Thanks to our good friends at Detroit 4 Lyfe, the Red Wings Blogger Roundtable is back for another go-around of question-and-answer-and-penis-joke. If you missed last week’s first round of questions, head to D4L and learn all about Ian White, the roster battle, and the new assistant coaches.
This week, we’re hosting the fellas and had the opportunity to posit three questions to our brethren. Continue reading for our questions and our fellow bloggers’ answers.
QUESTION 1: Chris Osgood. F’real?
:: George Malik, The Malik Report, @georgemalik
The concept’s pretty simple: There’s no better goalie out there in terms of his resume–and Marty Turco, Ray Emery and Pascal Lecalire and his perpetual status as on the IR all want to find a starter’s job, so we’re talking about Ty Conklin and/or trading for Michael Leighton as alternates-he’s got a great relationship with Jimmy Howard and he’s been very loyal to the team and vice versa.
I’m not sold on Osgood’s ability to bounce back from his surgery as what was supposed to be sports hernia surgery ended up involving major groin reconstruction, and he almost has to go through some setbacks in the forms of soreness and/or a little time missed due to pushing himself, but the real question is whether whatever injuries he happens to incur during training camp and the exhibition season lingering and requiring more surgery. He’s missed significant time over every one of his post-lockout seasons with the Wings due to groin issues, to the point that he’s starting to earn Dominik Hasek status for his groin’s fragility.
But if Holland’s sold on Osgood’s status as the best guy out there, especially given his relationship with Howard and the fact that the team was able to re-sign a viable #2B in Joey MacDonald (there’s cap space available to remedy any “lingering issues” down the line, too), it’s his choice to gamble. [editor’s note: the preceding was prior to Osgood’s retirement, an update follows]
Osgood knew that he was going to have setbacks as he recovered from his surgery, and I think it speaks to his character, big time, that he chose to not place the Wings in trouble on a repeated basis because his groin was going to remain a liability.
As soon as I’d heard that Dr. Clancy peeled Osgood open and found that there were ligaments shorn off bone, I thought he might have been done there and then.
I can speak personally about the concept that a doctor wakes you up after surgery and says, with a bizarrely cheerful level of enthusiasm, “You won’t believe what I found in there!” When that happens, man, you aren’t gonna be the same afterward and that’s that.
When he repeatedly suffered “setbacks” and couldn’t recover over the span of four, “Okay, you should have suitably recovered by now” months, that was just plain scary. In the, “Well he’s retired now” retrospect, those setbacks should have caused both Osgood and Holland to book #30 some more time on an operating table to undergo some exploratory surgery to see whether there wasn’t something else that needed to be fixed.
So in that sense, especially given that Holland was willing to bring Osgood back, I think it was downright brave of Osgood to make the call and say that he could no longer harm his team simply because he wanted to keep going till he officially broke down.
I also believe that if Conklin and MacDonald can’t replace Osgood adequately by committee, the team’s got more than enough cap space to make a halfway-through-the-season addition or three to bolster their goaltending and/or blueline and/or forward ranks, so I’m comfortable with the way the team’s going in goal because Marty Turco, Ray Emery and even the walking IR spot that is Pascal Leclaire all want to pursue starter’s jobs.
:: Zac MacRostie, The Scrappy Octopus, @Flapjack_McZap
Yeah, I am going to go ahead and blame Roloson. “Look at how well Dwayne did at his age. I could do that.” No. You couldn’t. There is a difference between a golden oldie and an olden goalie. Yes, I understand that you have had some injuries. And yes, you had to take that time off to get your head screwed on right. Are you going to guarantee me that that shit won’t happen again? Jimmy is going to need a break every now and then, and that means not worrying about coming in in the third period to bail your ass out when you get yanked. Osmund being the back up doesn’t benefit the team.
