Free Agent Update, New Faces Added to Mix
It seems as though the Detroit Red Wings will have some tough decisions to make come July 1st. First of all, Christian Ehrhoff's rights were traded from the Vancouver Canucks to the New York Islanders for a 4th round draft pick next season. Ehrhoff has been rumoured to be heavily coveted by the Detroit organization and the Isles have thrown a kink into the plan.
When it comes down to money, Ehrhoff will likely use defenceman like the newly signed Joni Pitkanen as a comparable and command around 4 million dollars a year. Seeing that an aging Brian Rafalski was worth 6 million, I think Ehrhoff woulod benefit from a 4 million dollar deal, but for only a few years (2-3). In this way he will be motivated to prove himself all over again.
Sometimes that happens with free agents; they cash their cheques and have a 7 year deal where they really don't have to prove anything anymore. For example, Scott Gomez is making over 7 million dollars to get 30+ points. Obviously it's unacceptable, but if Montreal would have got him for only a year or two, it wouldn't be a big deal because they wouldn't have to wait so long to make a decision. He would be UFA before you knew it.
It happened the right way with Marian Hossa in Detroit. He took a one year deal, and while it was a discount, it was still a lot of money. Detroit usually doesn't throw monster deals at free agents because they're smart. Why be stuck with a guy that you might not know as well as a guy that you developed? That's the reason Henrik Zetterber, Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen were given big contracts; because the Wings know how they paly. Hossa was a playoff bust, and given his one year deal, they weren't on the hook for the next season.
Another update comes in the free agent world, and there are three players that the Wings might need to aim for. James Wisniewski is a given, seeing that Jonathan Ericsson will likely sign with Dallas (rumour). The other three players are all forwards.
Jaromir Jagr is all but certain to sign with the Pittsburgh Penguins, so thank god Detroit didn't get him. Now it's up to Ken Holland to sign some fresh, young blood. I already mentioned that they should target guys like Scottie Upshall, so there are three forwards that fit the mold (other than Upshall).
Detroit was rumoured to be looking at Sean Bergenheim when Steve Yzerman was in Detroit, and it seems Bergy will hit the open market come July 1st. Clearly Yzerman was dissapointed to lose a player like Bergenheim, a playoff standout. Detroit could capitalize and offer Bergenheim a deal. He could start out on the third line and possibly work his way up, albeit on a good team. Imagine Darren Helm with Justin Abdelkader and Bergenhim; that might be better than when he played with Dominic Moore and Steve Downie!
Number two on the list is less likely, but they should really take a hard look at Nashville's Joel Ward. I think Ward will likely end up staying in Nashville, but it's worth a shot to get a guy like him.
Lastly, Max Talbot is a free agent. Do I like him? No. As a player? For sure.
You might remember Talbot breaking the Wings hearts with two goals in game 7 of the finals in 2009:
Talbot is one of those "get in your face" type of guys. I think he would benefit Detroit at the right price.
Ehrhoff has declined the Islanders offer which was reported to be "well north" of Kevin Bieksa's current contract, so about 5 million.