OT - Report: Brian Rafalski Set to Retire Wednesday

Submitted by hockeyguy9125 on May 23rd, 2011 at 5:52 PM

Reports going around the news that Red Wings D-Man Brian Rafalski will retire on Wednesday...


Probably because of the knee and back problems that have really hurt him the past few years. I did not see this coming, but this will probably be a better situation than a not healthy Rafalski for the future. The ultimate positive spin to this: That is $6 million more for Ken Holland to play with/make some magic happen.



May 23rd, 2011 at 7:14 PM ^

I was psyched when the Wings signed him back in '07.  Nothing like seeing a Detroit-born guy win a Cup in his hometown (OK, Dearborn, whatever).  All told he won three Cups -- not bad for a kid who had to toil in Europe for several years because he wasn't good enough for the NHL.


May 23rd, 2011 at 7:21 PM ^

Unfortunate that his career might be cut short because of injuries, but he was a pretty good player throughout his career. Congrats on a couple Cups and a solid career Brian!


May 23rd, 2011 at 7:43 PM ^


The guy has had a good career, but I cannot take watching his dancing on ice routine anymore. He's just too small, coupled with the injuries he's not willing to take any contact and coughs up the puck WAY too much. Plus, he's making $6 million per year.

I'm sure some crazy downriver Wing fan will downvote me for saying anything about dem der Red Wings...But this guy has become a liability on the ice & his salary is killing us.

I'd go after Weber, Drew Doughty (RFA), whatever big name D man is out there. Who cares about the picks, they're all going to be in the 20's and we haven't picked up anyone in this range that has done jack shit in years. Just like the Pistons, NBA draftees who are instant contributors are picks 1-5 max. NHL you can probably expand up to picks 10-15 depending on the depth of the draft. The rest being a crapshoot to make it in the league. Let's face it, we won't be picking that high anytime soon.

Sorry about the rant, I'm sure he's a good guy & had a good career. Him coupled with Happy Hudler are two players I loathe and this news seriously gave me wood (in a strictly heterosexual, I love sports, boobs, and beer type of way). Now, just tell me Happy Hudler was traded for a bag of pucks and I might get Frank the Tank shitbombed and go streaking!


May 23rd, 2011 at 8:00 PM ^

It's undeniable that he has not been worth his $6M salary the last couple years. His turnover:takeaway ratio has been devastating. This should clear up a fair amount of cap space by losing a guy who has certainly not been worth his salary or cap hit for the last couple years.

One of the negative issues here is that I think it's questionable as to whether or not Ericsson comes back. I read he turned down $2M a year for 2 years and I don't think he's worth more than that yet. He's still FAR too inconsistent. IF he played like he did in the playoffs, 2.5-3M, if he plays like he did in the regular season, 1-1.5M/yr. Replacing them both and Lidstrom (possibly this year, next year definitely) is going to be hard on the defensive corps.


May 23rd, 2011 at 8:16 PM ^

Are pipe dreams, as someone has mentioned. The are team killers unless the Wings are interested in trading away roster players and prospects to get high draft picks back. There have to be some other lower priced RFA's or UFA's out there the WIngs could look at.



May 23rd, 2011 at 8:16 PM ^

Meant to ask you this earlier when you were talking about the cost of Doughty, didn't LA kind of kill themselves when they paid Kopitar $7 million Ryan Smith $6+ million and then paid Jack Johnson $4.5 million.  

Can they even afford to keep Doughty?  Or are you saying someone other than the Kings will be giving him 8.5 million a year?


May 23rd, 2011 at 9:20 PM ^

I expect Doughty to sign with LA for the 6.5-7.5 million range. I know he loves it there and grew up a Kings fan. That's why I'm saying it would take a crazy contract for him to leave. The kings can afford him but obviously they will be pretty much done with the big money players for a while.


May 24th, 2011 at 9:23 AM ^

Yes, I do realize how much it would take to pry Drew Doughty from the Kings. Do you realize that if Rafalski retires that gives us $6mill in monoply money we never thought we'd have. Losing Draper, Salei, Modano, Osgood releives $5.2 mill from the books, all of which are role players who can easily be replaced with your Eaves, Millers, Mursaks, Kindl, etc.

Do you realize Drew Doughty is 21 yrs old and already been a Norris Trophy finalist? So yes, I would pay him $7.5 million per season without hesitation.

Look the teams left in the playoffs. Boston has big name/price players in Chara, Horton, Lucic (maybe not top dollar yet, but will get paid soon), Bergeron, Kaberle, et. Vancouver has big price tag players in Luongo - $10mil, Sedins, $6.1 mil each, Kessler - $5 mil, Hamhuis - $5 mil & slew of players at $3mil to $4mil. Chicago has Keith, Seabrook, Kane, Hossa, Toews, all paid top dollar.

Yes, I do know hockey & how things work. Superstars make a difference, the real success is unearthing role players that make the difference, as we have with Cleary, Helm, Holmer, etc. We need some more top end talent no matter what anybody says, it's up to Holland to round out the roster from there.


May 24th, 2011 at 10:08 AM ^

But the Kings have the right to match any offer we make to Doughty because he is a RESTRICTED free agent.  If the Kings match the Red Wings offer, then Doughty can only consider the Kings offer.  Any reasonable offer would be matched by the Kings, because Lombardi is a good General Manager who understands how important Doughty is to their future. 

