2012-13 Pledge Season

There's no bad reason to run this photo

Note: at the bottom of this post, you’ll be able to submit your pledge. We will post the form in several places, but you may always return to this page to pledge. We will make it a permanent link on the Blogroll to the right. –>

WHAT
Unless you’re new around these parts, you’re familiar with the Pledge Games we’ve proudly hosted leading up to both H2H and H2H2. In two years’ worth of fundraising, your pledges have accounted for $12,536.06 of the nearly $20,000 that the group has been fortunate to donate to Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

Once again, you’ll have the opportunity to pledge your donation dollars. In years past, we’ve gotten some magnificent pledges and we look forward to hearing yours this year. Whether it’s $20 for a Red Wings win, $10 for a Pavel Datsyuk goal, $35 for a Jimmy Howard shutout, or anything in between, we’re anxious to add your promise to our spreadsheet and collect a few bucks here and a few bucks there until the total is something we can all be proud of.

If at all possible, we respectfully request that your pledges are based on something quantifiable — and preferably quantifiable by the post-game statistics. Shots, goals, plus/minus, penalties… all of that is fair game. But when we get into the more bizarre pledges (how many times Larry Murphy mentions hot dogs, second-period shots if the team is losing, etc), it becomes insanely difficult to keep track of everything. We’re going to enlist all of the help we can get in counting phenomena, but it would really help us out a great deal if your pledges were based on something easily countable.

Also, let’s try to keep the pledges to things for which there will be no disputes. For example, we may count 4 “Datsyukian Dekes,” but you only saw 3. No one has ever claimed we were trying to gauge them for more money (and I can’t imagine anyone would, since it’s going to a good cause), but the very last thing we want is for someone to feel as if their generosity has been taken advantage of. Some folks can give a dollar, some can give much, much more. But we’re grateful for every last dime and have no interest in stretching you thin.

WHEN
Leading up to H2H, we hosted 11 pledge games. Prior to H2H2, we hosted 12. This year, we’re increasing the number a little bit in hopes that we can double the amount we’ve been able to forward to the charity that’s eventually selected (to be announced in the very near future). For any (or all) of the following games leading up to the Holidays and the Winter Classic, you may place your pledge.

  • 11/17 at Minnesota (featuring Ryan Suter, who thinks he’s too good for you)
  • 11/19 vs. Pittsburgh (and a team full of people nobody likes)
  • 11/21 vs. St. Louis (a division rival that’s accomplished exactly nothing but acts cocky anyway)
  • 11/23 at Florida (lol Tomas Kopecky)
  • 11/24 at Tampa Bay (how ya doin’, Stevie Y)
  • 11/27 vs. Phoenix (several post-season match-ups make for good hate)
  • 11/29 vs. Los Angeles (defending Stanley Cup Champions)
  • 12/1 vs. San Jose (featuring Brad Stuart… how many pledges will be about his being booed?)
  • 12/4 vs. Colorado (it may not be 1996, but I still hate them)
  • 12/7 vs. Washington (Semin-stained)
  • 12/10 vs. Boston (they keep stealing Griffins captains)
  • 12/13 vs. Phoenix (see above)
  • 12/15 at Nashville (featuring Shea Weber and The Head Slams)
  • 12/18 vs. Los Angeles (defending Champs… again)

DETAILS
We will NOT be handling donations this year. Once the pledge games are completed, you will receive an e-mail with detailed instructions on how to get your donations into the right hands. From that account, we will be delivering a (hopefully huge) check during the Winter Festival, so you’ll have to pay promptly.

You may use the following form (we’ll be pimping it all over the place) to submit your pledge.

In the rearview: July

Now that it’s three-quarters over, it’s as good a time as any to look back at July, 2012 — the first month of a summer that was supposed to be one of the most aggressive in recent team history thanks to a third straight early playoff exit and a metric ton of cap space to improve.

More than three weeks into free agency, all the Wings have to show for their aggressive pursuit is a handful of re-treads and reclamation projects. And most of that cap space. I won’t get into the argument about whether or not Detroit is a preferred destination any longer, or if Ken Holland has done all that he could in courting free agents and trade targets.

Below is a list of players that the Red Wings have admitted to being interested in and pursuing to some degree.