:: Rob Rogacki, Detroit 4 Lyfe, @Detroit4LyfeRob
Despite the clusterfuck that was the Detroit media Monday night (I believe the Detroit News called him “Chros”), it sounds like Ozzie will actually retire without too much kicking and screaming. Above all, I’m glad that Ozzie has “decided” to hang them up now instead of dragging this saga out for another year or two while he chases Fuhr’s win total. I feel like Kenny Holland had to coerce him a bit, but all in all it sounds like this process is being handled fairly smoothly. Debates over the Hall of Fame and jersey retirement can (and will) happen later on. For now, I’m thankful for what Osgood brought to this organization and this city. Happy retirement, Chris. The downriver puckbunnies will be sure that you are never forgotten.
:: JJ from Kansas, Winging it in Motown, @JJfromKansas
Word. It’s not quite right to say I’m happy to see him go and it’s not quite right to say I’m sad to see him go. If we could have the Chris Osgood from as recently as 2008, I’d take that guy back in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, I just don’t believe that Ozzie’s body can provide that. I know he’s got the competitive fire and I know he’d give the wings 100% to do the best he could, but I also accept that his 100% now is not as great as his 100% used to be or as great as the 100% we need from Howard’s backup.
:: Josh Janusch, Winging it in Motown, @Apocalyptic0n3
I loved Ozzy. I have been defending him for years and the only time I ever was on the other side was when he was squabbling about Jimmy getting the starting job. He’s one of the guys I grew up watching, one of the guys to fight Patrick Roy (that counts for more than it sounds like). He scored a damned goal, even. I hope that we see his jersey raised to the rafters next season and see him inducted into the hall of fame in a few years, despite what the naysayers say.
:: Matt Saler, On the Wings, @onthewings
Prior to his retirement announcement, I’d already come to the conclusion that the best thing was probably for him to retire. It was clear from his starts-and-stops comeback attempt last year that his body was becoming an insurmountable obstacle. I understand the Wings leaving the door open for him from a loyalty perspective, but also realize it was largely because if he could in fact be healthy, he could be a great value. But I’d already dealt with the probability that he couldn’t be healthy. So the announcement was no surprise. Still painful to see the end of an era of Detroit goaltending and the end of the career of the only full-blown Red Wings goalie I’ve ever known.
But I’m thrilled that he’s taken a position with the organization and know he’s the perfect guy for the job of mentoring the young goaltenders. Just look what he did with Jimmy.
:: Chris Moore, Nightmare on Helm Street, @HelmStNightmare
As I discussed on NOHS, unless Osgood didn’t think he had it anymore, I’m not convinced that there are any better options out there. There might be one or two guys who might save one or two more pucks all year than Ozzie, but no-one who was significantly better. I think the locker room personality that Ozzie brings to the table, plus his veteran leadership and friendship with Howie more than make up for those one or two pucks he might let by. And even that being said, when he did play last season, he played well.
Now if he doesn’t have it anymore, he doesn’t have it and we have to move on. But if he was nudged towards the door, I’m not convinced this was the correct decision.
:: Graham Hathway, Winging it in Motown, @Amerinadian19
Since everyone else has looked back, I’ll look forward. The organization did him right by keeping him within the family, and Jimmy Howard has been vocal in the last year and a half about how supportive Osgood has been in his (Howard’s) development and demeanour. I think the continuity of having Osgood still in the dressing room and around the goaltenders will help Howard maintain some focus because he’ll have someone to turn to if things turn south. He’s one of those players that always seemed to be suited for a front office position, and I think he’ll do well in his new role. But it was time for him to hang the pads up.
:: Tyler Devereaux, The Triple Deke, @TheTripleDeke
Chris Osgood was f’real alright. He was a pretty candid guy when it came to providing quotes and discussing every turn of his career. This was both a good thing and a bad thing, but I’ll always look back on it as my favorite thing about him. There was no grey area when he spoke. It was either, “Hey, that’s cool that he said that” or “Fuck me walking — did he really just say that?”
When I was a kid Steve Yzerman was my favorite player, as he was to just about everyone else, but the first Wings jersey I owned was #30’s. I really thought I was going to be a goalie someday so I was naturally drawn to the goalie on my hometown team. While Yzerman was a god among mortals, Ozzie was the mortal-iest of those mortals. He was flawed. At times extremely flawed. Yzerman was the guy you wished you could be but there was zero chance of that ever happening; On the other hand, you at least felt like you had a .001% chance at becoming Chris Osgood. When you’re an awkward 12 year old kid who wants to be a goalie, who’s easier to relate to than an occasionally calamity-prone goalie who looks like he’s 12 years old?
