Can Wings Learn From Flyers or 2001 Failure?

Ryan Suter. Zach Parise. A back up goalie and some size and grit up front. We've already heard all of this from Wings pundits, but let's throw something totally insane out there; can any NHL team do what the Philadelphia Flyers did last offseason and succeed?

Think about it - the Flyers traded two of their top forwards (Mike Richards and Jeff Carter) to clear room for Ilya Bryzgalov and a bunch of young guns with high potential, including Jakub Voracek, Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier and Wayne Simmonds. The Red Wings haven't made a significant trade since acquiring Brad Stuart from Los Angeles at the 2008 trade deadline for a couple of draft picks. 

This Red Wings writer would love both Parise and Suter to be here, and in a perfect world, so would Nicklas Lidstrom. But what happens if they sign elsewhere? Nashville could resign Suter and Weber to discount deals. The Preds beat the Wings easily i nthe first round, so maybe they think they have a real shot next year as well; a shot that is better than in Detroit. Parise's future is also in doubt, seeing that New Jersey's financial situation is more confusing than Kyle Quincey's decision making. 

Suppose that both don't even make it to free agency? Then what? The top free agents that would be left are  Alexander Semin, Dennis Wideman, Jason Garrison, P.A Parenteau, Shane Doan and Teemu Selanne, with the last two either retiring or signing back with their respective teams. 

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren took a lot of heat for the deals that sent Richards and Carter out of town, but as of now it seems to be working out. The Flyers have some great skill on their squad, all the way down to the rookie fourth liners. Can and will Ken Holland do somthing like that? 150% no way. It's not his way. Is anyone thinking Johan Franzen is going to be moved? There's no way. 

Therefore, one would have to conclude that the Red Wings absolutely have to make a trade. The team still has talent, but the same core that won the Stanley Cup in 2008 is not getting the job done. Two second round exits and a first round blasting at the hands of Nashville signal for change, we all know this to be true.

Let's look at the 2001 Red Wings. Detroit has won the Cup in 1997 and 1998, and most of the core from those championship teams were still around, including Slava Kozlov, Martin Lapointe, Doug Brown, Aaron Ward, Chris Osgood and Larry Murphy. Detroit was upset in the first round of the playoffs by the Kings, a couple years after winning the Cup. They made significant moves in the offseason, including returning none of the above mentioned players, and adding the likes of Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille, Dominik Hasek, Fredrik Olausson, Jiri Slegr and Uwe Krupp, and a rookie named Pavel Datsyuk started playing on the top two lines with Hull. 

Fast forward to 2012. Detroit wins the Stanley Cup in 2008 and suffers a few playoff upsets with the same core. If history repeats itself, the Wings need to make some moves - significant ones - and see what happens next year. The 2002 Red Wings won the Stanley Cup. Will the 2013 Red Wings do the same? It's up to Ken Holland.

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Kyle Busch


George Prax's picture

The Flyers actually did this twice in the last 5 years, pretty much the exact same thing when they made the finals in 2010. It's feasible to do it with any team, you just have to have the balls to do it. Also, I think it's pretty telling that the Flyers had to do it twice, and even know it might not work out for them. They have a GM who's really good at trading and making up for past mistakes and questionable moves. That's Holmgren's strength. I think Holland's strength and the Wings' organizational strength is more at developing players. So it depends on how much of a culture change you want and think could happen.

But it's definitely doable, especially when you have a good core like the wings.