JIRI HUDLER — former Detroit Red Wings winger
New Home: Calgary Flames
Why We Didn’t Get Him: Following a strong season entering a July with very few options for teams looking for scoring, we knew that someone was going to offer him a yacht full of strippers and $100 bills. The Red Wings had no intention of giving him that kind of raise and everyone wished him well to the tune of $4M per. The Wings offer was $3.2 firm.

RYAN SUTER — former Nashville Predators defenseman
New Home: Minnesota Wild
Why We Didn’t Get Him: The Wings biggest holes next season will exist on the blueline. No matter who they acquired this summer, there was no replacing Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart. The Wings were one of the finalists for Suter’s services and he chose Minnesota not because they offered him a few more dollars over the term, but because he’d rather play closer to home and with his good buddy Zach Parise. Which brings us to…

ZACH PARISE — former New Jersey Devils captain
New Home: Minnesota Wild
Why We Didn’t Get Him: Despite the Red Wings making a pitch for both players, and certain fans still pretending like they have the swagger they once did, Parise and Suter wanted to play together and chose a non-playoff team in Minnesota over Detroit. That stings, but no one can blame Parise for wanting to play in his home state.

SHEA WEBER — Nashville Predators captain
New Home: Potentially the Philadelphia Flyers, unless the Predators match the offer sheet.
Why We Didn’t Get Him: It’s unlikely that David Poile would have traded Weber to a division rival, and rumor has it that he nearly traded their big defenseman to Philadelphia. The Flyers got tired of waiting and sent an offer sheet to Weber, which he signed, likely because he grew tired of watching three weeks of July fly by without being locked up long-term. Why the Wings didn’t send an offer sheet I’ll never ever ever understand. Weber may not have signed it, but management seems to think that it’s a faux pas to attempt to improve your team at the expense of a team you hate for some damn reason.

RICK NASH — former Columbus Blue Jackets captain
New Home: New York Rangers
Why We Didn’t Get Him: The Wings allegedly made “a hell of an offer” to Columbus’ rockstar GM Scott Howson, but the conversation was a non-starter because Howson couldn’t stomach the idea of the face of his franchise playing for a division rival for the next six years.

SAMI SALO — former Vancouver Canucks defenseman
New Home: Tampa Bay Lightning
Why We Didn’t Get Him: I don’t have the answer, since the Wings likely offered something in the neighborhood of his new deal (2 years, $7.5M) but Salo chose the Lightning.

MATT TAORMINA — former New Jersey Devils depth defenseman
New Home: Tampa Bay Lightning
Why We Didn’t Get Him: Not that he would have helped the big club, but this one has to be a kick in the balls. He’s from Warren (ten miles from Joe Louis Arena), but signed with Tampa’s organization instead of Detroit’s. I guess when your childhood hero is Steve Yzerman, and he calls, you do what he asks.

So to recap the team’s changes since the season ended:

OUT
Nicklas Lidstrom (retirement)
Brad Stuart (San Jose)
Jiri Hudler (Calgary)
Chris Conner (Phoenix)
Doug Janik (Germany)
Garnet Exelby (Boston)
Chris Minard (Germany)
Logan Pyett (Rangers)
Jamie Johnson (Russia)
Andrew Murray (St. Louis)
Brooks Macek (unsigned)
Julien Cayer (unsigned)

RE-SIGNED
Darren Helm
Kyle Quincey

IN
Jonas Gustavsson (Toronto)
Mikael Samuelsson (Florida)
Jordin Tootoo (Nashville)
Damien Brunner (Switzerland, may play in Grand Rapids)
Max Nicastro (Boston University, will play in Grand Rapids)
Teemu Pulkkinen (will stay in Europe)
Calle Jarnkrok (will stay in Europe)
Marek Tvrdon (will stay in Juinors)

FUTURE UNCERTAIN
Justin Abdelkader (restricted free agent, will likely be signed)
Tomas Holmstrom (unrestricted free agent, will likely not be signed)

Including Brunner and excluding Abdelkader and Holmstrom, the Wings have fifteen forwards signed (at least one too many). With Quincey finally under contract, they have six defensemen (which is at least one too few). Your 2012-13 Detroit Red Wings as of July 23rd:

FRANZEN — DATSYUK — NYQUIST
FILPPULA — ZETTERBERG — BRUNNER (?)
BERTUZZI — HELM — SAMUELSSON
TOOTOO — EMMERTON — CLEARY
(MILLER — MURSAK — EAVES)

KRONWALL — QUINCEY
SMITH — WHITE
ERICSSON — KINDL
(No one)

HOWARD
GUSTAVSSON

Commence sadness.

