OT- Red Wings Free Agency/Off Season

Submitted by MGoPietrowski on June 7th, 2012 at 11:50 AM

The post a few down about our boy Mike Knuble actually inspired this one. I have been thinking since April about who the Red Wings might pick up or go after this off season. I believe the free agency signing period begins July 1st, but could be wrong. 

On this slower than usual Thursday (for me at least), I thought I'd pose a few questions to the Red Wings fans on this board. 

1. One thing the #6 and #8 seed Kings and Devils have in common is their ferocious physical play. Those two teams threw more combined big hits in game one of the cup final than the preds and the wings did in their entire series (i may be exaggerating). To me, this proves that you have to be a tough, gritty and physical team to survive the long and wary post season. I don't care for Don Cherry, but alot of us including myself who made snide remarks on his calling the Red Wings "not tough enough" back when we were #1 in the league (before injuries hit) are kind of eating our words. Do you think the Red Wings will move for more physical skaters this year? What are our options?

2. With the departure of Rafalski (6Mil in cap room) we didn't really go and spend much money. Now with Lidstrom's contract space freeing up, do you think we'll go after a few scorers? I have heard rumblings of Parise and Nash, but there's really no telling. Who are you guys up in the D hearing? Who would you like?

3. Pertaining to question #2, losing Rafalski and Lidstrom took away our #1 and #2 D-men. Who will replace them? Suter? Weber? Semin? What do you MGoBloggers think?

4. Jimmy Howard. Thoughts?

5. I'm not calling for his head. But here is an honest question... While we brought the cup home in 2008, and lost in the finals in 2009, our playoff track record has been rather, eh, shitty. Second round exits in 10 and 11, and we took a step back and won only 1 playoff game this year. In your mind, should Babcock be on a hot seat? A warm seat? Scott free? I don't know. I try to remain level headed, but after Nashville discarded us this year, the thought of at least a 97.2 degree seat cushion crossed my mind. Maybe I was just butthurt.

6. Finally, who would you be willing to part with. even the fan favorites. As a former player, and a high school coach, i think we could get waaaay more out of Franzen than he's really worth. With guys like Datsyuk and Zetterberg in the lineup, Franzen was our goal scoring leader this year. I don't know how this happened. He has a hard time handling the puck, and in terms of physicality he and Bertuzzi both lay guys out about 10% as much as they should considering their bulk. Who do you guys think we could unload?

Sorry for the essay. As an avid Wings fan, this is what I've had to ponder since our embarrasing and uninspired playoff performance this season. 


Also, I hope Kronwall is a Wing forever.



June 7th, 2012 at 12:01 PM ^

Agreed on Babcock. Also Semin is not a defenseman so he can't replace Nick or Rafalski.

Nash is completely out of the question if you ask me. We would need I trade for him and unless Detroit is going to give up on Franzen, Filpulla, and Kindl or Smith then Columbus wouldn't trade...especially to a team in the division.

I see Detroit going after Parise, Suter, possibly Weber, Semin, Jackman, Wideman, and Gaustad. They obviously won't get them all but those are the players I see them inquiring about.

IMO I see Detroit landing Suter and Parise both. I feel very confident about it for some reason.


June 7th, 2012 at 12:08 PM ^

There is a lot about this all over the interwebs.
Parise and Suter, hopefully added.
Homer, retiring.
Stuart, gone to Sharks.
Hudler, bye bye.
Hello Smith, Nyquist. Possibly Tatar, this leading to either emmerton or mursak possibly being traded to clear room.
I would love to see u.f.a. D from wisconsin who won't sign with the ducks heavily pursued. Think another Smith or better in skill. Name is Schultz.


June 7th, 2012 at 12:45 PM ^

Just a tidbit on Stuart. From my understanding, he's only gone if he's going to play for the Sharks. Some other West Coast teams might be able to lure him, but that move is just so he can be near his family. However, from what I've read and heard, he's only likely to move if the Sharks come calling.


June 7th, 2012 at 12:39 PM ^

He's a rfa.
Signing him would cost the wings like 3 first round draft picks. Don't have the table available, but it would kill the draft for years, due to cba.


