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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