This is far from the end of us talking about, perhaps, the most talked-about Red Wing of the last 20 years. Hall of Fame and jersey retirement discussions will be had, as they’ve been going on for ages already. I’m in the “no” camp on both of those and I’m sure I’m lesser of a fan in the eyes of some, but whatever. Eat my ass. I’ve had my fair share of Interweb Ozzie battles with enemy fans, as we all have defended him at some point. I’ll remember him as a battler with a little bit of that “I don’t give a fuck what you think” attitude that spurred him on through the latter half of his career. I’ll miss him.
:: Jeff Hancock, Winging it in Motown, @JeffHancock41
Christopher J. Osgood. F’real? Yes. Enjoy retirement. It’s been a great 17-year ride. Now please, find your way behind a microphone on Red Wings TV or in the broadcast booth. I’ve always enjoyed Ozzie’s commentary.
:: Captain Norris, The Winged Wheel, @captnorris5
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. I don’t care how awesome Jimmy is, or how amazing his career will be, nothing will ever be as cool as the crowd erupting into “OZ-ZIE OZ-ZIE OZ-IE” after a big save in the playoffs. Now that Ozzie’s hung them up, he no longer needs to be a “love him or hate him” type player – we can all just focus on the love, right? He’s stopped more rubber for the Wings than any other goaltender ever. He’s brought home 3 cups, 2 as the starter. He’s scored a goal. He’s punched Patrick Roy in the face. Multiple times. Dude’s given us a whole lot, including some supreme mentoring for young Jimmy Howard. Mentoring Jimmy will likely rely on in a few years when Wings fans all inevitably turn on him and try and run him out of town by MFing him at every opportunity.
:: Michael Petrella, The Production Line, @mpetrella
Everything I need to say about Chris Osgood, I said yesterday. It’s no secret that I wasn’t a fan, but the man deserves some respect. 401 wins and 3 Stanley Cup rings don’t come by accident, and they’re the exclamation point on a stellar career. But, like most punctuation, it signals the end and it’s time to move on. That the Red Wings were even considering bringing him back was flabbergasting, but now is a time for reflection before the Hall of Fame Will He Won’t He shit becomes too much to bear (we may already be there).
Question 2: Last season, team defense was a real issue. Obviously, you don’t replace a guy like Brian Rafalski, who suddenly retired, but how do you think the blueline (and goal line) will fare this season? Minus Rafalski, Salei, and McCrimmon… plus White, Commodore, and new coaches. Better, worse, or lateral?
I think it depends on what Blashill and Peters bring to the table. The Wings’ system needs some tweaks–it’s become particularly vulnerable to back-door passes to pinching defenders and cycling plays where pucks were sent out parallel to the goal line or from behind the net to players lurking near the faceoff dots for one-timers, and even with Rafalski on the blueline, things weren’t pretty, especially against the Sharks.
White’s mobile enough and defensively sound enough to get the job done and put up 30-40 points as a PP specialist and/or #3 guy (it seems that Niklas Kronwall will get a promotion to the #2 spot, power play time with Lidstrom included, and Stuart and Ericsson will be expected to put up more points), and while Commodore, despite his issues with Scott Arniel, adds some snarl and fists, provides a little more insurance should Jakub Kindl continue to have ups and downs, and I’ve never seen a player get away with more obstruction penalties than Commodore does on regular basis.
As long as Ericsson is playing defense for the Red Wings, the Red Wings team defense doesn’t get better. Actually, I think that the forwards will play better defensively this coming season. I think Ian White can come close to putting up Rafalski type numbers. Also bringing in White washes out the Rusty factor. I do realize that I am trying to kill two birds with one White stone, but I really do think it will work out that way. And I can’t wait for that Commodore hit that makes us all go, “Booyah motherfuckers.” I really want to say ‘better’ but I keep thinking of Jonny, and I just can’t do it.