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Quincey files for arbitration, TPL finds a way to make it interesting

Don't you have enough, Kyle?

One of the only real bargaining chips that restricted free agents have is the ability to take his team to arbitration. The Wings have two RFAs remaining, and one — Kyle Quincey — has opted to take the team to arbitration, a sign that the two parties haven’t come to an agreement on a number (the other, Justin Abdelkader, declined to take the team through a hearing).

Now that Quincey has filed, no other team can send him an offer sheet — which wouldn’t have happened anyway — and the team has a few weeks to work out a deal. If the two sides cannot make an agreement, a third party — or, arbiter — will determine his salary for the next one or two seasons (the team gets to decide the term). Each side will present their case and a number that they think is fair. In the past, these hearings have been difficult on player and team, so most teams will try to work out their agreements before getting to the hearing.

Once the arbiter rules on a dollar amount, the team has to decide if they accept the terms or if they walk away, making Q an unrestricted free agent, free to sign with any club and with no compensation coming to the Detroit Red Wings. Considering the state that the defense currently finds itself, I can’t imagine the Wings walk away from the award, which is probably why Kyle Quincey’s agent advised his client to go through this process. When you couple that with the outrageous salaries that everyone — particularly defensemen — are commanding this July, Kyle Quincey could be in for a windfall.

Which got us thinking… we can have a little fun with this. We’ve begun taking predictions on Twitter (@TPLhockey) — tweet us your estimate. What do you think Kyle Quincey will command IF THE TWO PARTIES HEAD TO ARBITRATION. There’s a good chance that they don’t make it that far and Ken Holland locks Q up before the hearing. If that happens, all of the predictions become void. But if the two parties make it to the hearing and the arbiter awards a salary — what will it be? Not what you think he deserves… what the hearing will yield. The closest without going over (just like The Price is Right, y’all!) will be the lucky recipient of a TPL t-shirt of their choice. If there are two estimates with the same number, we’ll have to have a rap battle or something to determine the winner.

For comparison’s sake, he made $3.25M last season as salary (and his cap hit spread out over the life of the two year deal was $3.125M).

You can follow along with the current estimates by checking out this spreadsheet:

QUINCEY ARBITRATION via Google Docs

Good luck!

Photo Credit: Shaylan Spurway, The Fourth Period

Wings hire Renney

Hmmm... I wonder what we could get for Franzen. TO HFBOARDS!

So, scratch all of the names I explored a little while back. The Wings went off the board and made an excellent hire in Tom Renney. Mike Babcock’s newest assistant (actually dubbed “associate coach” by the Detroit Red Wings) has signed a three-year deal to join the Wings bench.

He was the Oilers’ coach the last two seasons (his contract was not renewed) and has been behind the Rangers and Canucks benches during his career. In nine (chunks of) seasons, Renney’s head coaching record is 260-255-68-9 (back when ties were cool, yo) and has three appearances in the post-season — all with the Rangers.

In Vancouver, he was fired and replaced by Mike Keenan 19 games into the 1997-98 season. A few years away from the bench, he returned in Madison Square Garden as director of player personnel before becoming their coach in 2003 when Glen Sather preferred to play GM instead of coach. Once again, he was fired (and replaced by John Tortorella) in 2009.

In Edmonton, he did what he could with a weak team. They improved by 12 points from his first season to his second, but it still wasn’t enough to garner a third from the organization who has been rebuilding for a decade. He also coached the 1994 Canadian Olympic team that earned silver — as well as a variety of roles within Hockey Canada for World Championships.

He’ll step in to replace Jeff Blashill and run the power play. Very exciting news indeed.

UPDATED: The official press release via the Detroit Red Wings

RED WINGS NAME TOM RENNEY ASSOCIATE COACH

… Veteran Brings Over 15 Years of Coaching Experience to Detroit’s Staff …

Detroit, MI… Detroit Red Wings Executive Vice President and General Manager Ken Holland today announced that the club has hired Tom Renney as associate coach.  Renney fills the vacancy created when former Assistant Coach Jeff Blashill accepted the head coaching position with Detroit’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins.  Renney has agreed to a three-year deal with the club.  As per team policy, additional terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Renney, 57, spent the past three seasons with the National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers.  He joined the Oilers’ staff as an associate coach prior to the 2009-10 season.  After just one season, Renney took over the reigns as the 10th head coach in franchise history on June 22, 2010.  In his first campaign as head coach, the Cranbrook, B.C., native led the rebuilding Oilers to a 25-45-12 record.  In total, Renney compiled a 57-85-22 record over two seasons as the bench boss of the young Edmonton squad.

