hudler (who’s gone anyway), who won’t bring back any superstars) – and how likely is that exactly? As I see it the only solution to the problem was signing Suter and I feel confident that Holland did everything he could (and probably more) to make it work. But we all know why I didn’t happen and as frustrated and bitter I may be I don’t think Holland is to blame!
I wonder if Minny is now willing to move Heatley or Setoguchi. Minny has like $2.5 in cap space and Heatley at $7.5m and Setoguchi at $3m might be good deals. Heatley has 2 years left on his deal and at 31 he’s still in prime form. He’s a mid 20 goal scorer for defensive minded Minny. For Detroit, next to Datsyuk and say Nyquist should score 30-35. Setoguchi is just 25 and is under contract for 2 more seasons. He hasn’t been close to his 08-09 form (31 goals) but he scored 19 last year in Minny and like Heatley, he’d improve drastically in that category in Detroit IMHO.
Setoguchi’s cap hit makes him less likely to be moved than Heatley unless Minny wants Heatley’s name and “star power”. Maybe they think Parise will open up ice for Heatley. In any case, I could see Minny moving someone (they have lots of bad contracts they could buy out or move) and Detroit should let Minny know we’re interested.
I think you’re making many, many assumptions here that are unfounded. We have no idea what went on in that meeting between Suter and the Wings, what was said, presented, etc. Furthermore, could it not be that the Wings have placed a valuation on each player they intend to target in free-agency and they do not want to exceed it? Moreover, starting at 80 million then increasing the offer sounds a whole lot like negotiation. Perhaps that would have been enough to sign Suter, however had the Wings started at 90 million there would have been a 10 million dollar overpayment. To put your ‘best’ offer on the table right away is an amateur move in negotiations. It allows the team to use that offer to drum up more interest elsewhere, then come back to you and try increase it. The fact is we have no idea what the cap situation will be starting in September and it could very well be that the Wings simply declined to go beyond what they thought the player was valued at. This is without even getting into the fact that the Wings can likely find 80% of the WAR Suter would produce for less than 80% of the cost from within their own organization.
Here’s a question: can anyone say for sure that if Holland had offered Suter $100 million or $108 million he would have come to Detroit? No, of course they can’t. It’s entirely possible – and it appears quite likely – that Suter wanted to play with Parise in a smaller market where they would be the face of the franchise.
The idea that if Holland had just “tried harder” he would have landed Suter has no basis in reality. It’s just a silly hypothesis being put forward by angry fans. Guess what guys, the NHL has changed – it’s harder to attract free agents in what has become a much more competitive market place; and not every free agent is going to want to play in Detroit.
I heard Ilich is very disappointed and may go so far as to get rid of Holland and bring Stevie back, which is the long term plan anyway.