There’s a ton of evidence that points the other way, but I think the defense will be better next season than it was last year. Rafalski, bless his beautiful bald dome, struggled on the defensive end last season and always had difficulty defending bigger forwards. Overall, I think we’ll miss Rafalski more on the power play than on the defensive end. The development of guys like Kindl and Ericsson (*ducks as Petrella throws a heavy object at his head*) will go a long way towards answering this question furreal. If Shitbox cuts down on the stupid penalties and defensive lapses, we will have a top 4 to rival any defensive corps in the league.
:: JJ from Kansas
I’m trying to do this in a way so as not to blaspheme Rafalski, but I kind of don’t want to replace him. Rafalski has always been the same piece of a machine that’s needed an overhaul for a little bit. I’m starting to think that having too much of the Red Wings offense come from the blue line is part of the reason the overall team defense has been struggling. Keying on the points creates odd-man rushes. Blocked shots up high lead to breakaways. Turning the puck over between the cycle down low and the man up high gives the forwards that half-step delay that’s often the difference between a fantastic (and mostly invisible) backchecking job and the opposition turning transition into goals, time in zone, and momentum. Rafalski individually brought more good than harm to the Wings throughout his tenure in Detroit, but I’m very comfortable trading him for a defenseman who brings a bit less offense but also a bit more defense. I just hope White can live up to that set of expectations. As for Salei, I thought he played well enough over the first half to build up enough good feelings to last him through almost the entire second half. Unfortunately, he had none left over for the playoffs and he kind of sucked in the postseason. I don’t have ill will towards him or anything, but I’m glad he’s gone.
If Lidstrom can play as he did last year, we will be better. We actually have too many good defensemen now. We have 4 guys competing to be Lidstrom’s partner out there (I think Kronwall should be it with White and Stuart on the second pairing, for those wondering) and three guys competing just to make the final spot. I think the competition, along with our new assistants, will help our defense tremendously. Last year, everyone knew who they were and where they were going to be. This year… only one person knows that.
With Rafalski gone, I don’t think there’s any doubt the Wings’ blueline production will take a hit unless Kronwall flips a monster switch. But I like to think that the combination of new voices on the bench, more defense-first-style guys on the blueline and the overall dip in blueline skill should mean a tighter defense. I don’t know much about the new coaches, but it was clear that there was some measure of staleness that had developed under MacLean and Macrimmon, so new voices should mean a new direction. White and Commodore will help weigh the defense toward a defense-first posture that should help their work in their own zone. And no longer having Rafalski’s skilled outlet passes may help force the forwards to be more thoughtful in their integration with the defensive corps.
:: Chris Moore
Detroit had a very passive, non-physical defense these past (few) seasons. This type of defense works by intercepting passes and positioning. Mostly however, this works when everyone is in position, at all times. Basically, when the team was on their game, such as almost the entire 07-08 season.
Now they have a little bit of an edge, a little grit. The skill isn’t exactly as high, but it doesn’t need to be. To get around Detroit, you no longer have to just sauce a pass perfectly around their stick, you have to sauce that pass while remembering that there are four (or five, depending on if E-52 ever decides to use his size) defensemen on the team who are waiting to kill you. This sort of defense doesn’t require as much skill and I think it will make them more consistent, and lately, that means better.
To me, White+Commodore is a slight downgrade from Rafalski+Salei offensively, but is a bigger upgrade defensively. The Wings have had problems in their own zone the last 2-3 seasons, so tightening up the back end while not losing anything offensively (in terms of forwards) was a big priority. White had been on the “Mike Sillinger” career plan prior to signing a 2-year deal with the Wings, and the stability will allow him to focus on his game without worrying about whether he’s on the verge of being traded yet again. Commodore is a physical presence with something to prove, and if there’s one thing the Wings have done a good job of in the past few years, it’s taking a guy who many thought didn’t have much left to offer and allowing them the chance to prove their detractors wrong. A motivated Commodore will also push guys like Kindl and (please God) Ericsson to be better.