Prior to his time in Edmonton, Renney spent nine seasons in various roles with the New York Rangers.  During his first two seasons in Manhattan, Renney served as Director of Player Personnel where he oversaw the team’s amateur scouts and provided assistance to New York’s professional scouting department.  Renney was promoted to Vice President, Player Development in 2002 and joined the Rangers’ coaching staff as an assistant coach in 2003.  After a brief stint as interim head coach at the end of the 2003-04 season, Renney was officially named the 33rd head coach in Rangers history on July 6, 2004.  He led the Blueshirts to three consecutive 40-win seasons and guided the team to a 164-121-42 record over 327 games from 2005-08.

Renney first broke into the NHL as the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks in 1996-97.  He spent parts of two seasons with the Canucks, compiling a 39-53-9 record over 101 games.  Renney made the move to Vancouver following his two-year tenure with Hockey Canada, serving as the head coach of the Canadian National Team that went on to capture a silver medal at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway.

Renney began his coaching career behind the bench of the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League in 1990.  In two seasons with Kamloops, he led the Blazers to a 101-37-6 record, back-to-back WHL titles and a Memorial Cup championship in 1992.

Photo Credit: Neil Miller, NY Post

Tick Tock: Time to Change Course?

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

How Much Is Too Much?

As #SuterWatch clears Day 3 without any answers, seemingly more questions have begun to arise around the financial factors weighing on the 27 year-old defenseman. We now know that both Detroit and Minnesota sent representatives to Suter Farms in Madison, WI today, and the report from Helene St. James is that the Wings elevated their offer to $90 million over 13 years – a cap hit of roughly $6.9 million per season. At first blush, I thought that number was a bit low, but it appears it’s a $10 million increase from the Wings opening salvo.

There’s no doubt there’s going to be some big numbers flying around over the next day or so, but it’s doubtful that’s the only thing influencing Suter’s decision. That said, one would hope the Wings are willing to up the ante as much as necessary to secure Suter. Which is where you come in.

Simply: How much is too much for Ryan Suter?

Some will argue that there’s mountain (of cash) too high for landing Suter’s talents, while others may be more pragmatic with an eye towards the future. At any rate, there’s bound to be a plethora of opinions. So as you crack open that first beer of Independence, take a second and let us know in the comments how far your wallet would stretch for Mr. Suter.

Hell, I’ll even get the party started: Anything north of $8.5 million per season, and I’m starting to pucker up.

The floor is yours.

Photo Credit: USA Today

Red Wings sign Nicastro

The Detroit Red Wings have signed their third round pick (91st overall) in the 2008 Draft to a three-year entry-level contract. Former Boston University defenseman Max Nicastro is expected to join the Grand Rapids Griffins for the 2012-13 season following an eventful year for the Thousand Oaks, California native.

If the name rings a non-hockey bell, it’s likely because he was charged with rape in February. He was subsequently thrown off of the Terriers hockey club and eventually withdrawn from Boston University altogether. On June 1st, however, the charges were dropped when the Commonwealth of Massachusetts decided that they had insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that anything other than a consensual act took place. The complainant has maintained that she was sexually assaulted, and Nicastro has maintained that there was no criminal action on his part. With the legal system deciding to drop the case altogether, we’ll never know exactly what happened but no one should expect a professional sports club to punish a man if the State feels that no punishment is warranted.

We had heard rumors during this past season that the Griffins expected the Wings to sign Nicastro, assuming he was acquitted of his charges and was legally allowed to play (meaning, not in jail). It seemed unbelievable at the time, since pro sports teams — and in particular, the Red Wings — seem to distance themselves from those who may bring a “black eye” to the organization. Nicastro isn’t the first player with ties to the Red Wings to have some legal trouble before his debut in Detroit. Brendan Smith and Riley Sheahan both got into some “boys will be boys”-type trouble during their stints in college (though, to be fair, neither was accused of anything even remotely similar to rape), and Todd Bertuzzi’s legal troubles are on-going and in their ninth year. Former Wing Andreas Lilja was also accused of rape prior to his tenure with the club and similarly had his charges dropped due to lack of evidence.

