Disapointing to see the Red Wings go out in 5 games to the Sharks, especially considering I felt that Detroit was the better team in 3 of the 5 games in that series. There could be some cap issues this summer, and Lidstrom may retire, Maltby has said he'll probably test free agency, Tomas Holmstrom will likely come back, and Jiri Hudler is coming back over from the KHL.
Here is my offseason plan for the Red Wings, but it would require the great Nik Lidstrom to return at severely reduced pay. But you figure Stevie Y was playing for $1 million later in his career for Detroit so I wonder if Lidstrom would take a page out of his book and play for a little over $3 million?
Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Cleary, Draper, and Filpulla are all under contract for next year and aren't going anywhere, add Jiri Hudler to the mix ($2.875 million), and you've got a few spots to fill.
- Tomas Holmstrom re-signed, 2 years $3.5 million (cap hit = $1.75 mil)
- Darren Helm re-signed, 2 years $2.2 million (cap hit = $1.1)
- Justin Abdelkader re-signed, 2 years $1.9 million (cap hit = $950k)
- Drew Miller re-signed, 2 years $1.5 million (cap hit = $750k)
- UFA Slava Kozlov is coming off a very weak year in Atlanta, he's an old Red Wing and could be worth taking a gamble on, let's look at the type of money Prospal, Afinogenov got etc. for a comparison and say he that Kozlov (39) could be had on a 1 year deal for $1.1 million. This would be more of a gamble but would be cheaper than re-signing Bertuzzi.
- UFA Adam Mair could fill the role of tough guy, he was up and down with Buffalo this year but I think the guy can still play and could be affordable as the 13th forward, let's say $550k.
Rafalski, Stuart, Kronwall, and Ericsson are all still under contract, and although I'm not a fan of Jonathan Ericsson, he is cheap and he'll be retained.
-Nik Lidstrom re-signed for $3.25 million on a 1 year contract. If he would accept this type of salary, in order to stay competitive then this plan could be somewhat realistic, but its up to Nik.
- Andreas Lilja re-signed 2 years, $2.3 million (cap hit = $1.15 mil)
-UFA Aaron Ward, who bounced around from Boston, Carolina, and Anaheim in the past year is 38 years old, and is not spectacular, but can get the job done as a depth guy. I figure he'll go for around $800k. He might be interested in playing for a big time team like the Wings at this stage in his career as well.
As much as this pains me to write, I guess Osgood's time is passed. He was a great goalie and really underrated but I think the Wings will move on. If he can be moved to play elsewhere then that could be an option, if not then they'll have to get his salary off the books another way.
Jimmy Howard.... This guy is pretty good but I don't see him as a Stanley Cup goalie, at least not right now. He choked against the Sharks and was just okay agains the Coyotes. Looking back to 1996, Chris Osgood was the young starter for the Red Wings but they lost in the final 4, the Wings came back with Veteran Mike Vernon in 1997 and won the cup and then Osgood came back as the starter in 1998 and was ready to be a champion. I think the Red Wings would benefit from some grade A goaltending and shouldn't be so cheap.
UFA Marty Turco, 3 years $12 million (cap hit = $4 million) I don't think that price is unreasonable for either side, and Turco (who still has good hockey left in him) would get a chance to win the cup.
This team would fit under the cap as per capgeek.com, and would breakdown something like this:
Hudler - Zetterberg - Franzen
Fillpula - Datsyuk - Kozlov
Cleary - Helm - Holmstrom
Miller - Draper - Abdelkader/Mair
Lidstrom - Rafalski
Kronwall - Stuart
Ward - Lilja/Ericsson