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Too Many Defensemen And Clearing Cap Space

Ansar Khan of Mlive answers his fan mail,

Q: How does (general manager) Ken Holland plan to address the logjam on defense which is affecting the prospect pipeline’s ability to develop? I cringe when I keep reading they want to bring back Mike Green, because I fear it is going to hinder development of guys like Hicketts, Hronek, (Vili) Saarijarvi, Cholowski, Sulak, etc., when they already have six guys on NHL contracts for next season and other vets in Grand Rapids taking playing time. Will bringing back Green be contingent on moving out a couple of players from last season’s defense corps?

A: Green’s status is not linked to anything that happens with anyone else. If Green accepts a two-year deal, I think they’ll bring him back because he’s the only consistent offensive threat on a blue line that doesn’t provide much offense. He shoots right, which they lack, and his absence would create a big void on a power play that has struggled.

But if he is seeking three years, they’re not likely to re-sign him. Either way, the logjam on D isn’t going to be alleviated much this off-season.

Q: Could the Red Wings package some of their draft picks and attach it to a player on a long-term contract in order to get cap space? They have a lot of players tied up to long-term deals, so maybe they could trade a high draft pick with a player on a long-term deal, so they can have flexibility to pursue free agents?

A: I don’t see this happening.

First off, cap space isn’t a concern. They have 14 players signed for about $53 million (including $1.66 million for Stephen Weiss’ buyout). The cap is projected to be between $78 million and $82 million. The Red Wings would have about $27 million to sign restricted free-agent forwards Athanasiou, Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi, Martin Frk, a backup goaltender, possibly Green and maybe another forward. Add to that mix a defenseman from Grand Rapids and possibly 2017 top pick Michael Rasmussen....

more on the second questions and additional Q & A too...

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Comments

Primis's avatar

Well, about that logjam…

...part of that logjam is the number of young d-men that just can’t seem to step it up.  Out of Cholowski, Hronek, Hicketts, Sulak, and Saarjarvi, DET will be doing really, really well if 2 of them turn into legit NHLers.  Most likely one of Cholowski or Hornek will “hit” and that’s about it.

This is what bothers me about all the hand-wringing over DET potentially bringing back Green.  Green is actually good.  Jensen and Oullett are the bigger problems, especially Jensen who IMHO has done absolutely no development or growing as player in 49 GP the previous year and 81 this past season.  Does DET actually think either of them are going anywhere at this point?  XO still maybe has something, but as far as I’m concerned they could kick Jensen to the curb right now and not miss out on anything.

Then there’s of course Ericsson being Ericsson, and DeKeyser’s regression of his game.

If DET bring back Green, they’ll be bringing back arguably their best d-man,  None of the younger guys can replace that.  Period.

Posted by Primis on 05/07/18 at 09:25 AM ET

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Posted by Primis on 05/07/18 at 09:25 AM ET

This kind of Ken Holland reasoning is *exactly* why the Wings will go nowhere positive until he’s gone.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 05/07/18 at 10:16 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

(Green) shoots right, which they lack, and his absence would create a big void on a power play that has struggled.

If Mike was actually that important to the PP, he wouldn’t have been relegated to the second unit behind Kronwall. I like Green, but his presence or absence isn’t going to mean anything to the Wings’ overall fortunes next season. The only reason to sign him would be to flip him at the trade deadline.

They have 14 players signed for about $53 million (including $1.66 million for Stephen Weiss’ buyout).

Ah, Stephen Weiss. The Ken Holland “gift” that just keeps on giving (or, actually, taking).

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/07/18 at 11:10 AM ET

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Green is actually good. 

I mean, stacked next to the other piles of feces yeah, Green looks good. This isn’t 27 year old Mike Green, this guy is 32 and coming off of a serious neck injury that ended his season. He was never a shutdown d man and as indicated above, if he was so critical to the PP why the hell were they pushing kronwall out to run the firs PP in his wheelchair?

I don’t hate the guy but there is NO reason to bring him back this year unless one of 55/52/65/83 is shipped out.

 

Posted by MZ2215 on 05/07/18 at 11:24 AM ET

hockeyfreak13's avatar

If Mike was actually that important to the PP, he wouldn’t have been relegated to the second unit behind Kronwall.

Well, that’s the first time I’ve seen you agree with Blashill, even if indirectly.

As for the Jensen/Ouellet debate, I think it’s a no-brainer that you choose Jensen over Ouellet. One can skate, the other can’t.

Posted by hockeyfreak13 from Grand Rapids on 05/07/18 at 11:26 AM ET

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I see both sides of the argument on Green.

True, the Wings are going to suck next year regardless of whether or not Green comes back. So the motivation for bringing him back can’t be strictly about wins and losses. That would be short-sighted.

He’s also not the player he once was, is 32 years old and is coming off a pretty scary injury, so if he wants more than 1, maybe 2 years, I think you have to walk no matter what.