June 7th, 2012 at 12:10 PM ^

1. It depends on what your definition of "physical skater" is. Rick Nash is a big guy, but he's also a prolific goal scorer on a horrible team. Traditionally, your "checking lines" are your third and fourth lines, with the top six forwards out there to put the puck in the net. I don't think anyone argues that our defense is physical enough, they just can't handle the puck in their own zone sometimes *coughKindlcough*. I don't think they need to seek out a checking forward for the sake of having a checking forward.

2. The names on everyone's short list are Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. With the Devils' (and to a lesser extent, the Preds') deep run in the playoffs, luring those guys away will be harder than we thought. As far as Suter goes, he's apparently in extension talks with Nashville, who really wants to lock him down before the start of free agency. If he doesn't sign an extension before the free agency period, expect the Wings to throw an exorbitant contract offer at him. Parise is more of an enigma, just because his team is still playing. He won't touch on his contract or free agency until the off-season. I will say that he has played good, but not great, hockey for the Devils during the playoffs. Get Rick Nash out of your head, though. He's still under contract, so the Jackets are trying to trade him. In order to pick him up, you'd probably have to ship two or three starting players and a few draft picks, and nobody is worth that much.

3. Suter is your best/flashiest bet to step into the lineup. There is also a young defenseman in L.A. whose name escapes me that might be worth kicking the tires on. Even if you only sign one off-season defenseman (and assuming Stuart leaves like everyone thinks he will), you'll still have Kronwall/Ericsson/Kindl/Quincey/Smith. With Suter in there, that's not a bad blue line at all.

4. He's not going anywhere, and nor should he.

5. Honestly, you're just butthurt. You don't fire a coach when he gets you to the playoffs every season. Look what happened to the Pistons after they fired Larry Brown when he took them to four straight conference finals.

6. Look for one of Hudler, Franzen, Filppula, and Abdelkader to get shipped in a mid-to-high-level trade. If they sign more than one defenseman, you could see Ericsson, Kindl, or  Smith get moved as well. I'd love to see them ship Zetterberg for two or three players, but his contract makes that somewhat prohibitive.


June 7th, 2012 at 1:29 PM ^

Don't forget about Ian White.  He still has one more year.  With Suter, you could leave Kindl or Smith in Grand Rapids.  With the late addition of Qunicey last season, I don't know that the blue line really needs much more than a top 2 guy like Suter would be.  With that, your point about trading a D-man in point 6 makes a little more sense... especially if by some chance Stuart doesn't sign in SJ.  If things all work in the Wings favor and we have Suter/White, Kronwall/Stuart, Ericsson/Quincey, that would be just fine with me.  I would think Ericsson and Kindl would be on the block before Smith though imo.


June 7th, 2012 at 4:04 PM ^

And I agree with all your points following. White's existence makes either Ericsson or Kindl expendable. Personally, I'd love to see Kindl go because he seems to be good for at least one boneheaded turnover per game, but I know a lot of people think that Big E has jumped the shark.

A realistic defense looks like Suter/White, Kronwall/Quincey, Ericsson/Kindl/Smith. I'm all right with that.


June 7th, 2012 at 12:12 PM ^

Interesting question about Babcock.  I thought that his greatest strength from '07 through '09 was his ability to get extremely hard work and discipline out of a team that was already good enough to win lots of games just on sheer talent.  The past few years, that hasn't happened.  The decline actually started somewhat in the '08-'09 regular season.  I think that the team is tough enough, but they don't look hungry.  The Wings are also finally suffering the inevitable consequences of trading away first rounders and drafting at the bottom every year for almost two decades. 


June 7th, 2012 at 12:14 PM ^

To be honest, I want d-men like Ryan Suter and Jack Johnson (even though he's under contract).  Big, physical, have booming slapshots to replace a pretty good one in Nick.

I also think we could get a good forward in exchange for Franzen.  He's worn out his welcome.  

Jimmy still have time to prove himself.  Let's put more pieces in place in front of him.


June 7th, 2012 at 1:40 PM ^

He had six goals in 12 games in 2010. 

He had two in 8 games at least partially injured last year.