Thus, to get Doughty, the Red Wings would have to go significantly above market value, let's say in the 8.5-9 million dollar range.  If the Kings did NOT match an offer in that range, then Doughty could sign with Detroit.  As a result of this offer sheet process, however, the Red Wings would then owe the Kings FOUR 1st round draft choices.  That is an absolute nightmare in the cap age, and why only six offer sheets have been tendered post-lockout, and only one has NOT been matched.


May 23rd, 2011 at 8:12 PM ^

So what does anyone think the Wings will go for? Will they go after a RFA? or just UFA? What would anyone think of them going after Yandle? 

The Yotes won't be able to pay him a whole lot and he's always done well against the Wings.



May 23rd, 2011 at 8:20 PM ^

Wings need to resign Miller, Eaves, Ericcson, Lidstrom(!!), Meech, McDonald. 


I would let Modano, Draper, Osgood retire. I would let Filppula's brother go back to Finland.


I'm impartial on Salei, doesn't matter if you let him go or resign him (his absence would make room for another youthful player in GR, i.e. Brendan Smith). 


The D-men that the Wings should go after are: Bieksa (UFA), Ehroff (UFA), White (UFA), Wiesnewski (UFA), Brewer (UFA). 


The forwards that they should go after are: Michael Ryder (UFA), Brad Richards (UFA), Craig Adams (UFA). 


Goalies???: Bryzgalov (UFA) or just let the minor league guys battle it out for the backup spot. 


I really think that the Wings are going to have to make some trades to utilize their cap space. This years free agent market is not filled with studs. The best prospects on the market are probably Bieksa, Richards, and Bryzgalov. 



May 23rd, 2011 at 8:30 PM ^

I would be in full support of them trying to sign him. I think he would fit well with the Wings. As far as Salei, I thought he did a better job against SJ than Stuart did. I thought Stuart was looking pretty rough the last few games.

The WIngs are NOT going to spend another $4M on a goalie. The backup will be MacDonald or Pearce unless they can get Larsson to come back from Sweden, and I'm not sure he would be any better than MacDonald or Pearce.


May 24th, 2011 at 9:54 AM ^

One of Bieksa or Ehrhoff will be available, but they're getting a lot of expsore/hype right now due to Vancouver's deep run into the playoffs.  My guess is that they'll be overpaid.  Wiesnewski will probably be the best bang for the buck. 

Unfortunately, though the Wings will have lots of cap space to play with, especially if Lidstrom retires, this just isn't a good year for UFA defensemen.  Last year would have been ideal, with plenty of 2-3 type guys available like Paul Martin, Dan Hamhuis, and Zybenek Michalek.

The Wings could go after Richards, but I don't think he's the answer.  He'll be overpaid, and though he's still a great player, he's on the backside of his career.  If you sign him to a 5-6 year deal, you won't be getting the same player at the end of that contract.  The Wings, instead, need to get younger. 

Craig Adams will likely sign in Pittsburgh.  He's critical to their penalty kill, and I'm guessing he'll show loyalty to the team that picked him up off waivers and won him another Stanley Cup.


May 23rd, 2011 at 9:28 PM ^

 Keith Yandle from Phoenix. He is a RFA, but he's not going to cost too much, 3-4 mil per season. It'd be kinda interesting to see what would happen since the Coyotes are technically owned by all the other teams.


May 24th, 2011 at 7:41 AM ^

I have a feeling Yandle is going to get a bit more than 3-4 per year. I'm thinking he might get offers for 5-6. He's 24 years old and has been a great two-way defenseman the past two years. If Kris Letang got 3.5 after getting 79 points in a bit over 3 seasons, Yandle should get around 5 or so for getting 100 in the past two.


May 23rd, 2011 at 10:28 PM ^

The Red Wings can't go wrong signing Weber to an offer sheet- If they offer him 6.5-7 per season- the Predators have to match that- which will destroy their cap space. If Detroit signs him- they have their post Nick Lidstrom D-man.


I am gonna miss Rafalski though- his clutch PP shooting from the point- all around good-guy and great player for the Red Wings.


May 23rd, 2011 at 11:37 PM ^

FWIW, Lidstrom golfed at the course I work for recently. People talked to him and I heard that he has moved his wife and kids back to Sweden. I also heard that he is trying to sell his membership at Oakland Hills. Obviously this doesn't mean anything for certain, but those two things plus just hearing him talk hockey gave me the impression that he's planning on hanging up the skates. 

I'd love to see him back for one more year though

duffman is thr…

May 24th, 2011 at 4:14 AM ^

This is some shitty news. He has been hurt, so maybe not as big of a surprise as I initially thought. He was pretty lights out in the Olympics from what I remember. 


May 24th, 2011 at 10:26 AM ^

I don't think many of you realize how infrequently offer sheets are used (i.e. the process of trying to sign a restricted free agent like Weber, Yandle, Doughty).  Brief recap on the process:  if you want to sign a RFA, you tender that player an offer sheet.  The team who owns his rights can either match it (and then the player can no longer consider the outside team at that offer) or they can allow the deal to go through.  If the deal goes through, the outside team aquiring the player must give the team losing the player draft picks dependent upon how much the offer is worth.

Since the lockout, only six offer sheets have been tendered, and only one has NOT been matched (Dustin Penner).  To get someone like Weber or Doughty, who are expected to earn in the range, you'd have to offer significantly in excess of that.  Offering more than ~7.8 million means that if the team does NOT match your offer and you aquire the player, you must give up your next FOUR 1st round draft picks to that team.  In the day and age of the cap, losing four 1st round picks is a nightmare.

Ken Holland is too cap conscious to even consider sending an offer sheet to one of these guys.  He'll likely look at the crop of UFA defensemen, as underwhelming as they are, and go from there.