I’m thinking lateral. My general thought on this is that you’re looking at the 5th or 6th straight season in which this core group has been together. They’re now so used to their roles (Pav and Hank as the two top dogs; Fil as the poor man’s Hank to anchor the 2nd or 3rd line; Mule as the when-he-feels-like-it power forward; Hudler as the guy who always asks if you think the red spot on his balls is curable) that they have to fight an uphill battle with complacency as well as 29 other teams. That’s just the way the team was built. It’s been a winning formula, obviously, but when you play for a Cup-or-bust franchise every season, that asset of team continuity can lead to mid-season apathy. You’re around the same guys day in and day out for years on end, all knowing that you’re going to have to turn up the intensity ten fold once April comes around. It’s only natural that these guys are going to let team defense slide (the area of the game that complacency damages the most). Of course I’m just addressing the regular season, but we were dead-even with a very good Sharks team in a 7 game series decided largely by home ice. Having the final game at the Joe might have helped a wee bit.
And as for Mike Commodore, I’m just as interested in how long the Wings front office is going to let him tweet things such as “Barry Zito is getting his tits lit” as I am in how he’ll play. What an image that is. Frankly if I can get through life without my nipples catching fire I’m going to consider it a roaring success.
For now, I’m going to say lateral. Defensively the blueline could potentially be better. Offensively the blueline will be worse without Rafalski. My hope is the new guys elevate their game and show they belong wearing the Winged Wheel and the new coaches voices light a fire under the team’s ass. It really just comes down to whether Brendan Smith plays….I kid. The names White and Commodore don’t scream improvement, but we might be pleasantly surprised by what they can bring to the table.
We should not be too quick to overlook Ken Holland’s biggest signing of the summer, a towering offensive-defenseman, only 27 years of age, who is pulling in a cool $3.25 million. Oh. Shit.
Overall, I’d say we’re at a wash from where we were last year as far as the actual roster is concerned. That’s only because Raffi had been back and forth to the DMC so often that he was basically being held together by duct tape and dental floss for the last couple of years. I think that hindered his performance a bit. We’re nowhere near 08 form, but we filled the gaps as best we could.
Beyond the roster, I’d like to say we’ll be better off defensively. One simple reason: the departure of McCrimmon. There’s absolutely no excuse for a team featuring Lids, Raffi, Kronner, Stewie, Z, Pasha, Drapes, Helm, Abby, Miller, and Eaves to be as horrendous defensively as we’ve been since Todd the Traitor jumped ship to teach dive classes on the left coast. I’m excited to see what Babs’ new recruits can bring to the table. It’s gotta be better than the last couple of years, right?
It hurts to say, but I think this defense is worse, in theory. Minus Rafalski and Salei, plus White and Commodore? I wouldn’t trade Brian Rafalski alone — even the version we’ve had the last few years — for those two guys, no offense intended. I’m just hopeful that the shakeups behind the bench make a difference because the talent is there… the execution was not. Losing Brad McCrimmon may have been the best move the blueline made all off-season, and I’m cautiously optimistic that the Wings can be an elite defensive team again.
Question 3: There won’t be many changes up front, as nearly everyone was re-signed and it’s time for a few guys to make the jump up to the big club. Mike Babcock didn’t get his wish for another top six forward, but there’s still time before the rosters are set. Do you foresee a trade or a shocking free agent signing between now and mid-September, or can we expect a similar lineup to last season? Bonus question: if you could select one remaining free agent… or REALISTIC trade target… who would it be, and what would it cost to get them onto this roster? Extra credit if your answer isn’t “Hudler and a 2nd.”
I would never rule out a trade, but between the fact that there are free agents out there and that the UFA market was so skewered that “Hudler and a 2nd” might not get you anything but a 2nd round pick in return (something tells me that asking prices for competent players are crazy right now), I think that it’s highly likely that we’re going to see the Wings stand pat, see what Mursak and Emmerton can do and hope for some internal surprises until the market opens up and/or there might be someone who can be plucked off the waiver wire, or traded for during the second half of the regular season.
If the Wings are in the mood to further roll the dice in the depth category with somebody like Mike Grier, Brad Winchester, Marek Svatos, Patrick O’Sullivan, John Madden or somebody who might actually be a good fit in Ryan Johnson, sure, there are free agents out there that could be had at a bargain price, but there aren’t many (and if somebody suggests a nut-job like Jarkko Ruutu, well he’s a penalty and/or suspension waiting to happen).