He didn't show up this one year (but at least he had one goal, something that you can't say about Datsyuk in that shitfest 2006 series against Edmonton).  I think that's the sample size that you are talking about.  Not enough to draw a long term trend, unless you think that his health issues are a big factor (which they very well might be). 


June 7th, 2012 at 2:42 PM ^

He had six goals in 12 games in 2010

I hate when people try to say this. Yes, he did have 6 goals in 12 games. BUT, 4 of those goals came in Game 4 against the Sharks when we were down 3 games. That's 2 goals in 11 games, which is horrible for a guy making 5 million a year. I'll give you part of the injury year, but it's still 3 straight postseasons that's he has been virtually invisible. We've tried to run/ran goaltenders out of town for not performing after a couple postseasons, yet we're giving Franzen a free pass. I'm not saying we ship him out to the first buyer, but definitely float him around, and see what's out there


June 7th, 2012 at 1:20 PM ^

I think you just responded to overreactions with an overstatement. To get something good, you have to give up something good. If trading Franzen plus prospects nets us a better player, I'm all for it. He is inconsistent and not a franchise player, but still very good when he is on. If he's The Mule, why can't we ride him? If we're going to trade for a guy like Nash, Franzen is probably the guy we're going to have to give up and that's fine with me.


June 7th, 2012 at 12:14 PM ^

Untouchable players should be:

1.  Franzen

2.  Zetterberg

3.  Howard

4.  Kronwall

5.  Datsyuk


Everyone else should be on the table. 


June 7th, 2012 at 12:18 PM ^

Re: point #1 - I think this has less to do with big, physical teams that hit and more with the parity that now exists in the league thanks to the salary cap.  Gone are the days of the 2002 Wings who could just steamroll people.  Seriously, go look up that roster. 

Blue In NC

June 7th, 2012 at 12:37 PM ^

I disagree with a few of your points but overall enjoyed your post.  A few comments:

1.  I don't like it when people try to "model" the team after whoever is in the finals for a given year.  When the wings won, people said you need two-way centers and puck possession.  When the Pens won, people said you need two scoring superstars.  And so on.  There are many different styles that win.  Don't copy the last guy and think you will magically wind up in the finals.

2.  I think the Wings need a premier scorer so for me it's Parise first, then Semin as a fall back.  Others might work but those are top 2 targets for me.  I would let Huds walk unless he wants to come back without any pay increase.  Nash is very unlikely to be realistic for the Wings and I would rather sign guys than trade assets.

3.  Agree that the Wings need a #1 or #2 Dman.  Too bad the pickings are slim outside of Suter, maybe Schultz (FA from Wisc), Wideman or Carle.  Really it's Suter or bust for Plan A.

4.  I am fine with Howard.  He's maybe not top 5 but I think he is top 15 and perfectly fine to win you a cup if you otherwise have a very good team.  And he's relatively cheap for a top 15 goalie.

5.  I like Babs and think he is a very good coach.  His message may be old right now but I don't see any replacement I like near as much.

6.  I would let Huds go, might not sign Quincey if Suter was signed (otherwise you have to I think).  Mule I would trade IF I could get back equal value but that's unlikely so I would probably stick with him.

My optimal plan would be to sign Suter, Parise (or Semin) and 1 other borderline 2nd/3rd line forward.  Plus a relatively cheap backup goalie.



June 7th, 2012 at 12:46 PM ^

Franzen was our leading scorer despite being lazy. I don't get why everyone wants to ship him out. I Especially don't get why people suggest trading him for Semin who is just as lazy and not as big of a scoring threat.


June 7th, 2012 at 12:47 PM ^

If C-bus would trade Nash for Franzen, Filpulla, and Kindl i'd pull the trigger. The Wings haven't had a power forward like Nash since Shanahan IMO. I like Franzen, but he isn't as good as Nash. I think Nash would be a very good fit on this team. I believe Filpulla would easily be replaced by one of the young guys, and I'd rather see the team hold on to Hudler, then Filpulla. Hudler showed me way more then Fil did during these playoffs. Hudler got into the dirty areas, while Fil was easily pushed to the outside. He needs space, and his space was easily defended during the playoffs.  Fil looked like a different player during the Worlds, but he had way more space.

