One Decision Affects the Rest

A day after the Detroit Red Wings were knocked out of the first round of the playoffs, speculation has begun. Who is staying, who is going and what will the team look like next year? All the answers are with CapGeek.com, a site that allows you to look at your team's salary cap and palyer contracts. So, looking at the Red Wings, there are several factors that will determine what they can do in the offseason via free agency and trades.

As of now, the players that are signed are as follows:

NAME SALARY (MILLIONS)
Pavel Datsyuk 6.700
Henrik Zetterberg 6.083
Johan Franzen 3.945
Valtteri Filppula 3.000
Dan Cleary 2.800
Todd Bertuzzi 2.075
Patrick Eaves 1.200
Gustav Nyquist 0.875
Drew Miller 0.837
Jan Mursak 0.550
Cory Emmerton 0.533
Jonathan Ericsson 3.250
Niklas Kronwall 4.750
Ian White 2.875
Jakub Kindl 0.883
Brendan Smith 0.875
Jimmy Howard 2.250
Joey MacDonald 0.550

 

The projected cap space without signing anyone is $20.782 million. Here are the Red Wings' free agents:

UFA: Nicklas Lidstrom, Brad Stuart, Tomas Holmstrom, Jiri Hudler, Garnet Exelby, Fabian Brunnstrom, Chris Conner

RFA: Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Kyle Quincey

As of now we don't know what will happen because a number of things must take place. First, Nick Lidstrom has to decide if he is retiring of not. If he is, then you know there's room for a big time free agent signing. Lidstrom might take a pay cut (he should, considering he clearly needs help back there), in an area of around $3-$4 million, not too much, and not too little.

Brad Stuart is a gonner. No more turnovers and own goals from him anymore! Assuming Holmstrom comes back, it'll be the bare minumum, so it isn't a big deal. Lastly, as far as Hudler is concerned, they could get rid of him (possibly his rights) after a decent season of 50 points, but he has no grit.

The restricted free agents will be signed. Abdelkader is going no where, and I have no idea why people are bagging on him. He isn't a scorer, people, stop acting like he is. Helm will most likely get a contract like Eaves ($1.2 million-$1.5 million) and Abdelkader around the same. Quincey is the one that concerns me. He made $3.125 million last year, and he s clearly not worth that much. Seeing he is a restricted free agent, the Wings could qualify him and go to arbitration, or convince him to take a pay cut.

If my calculations are correct, the Red Wings will have around $16-$18 million to work with (less if Lidstrom returns). This is more than enough to sign some big name UFA's like Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. Ken Holland needs to be thinking about trades too. Guys on the block should be everyone except Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Kronwall and Howard. Everyone else can go for the right price.

I read in a local paper that in 2001 the Wings lost to the Los Angeles Kings in the first round. They had the same core as the 1997 and 1998 championship teams. What did they do? Made major changes. In came Dominik Hasek, Luc Robitaille, Brett Hull, Fredrik Olausson, and Steve Duchesne. They won the Cup the next year. Fast forward to 2008 and 2009. Both years the Wings went to the Finals. Three years later, playoff disappointment. What does that mean? Make some changes!

Obviously they won't be as impactful as 2002 since there wasn't a salary cap, but you get the picture. Some deals should be made and players signed. One under the radar player of note in free agency is P.A Paranteau, who had 67 points for the Islanders this year. Other possibilites include Dennis Wideman, Alex Semin, Jason Garrison, and Matt Carle.

It will be a fun offseason if everything goes right.

Kyle Busch