My gut tells me that Holland’s going to keep working the phones because that’s what he does, but I think that aside from figuring out what happens with the team’s goaltending and Kris Draper’s fate, the team’s done for the summer.
I just don’t see anything happening, and I’m seriously not a fan of the Semin rumors–Jiri Hudler, in theory, should be able to post as many points and as much frustration that Semin does at half the price.
No deals. The Wings dangled Hudler out there on draft day and didn’t get a sniff and I don’t see him going in a package. At least, any sort of package that doesn’t piss everyone off. A Hudler package deal is like going somewhere cool as a teenager, but on your parents one condition that you bring your Keebler-like littler brother. So I think the roster will pretty much look the same as last year.
Something tells me that Alexander Semin is going to be a Wing within the next three months. Maybe that “something” is a tingling in my balls (which goes well with the “Semin” jokes), but I think there’s too much smoke coming from this rumor for there to not be a small fire starting in Ken Holland’s <strike>pants</strike> office. I think we’ll see a package of Hudler, Filppula and a couple draft picks sent Washington’s way. Happy will light it up in the capital, turning uneducated fans into the same brainless morons wondering why we traded Ville Leino, while Wally will struggle away from the Wing system he’s succeeded in (if not spectacularly). Whether Semin can buy into the Wings system remains to be seen, but adding him to the current lineup is a scary proposition to the rest of the Western conference.
I don’t want to say this is a preference of mine, but I’m terrified that we’re going to end up with Marty Turco as a backup goaltender. Thankfully for my gut (which is often wrong, especially after late night Taco Bell) all signs point towards us announcing the return of the Conk as early as Wednesday morning. Maybe I’m just stressed out from apartment hunting (which, in DC, is about as enjoyable as reading a Ryan Lambert column). I’m firmly in the ABT (Anyone but Turco) column for our backup goaltender in 2011-12.
:: JJ from Kansas
Pending the signing of a backup, the wings have approximately a drug mule’s assload worth of cap space left over. I like the concept of the Wings holding some of that back to give them more deadline flexibility, but I think Kenny told us that to shut us all up and he’s just waiting for a GM to crack and send us a top six guy for a wry smile and a promise to give him a high-five in front of everybody at the next GM conference (as everybody knows that being in with Kenny automatically grants a GM access to the cool kids’ table when they all meet). I make no bones that I want them to get Semin and I think he’s realistically obtainable with a package involving Hudler, Emmerton, and some picks. If McPhee asks for Filppula in return, I take that off the table. I’m not interested in trading a center for a winger right now.
Looking around at various sites and even guys like Wyshynski, I think Alex Semin may be a realistic target. For Hudler and a 2nd… oh, right. For those of you who think Hudler and a 2nd can get us Semin… shove off. Semin will cost us at least 2 early round picks, Tatar or Mursak, and Filpula. Is Semin worth that? I’m not sure. If he can commit to signing an extension, I think so. Can you imagine the sheer destruction that would befall opposing teams when playing against a Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Semin line? It would be a sight to behold.
As for remaining free agents, I have had two in mind for the last week. Unfortunately, Brendan Morrison re-signed with Calgary over the weekend. That leaves just one: former Viper Sergei Samsonov. Given that he has not found a home yet and seems hesitant to return to Russia to play in the KHL, I think he could be signed for $1-1.5 million. If Holland does manage to trade away one or two of our forwards, I truly hope we give Samsonov a good, hard look.
I do not expect a trade that will add to the roster as it stands now, and don’t see them signing anyone. I anticipate them going to camp as-is and coming out carrying Emmerton and Mursak. The only trade I see as a possibility is shipping out Hudler for a couple picks.
:: Chris Moore
I would be really surprised if there is a change. You can tell that Babcock and Holland like their forwards. I’m not convinced 100% yet, I think we need one more forward who can score. I’m totally anti-trading Happy Hudler (you don’t sell when prices are down, plus his potential is way too high), but I think if Wolski is bought out by NY, which looks possible, he’d be a great addition. He’s young, has un-lived up to potential, and seems like a hard worker. If this happens, the Wings should get it on it ASAP.
