The Red Wings need a shake up, plain and simple. To continue to state the obvious, their secondary scoring disappeared in the playoffs. Jiri Hudler had a cap hit of about $2.875 million this past season, and because he scored 25 goals, he’ll be looking for a pay raise. With a bad free agent class, it’s possible for him to get a team that is far away from the Salary Cap floor to shell out extra cash to him. I personally hope that the Red Wings don’t panic and give him a huge contract that he doesn’t deserve, much like they did with Jonathan Ericsson last year. I also see Brad Stuart leaving Detroit and signing with a team in California, because his family never moved with him to Detroit from Cali. This won’t be a huge loss considering how terrible Stuart played in the playoffs and with Brendan Smith’s emergence this past year.
It’s likely that Tomas Holmstrom will retire because he has bad knees, but Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm will need a pay raise, but hopefully the Wings don’t overpay. I’m hoping that Nicklas Lidstrom will resign at a lower salary, so that way the Wings can make a push for Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. Thanks to my former roommate Austin, I found this awesome tool that lets you create a team using a cap calculator on capgeek.com and I have included my potential Wings roster after the jump…
CAPGEEK.COM CAP CALCULATOR ROSTER
My Custom Lineup
Zach Parise ($6.000m) / Pavel Datsyuk ($6.700m) / Johan Franzen ($3.955m)
Valtteri Filppula ($3.000m) / Henrik Zetterberg ($6.083m) / Todd Bertuzzi ($2.075m)
Gustav Nyquist ($0.875m) / Darren Helm ($1.000m) / Danny Cleary ($2.800m)
Cory Emmerton ($0.533m) / Justin Abdelkader ($0.866m) / Drew Miller ($0.838m)
Patrick Eaves ($1.200m) /
Ryan Suter ($5.000m) / Nicklas Lidstrom ($5.200m)
Niklas Kronwall ($4.750m) / Kyle Quincey ($3.250m)
Ian White ($2.875m) / Jonathan Ericsson ($3.250m)
Jakub Kindl ($0.883m) /
Jimmy Howard ($2.250m)
Joey MacDonald ($0.550m)
CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(these totals are compiled without the bonus cushion)
SALARY CAP: $64,300,000; CAP PAYROLL: $63,933,295; BONUSES: $37,500
CAP SPACE (22-man roster): $366,705
Personally I hope that Smith is up there as the 6th or 7th defenseman and the Wings try to move Kindl or Ericsson, but I’m not sure that will happen just yet. Parise and Suter will hopefully only have cap hits of about $5 or $6 Million, if the Wings sign them to some long-term contracts. The only issue that could arise with that, is the fact that the NHL’s CBA is up in the fall, and the rules on long-term contracts that taper off could change. The uncertainty with the CBA could be a factor in the Wings pursuing both Parise and Suter.
Meanwhile, Kyle Quincey is a restricted free agent that will probably sign at a similar cap hit that he has now, and the Wings gave up a 1st rounder to get him to have insurance in case Stuart leaves. Now if the Devils end up winning the Cup, I would highly doubt Parise leaves them, but I can still hope. I’m truly not sure what plan B would be if they don’t sign Parise, but my guess would be signing one of three players; either Alexander Semin, P.A. Paranteau or just to resign Jiri Hudler.
Personally I’m not a fan of Alexander Semin or Jiri Hudler, but I wouldn’t mind seeing P.A. Paranteau in a Wings uniform, he’s a good value player that had 67 points in 80 games while making only $1.2 million. I seriously doubt that he will sign a contract this off-season at that same number though. A plan C option would be to make a push to get Rick Nash from Columbus, but this would require trading at least Val Filppula, Ericsson and two prospects, if not more. Since Nash is under contract long-term, and the Wings are in the same division as the Blue Jackets, they will certainly try to fleece them in a trade. Simply said, plan C is a major pipe dream. While I would also like to see the Wings acquire a big time backup, like Tomas Vokoun, I would have to say that this would only be possible if only one or the other between Suter and Parise were signed. Some other players the Wings could look at this off-season if they don’t sign Parise or Suter; Jaromir Jagr, Jarret Stoll, David Jones, Dennis Wideman, Barret Jackman, or Matt Carle.
If the Wings could somehow sign both Suter and Parise, it would obviously be the biggest free agent haul since they signed Marian Hossa. But, as the NHL playoffs have shown this year, having the best team doesn’t always mean you will win the Cup; you have to play your best, most complete hockey, in the playoffs to advance. This is something the Wings have not done in a few years, and it is time to get some fresh blood into the organization.