Offer Sheets: How Aggressive Is 'Aggressive'?
The Red Wings brass, from Holland to Nill to Babcock and Devellano, have all expressed a common sentiment regarding this offseason: aggression. Enough evidence seems to have mounted for Detroit to realize that they need to adapt the team's composition and style of play to some extent to continue their success. Holland and co. have voiced plans for the team to get bigger and stronger and to be aggressive in free agency.
My question is: would/should the Red Wings consider attempting to poach restricted free agents this summer?
Ken Holland has consistently stated opposition to offer sheets and I doubt this trend will change. They are frowned upon by most in the league and stir up negative relations between teams whether or not the offer is matched. Since the lockout, six RFAs have signed offer sheets but Dustin Penner is the only one to change teams.
Detroit doesn't have a particularly deep prospect pool with only a few standouts in each position. The mandatory draft pick compensation from a successful offer sheet could be too steep for a franchise looking to strengthen their farm system. Furthermore, Ken Holland and the Red Wings franchise as a whole have a great league-wide reputation and presenting offer sheets would quickly pockmark their image.
Conversely, Detroit needs to bolster its offense substantially to become a true elite again and their top forwards (Datsyuk, Franzen, Zetterberg) are on the wrong side of their primes. Acquiring a top young forward whose best years are ahead of them would be a reward for seasons to come. Also, if Nick Lidstrom retires, the Wings are going to need even more help on defense, especially offensively, than if they just lose Brad Stuart Zach Parise and Ryan Suter have been tied to rumors for several months, but the UFA class besides them isn't particularly strong at any position.
I doubt that Detroit will be aggressive and bold enough to sign anyone to an offer sheet but here are some possibilities if they chose to:
Peter Mueller, David Perron, Jakub Voracek, Sam Gagner, Chris Stewart, Kris Versteeg, Evander Kane, Matt Duchene, Wojtek Wolski, Alexander Radulov, Ryan O'Reilly, Jamie Benn, TJ Oshie, Blake Comeau
Erik Karlsson, Mike Green, Erik Johnson, Cam Barker, Evan Oberg, Michael Del Zotta, Theo Peckham, Ryan Wilson, Matt Niskanen, P.K. Subban
That's an attractive list of names but of course, they are names teams would not want to lose meaning the likelihood the offer(s) would be matched is high. Like many Wings fans, I'm excited to see how aggressive Detroit really is, and making an offer for a RFA would be about as aggressive as they could get.