It's Almost August!

SCUTTLES WATCH 09
Today is Jiri Hudler Arbitration Day — which means that, within 48 hours, we’ll all know exactly how much the Red Wings will be NOT paying him as he plays in Russia. As that story has caused more tummy aches than a box of Timbits (you’re welcome, Rob), the conclusion seems to be that there’s nothing the NHL can do to prevent Scuttles from playing in the KHL — which is just fine by the Red Wings, because they couldn’t afford to keep him anyway. Smart estimates have his arbitration award coming in between $3M and $4M for two-years.

The good news is that the Red Wings will maintain Hudler’s NHL rights – should he choose to return to North America after freezing his little ass off in Moscow. In a few years, $4M might seem like a bargain (commmmme onnnnn, economy!).

RUMORS AND INNUENDO, PART I
Over the last couple of days, we’ve become aware that the Red Wings have made a formal offer to former Wing Jason Williams (no, not that one….or that one… yeah, that one).

First of all, I’d like to point out that Chris Hollis called it. While there may be – as he called it – a line drawn in the sand among Red Wings fans, I’m going to go ahead and say that 90% of Red Wings fans are on the DO NOT WANT! side – and I’m one of them.

Not that Williams is a bad hockey player, but I have a feeling we could promote someone from within to fill the role of goat. Someone is always the weak link, but Jason Williams has already been that guy – and, as I said examining the trade – dumping his salary on Chicago was a very street smart move by Ken Holland.

Oh, and there’s also the little matter of the mutual disdain between Uncle Mike and J-Will.

There was a report that the offer Williams received was a one-year, $2.5 million deal – but it seems to have originated from a totally bogus rumor site that I won’t bother linking to. I find that number impossible to believe because I’m pretty sure Ken Holland didn’t turn retarded amid the roster turnover. Let’s put it this way – if the Red Wings sign Jason Williams for $2.5M, I’ll drop my pants and run a lap around the Empire State Building.

Williams is also considering an offer from the KHL. GET IT DONE, KREMLIN!

RUMORS AND INNUENDO, PART II
Revealed this morning by Malik, the Red Wings have inquired about former Penguin Petr Sykora. Apparently, there hasn’t been a formal offer, but some due dilligence is being done. And yes, I refuse to use the term “kick the tires.” Mostly because it’s been used overused by a handful of bloggers. You know who you are.

Anyway, Sykora had a very decent regular season but found himself a healthy scratch on occasion during the Penguins run to the Championship. For the right price, he finds himself in SORT OF WANT territory, as he may be able to fill a bit of the 90 goals the Red Wings lost this July.

HOMECOMING
Detroit native Mike Grier has expressed an interest in playing for the Wings, so sayeth another report from Winging it in Motown. After an injury-plagued season in San Jose, Grier finds himself without an employer for 2009-10, and the Wings would be wise to be in on that action.

Imagine Grier signing for under $1M to play in his hometown (which would be a cut from the $1.775M he made this past season)…the ability to pot a few, the willingness to mix it up should the need arise, the balls to say something derogatory to Chris Simon (allegedly)…

I think he’d be a good fit for the Wings. A hell of a lot better than Williams, anyway.

FREE AGENT EXODUS
In anticipation of what is undeniably the most boring month of the year for hockey fans, I thought we’d take a moment to say goodbye to what was often a painful July:

July 1st was – as always – a gluttonous display of spending by the league’s general managers. Former Red Wings Marian Hossa, Tomas Kopecky, Ty Conklin, and Mikael Samuelsson found paydays around the Western Conference, and they were replaced with… well, nobody really. Detroit signed depth forwards Kris Newbury and Jeremy Williams and defensemen Doug Janik and Andy Delmore — all of whom seem destined for Grand Rapids.

Christy Hammond has a nice quote from the Windsor Star where Delmore indicates his admiration for the organization.

On the re-signing front, the Wings extended Jakub Kindl (a year before his contract came up), as well Ryan Oulahen and Evan McGrath. Kindl is slated to be the top defenseman call-up this season to prepare for a full-time slot in ’10-11. Oulahen and McGrath are likely going to be the veterans of the Griffins, but – given the roster situation in Detroit – are going to be given outside chances to fill out the fourth line.

COUNTDOWN TO CAMP
38 days.