Weber is not going to happen since he is a RFA. Parise and Suter are very much in play, as long as they don't sign with their current clubs. Holland has said that he will trade for negotiating rights to players they want. Knuble wants to be in Detroit next year, but does Detroit want Knuble? I wouldn't mind seeing him back in the D again. I was hoping he'd be someone they picked up the last time he was available.

Jimmy Howard is fine. He was a Vezina canidate up until he got hurt. IMO Howard is better then Ozzie, and Ozzie was one of my favorites.  They need a capable backup. Everyone thought Conklin was going to be that guy last year, but he was far from it. Joey Mac is on a one way next year, so he'll be an option, but his back problems are a big question mark. I don't know who they'll look at there.


June 7th, 2012 at 1:12 PM ^

"I'd rather see the team hold on to Hudler, then Filpulla."

This I don't understand at all.  Filppula had a bad playoffs this year, but so did everyone.  He still had as many points as hudler, and half the giveaways, never got pushed down like someone's 10 year old brother, and can skate.  Last year Fil outscored Hudler by triple or more in the playoffs and was one of our better players.  In a year where the whole team was bad, I will give him a pass until next year before I give up on him.

And we can't do anything with him but sign him.  He is UFA, so he can go wherever he wants, we can't include him in a trade.  Maybe we can sign him and trade him for Mason Raymond whom Vancouver has been rumored to be moving... yes i know, never going to happen. 

Hudler is the exact opposite of everythign the wings need. (my opinion of course.)




June 7th, 2012 at 2:37 PM ^

Fils and Hudlers stats are pretty comparable acutally.  Fil has 20 more points and has played in 32 more games then Hudler. Hudler has 12 goals and 19 assists in 60 games while Fil has 10 and 27 in 61 games ( not included is the 09-10 season). And i seen Fil get pushed around a lot this playoff year. I'm not saying the wings should throw a ton of money at Hudler because they shouldn't, but I don't htink they should let a 25 goal scorer just walk away. As the person who said Hudler has a bad attitude, this is the first i've ever heard of that, and I follow hockey just as much as I do M football. I'd rather see them re-sign Hudler then sign Semin.

And like I said, I'd love to see Nash in a Wings uni. Whether thats siging hudler then trading him and franzen or fil or whatever. IMO if they lose Franzen in a deal to get Nash, and Fil or Hudler or both are packaged with them. I think they can replace Hudler and Fil pretty easily.

Lets play a little bit. Lets say the trade Franzen, Fil, and Hudler for Nash. Sign Parise and pick up Knuble or maybe Ryan Smyth. Would everyone be happy. They have the cash to do that, and hae enough to sign suter.


June 7th, 2012 at 12:57 PM ^

1. You can be physical without throwing a bunch of bone crushing checks.  And you can win too, see Wings 4 cups.   That said, the Wings were missing a lot of speed and physical play with Cleary, Helm, and Eaves all out of the lineup and a guy like Hudler getting pushed around like a mini mite.  I do think the wings will look to add a larger 3-4th line grinder agitator that can skate.

2-3.  List starts and ends with Parise and Suter.  Thats the dream.  If that can't or doesn't happen the Wings will get creative and maybe look to next years class of UFRs.

4. Best bargain in hockey and the reason we can have Hank, Pav, and still be talking about 2 more max(ish) deals.  You can win it all with a goalie like him.

5. No coach is 100% safe, but he is close.

6. Deals very rarely work out Veterans for Veterans.  You need to get one thing and give another, something both teams think they need.  Wings might need a Nash type, but can we give up what columbus needs?  That would be young not yet big contract guys like Nyquist, Smith, Kindl, Tatar.   They are not going to take guys like Z or Franzen.  Huds is not worth a used puck bag and he is an UFA anyway.  So I just don't see a trade happening unless we ship out some extra pieces for late round picks, and as of right now we don't have a lot of extra pieces.

Keep your eye on Jason Garrison of the Panthers,  the Wisco kid not signed by the Ducks AND the Western Kid., an undrafted FA.