Shea Weber……oh, you said “realistic”. I don’t foresee the Wings doing a lot, especially considering for the first time since the dawn of the new millenium they actually have some cap space to work with. The top 6 is about as good as any other in the NHL, and I could see the Wings starting the season with the status quo and seeing how the young guys like Mursak and Emmerton (if they both make the team) fare early on. The Wings could use that cap space to possibly go after a rental player for a Cup run at the trade deadline. The cupboards have been pretty much stripped bare in terms of free agents, but a guy who could do well in the Wings’ system would be Steve Bernier. He’s only making around $2M per season, so he’d be cheap. He’s an younger guy who has bounced around a little early in his career and not lived up to his offensive promise that he showed in junior (think the Quebec version of Dan Cleary). He’s good on the PP and if given the right set of linemates, could put up some decent numbers at a reduced price.
I would be shocked if a major move happens. I don’t want to sound too trendy but other than a deal for Semin I can’t think of another realistic target. I sort of like the idea of there being a bunch of cap flexibility heading into the season so there’s an option for a big move, if available.
Status-quo…UNLESS the Rangers buy-out Wojtek Wolski. Malik mentioned it in the past and I actually think Wolski could be a good fit/project. He’s a big body (6’3”) and would have the chance to put up 20 goals and 50-60 points with the Wings talent around him. With all the players the Rangers have going to arbitration, he might become a cap casualty.
I doubt much will change from our current roster this calendar year. I’ll just be happy if we can get through free agency without signing a backup whose first name ends in “ty.” [editor’s note: timing lol]
Still, I don’t think this is the roster that will win #12. Without another addition, I don’t think we’e deep enough at forward to withstand the inevitable injuries that will come throughout the season. Not to mention the injury risks of any potential Game 7 situation that Hudler clearly has money on. I’d put good money (if I wasn’t in debt up to my eyeballs) on Kenny making a trade for a top 6 guy before the deadline. I doubt it’ll happen much earlier unless a need is super apparent by Thanksgiving. I’m betting Kenny will give plenty of time for Mursak and Emmerton to show what they’re made of and for Hudler to rebound in a contract year to get the biggest bang for our respective buck.
I’ll pass on every free agent still out there, minus Teemu which would never ever happen. Like I said, I’m guessing deadline trades. Though, looking at 2012 impact free agents that are on teams likely to be sellers, the best available is Shane Doan and that’s just straight up silly. Though, Patrick Sharp is on that list as well. I love fantasizing that Chicago will be sellers come February. In an absolute fantasy world, I’d love to trade Fil and a few picks for Sharp. Right handed power forward who can score goals and guarantee all sorts of inappropriateness out of TPLatina? Yes please.
BUT, you said to be realistic, so fine. I’ll go with a three way trade between the Caps, the Wings, and the Devils where we get Parise and Semin for Ericsson, a Modano sign-and-trade, and Dave Coulier’s loyalty as a fan. (e5)
I do think that the Wings have tried to unload Hudler, and since there weren’t any takers, it wouldn’t be a pleasant trade from Detroit’s perspective. Think Ville Leino: he was fairly useless at the time of his trade, despite his promising European career, and the Flyers gave up only a dude that they had no intention of playing (Tollefson) and a late-round draft pick. Now, think of that deal again… but add two million dollars to the cap hit. No one’s going to want Hudler, but there’s a little bit of hope that some team that’s swimming toward the cap floor will need an extra two bills on the roster, and may be offering a mid-level prospect.
If there was a single player I could poach, it would be Shea Weber of the Predators. I know I’m not alone in that, but I do think there’s more to the story than either party is letting on. Nashville wanted a long term deal and Weber’s people said he’d prefer a shorter one. He’s heading to arbitration (unless the two sides can agree beforehand) and the most that an arbitrator can rule is two years of complete awkwardness in the locker room after hearing your boss say horrible, horrible things about you. If he wants to move on, and the Predators are dumb enough to deal him within the division (at least… the current division), I’d offer anyone on the roster except for Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Lidstrom, and Howard. Franzen, Filppula, any defensive prospect and a 1st for a year of Weber and the opportunity to sign him long-term? You betcha.