Max Nicastro is a big (6’3, 215), stay-at-home defenseman who, according to assistant general manager Jim Nill, “is physical, can shoot the puck, and is a strong skater.” Sounds like a winning combination for a 22-year-old, and he’ll be able to develop at his own pace in Grand Rapids.

If my understanding of the rules are correct, the Wings didn’t have much choice but to sign Nicastro if they wanted him to play hockey anywhere next season. He was a collegiate player, meaning the Wings had until his senior year ended to sign him to a contract before losing his exclusive rights — and those didn’t expire until August of 2013. Since he was removed from BU’s hockey team, he was ineligible to play for Boston — or any other collegiate club, because the NCAA requires a year in between seasons if a player transfers from one school to another. He’s too old to join any of the junior league, and he couldn’t play for any professional club (including the Griffins or Walleye) since the Wings owned his exclusive professional rights, though he could be assigned to them if the contract belonged to the Wings.

Photo Credit: Andre Ringuette, Getty Images

Hudler to Flames, Conner to ‘Yotes

As #Suterwatch rolls along with no end in sight, the Red Wings are now saying goodbye to a couple of players. Our favorite midget, Jiri Hudler, has received the payday he was looking for courtesy of the Calgary Flames, who inked him to a 4 year, $16 million contract this afternoon. The math is pretty easy on this one, as Scuttles will have an average cap hit of $4 million, well north of what the Wings had offered. No real surprise to see Happy head out of town, as the writing was on the wall when Ken Holland brought back Mikael Samuelsson yesterday.

The other bit of news is that Grand Rapids Griffin and part-time Wings call-up Chris Conner has signed on with the Phoenix Coyotes. No word on the financials just yet, but it is a one year, two-way deal, similar to what Conner had with the Wings organization. I know Petrella is pretty bummed about this one, as Conner was one of the workhorses with an engine that never stopped last season, only slowed down by an unfortunate and poorly timed broken wrist.

At any rate, best of luck to Scuttles and Conner with their new teams. Oh, and Calgary? Hide the hookers and blow.

Photo Credit: Faceoff.com

Joey MacDonald requests trade

In light of yesterday’s acquisition of former Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, the incumbent number two netminder in Detroit has asked the Red Wings to trade him to a team where he’ll be able to play NHL minutes. Joey MacDonald stepped in very admirably when Jimmy Howard went down with an injury last season (and Ty Conklin proved ineffective), and he’s on a one-way deal this season, meaning he’ll make the same salary if he plays in the NHL or in the AHL.

But it also means is that he’ll have to clear re-entry waivers to be recalled from Grand Rapids, and the Red Wings don’t like to take those kinds of risks since another team can claim MacDonald and the Wings would still be on the hook for half of his salary and cap hit without the use of the player. So it’s unlikely that he’d be recalled all season.

Andy Strickland of TrueHockey.com broke the story this morning via Twitter:

The acquisition of Gustavsson made it clear that the Wings wanted a reliable backup to Howard and they were concerned that MacDonald’s back (bulging disc) wouldn’t be well enough to carry that load, should he be needed for more than a few games. Making matters even stickier is that the Wings have four goaltenders that are slated for Grand Rapids next season: MacDonald, Jordan Pearce, Thomas McCollum, and Petr Mrazek. Pearce is entering the final year of his second deal with the Red Wings and will likely pursue medical school if he can’t make the jump to the NHL (which no one is expecting of him). McCollum is entering the final year of his deal with the Wings and has had a heck of a time even sticking in Grand Rapids (instead, playing bigger minutes in Toledo of the ECHL). Mrazek is turning pro this season and is the best goaltending prospect the Wings have had in a long time (so he belongs in Grand Rapids playing as much as he can).

Hopefully Joey MacDonald and the Red Wings can find a mutually agreeable destination for Joey Mac’s services and we wish him nothing but the best. He’s been a great Red Wing and hope he has a chance to play in the big leagues somewhere in 2012-13. Of course, there’s a chance that he plays himself into the #2 position (again) in training camp and that he doesn’t go anywhere, but the crease is getting a little clogged in both Detroit and Grand Rapids…

Photo Credit: Justin K. Aller, Getty Images North America