On the other hand, it’s at least debatable whether or not losing their only halfway decent offensive defender is going to be better or worse for the rest of the team from a development standpoint. If he isn’t re-signed or replaced, the Wings will have exactly 0 regular defenders who aren’t complete trash on offense (unless someone like Hronek makes the team and takes a huge step forward).

Don’t you think some of the young forwards would benefit from, say, at least one guy on the team who could actually get them the puck from behind the blueline once in a while, or who can be actually useful in keeping possession and supporting the attack in the O-zone?

The Red Wings do have a real problem with too many underwhelming veterans clogging up the defensive depth chart and blocking opportunities for youngsters. On the other hand, I don’t see Green as one of those underwhelming veterans. He’s one of the few guys that fills a real need and serves a real purpose.

I am okay with letting Green go in order to provide some of that extra opportunity, but if he’s the only guy not coming back it’ll be due to convenience / necessity rather than a coherent and effective team-building strategy. It seems to me it’d be far better to jettison one or more of Jensen, Ouellet, Ericsson, DeKeyser, or Daley to make that space, if they can find takers for those contracts (not a guarantee by any means).

Then you can keep Green around to support the young forwards AND mentor the up-and-coming defenders a bit, and you get another shot at flipping him at the deadline.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 05/07/18 at 11:45 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Posted by Primis on 05/07/18 at 09:25 AM ET

I think you nailed it.  To say we have a “logjam” is to imply there is flow or pressure somewhere in the system…and really there isn’t.  Maybe Cholo, MAYBE Hronek.  But that’s about it in terms of fringe NHL talent, and even those two are a stretch.

Posted by TreKronor on 05/07/18 at 11:59 AM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

Ahhhh Stephen Weiss….the gift that keeps on giving.. shut eye

Posted by Down River Dan on 05/07/18 at 12:32 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

As for the Jensen/Ouellet debate, I think it’s a no-brainer that you choose Jensen over Ouellet. One can skate, the other can’t.

True. Even though Jensen hasn’t progressed as the Red Wings hoped, he is the better option for a sixth or seventh defense man.  confused

Posted by bigfrog on 05/07/18 at 12:32 PM ET

Primis's avatar

RE: Daley, it would be dumb to do anything with him now.  His contract is up at the end of this next season,  You play him this next year, and then you flip him at the trade deadline and have someone overpay for him.

Which is all the more reason to get Green another couple of seasons.  If you’re flipping Daley, you REALLY need Green then.

This is all assuming someone else desperate doesn’t come along and offer Green 4 years at $6m per, which is still very possible.  In that case, DET needs to let him go and not chase obviously.

But at least they already know what Green is, and that’s the best d-man on their roster.  Spininng the wheel on another d-man in free agency is probably not as wise.  The ONLY upcoming UFA d-man in Green’s class is 28 year-old John Carlson, and I can’t fathom WAS not re-signing him.  The drop off from there in free agent d-men is awfully large.

The UFA market for d-men is not going to be good.  Green is probably the top of the crop.  Even if you’re not a big fan of Green, now imagine a downgrade.

Posted by Primis on 05/07/18 at 12:58 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

  If Mike was actually that important to the PP, he wouldn’t have been relegated to the second unit behind Kronwall.

Well, that’s the first time I’ve seen you agree with Blashill, even if indirectly.

Posted by hockeyfreak13 from Grand Rapids

Sorry, HF, I wasn’t agreeing at all with Blashill. I was trying (apparently unsuccessflly) to point out that if the Wings/Blashill thought he was that important, he wouldn’t have been on the 2nd PP unit. The fact that he was put there is just one more of Blashill brainless moves.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/07/18 at 03:29 PM ET

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Kind of interesting that Ansar’s response has a baked-in assumption that whoever the Wings draft #6 this year won’t be fighting for a roster spot either.

Posted by RyanVM on 05/07/18 at 04:07 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Kind of interesting that Ansar’s response has a baked-in assumption that whoever the Wings draft #6 this year won’t be fighting for a roster spot either.

Posted by RyanVM on 05/07/18 at 04:07 PM ET

At #6, it’s unlikely that the guy would challenge right away for a roster spot on most all teams.  Maybe ARI and VAN I guess.

Posted by Primis on 05/07/18 at 05:25 PM ET

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The crux for me is Sven’s thought about Green as an important tutor
for the younger D. Would his absence hurt the development of the team?

But his game has usually cut both ways. He’s probably not the best tutor re D zone coverage.

Seems like either a player has the skills and instincts and develops the confidence to be
a difference maker offensively o D - or not.

One missing factor in the argument about whether the prospects on D are
making enough of a push or not, is playing time and opportunity in Grand Rapids.
Sure these guys are mostly quite young, but how do you make a push when
four veteran D who aren’t really prospects are still on the AHL roster?

Presumably Ouellet will be moved out, however. And Hicketts will probably graduate to the NHL.

Green’s trade value, after major surgery and the end of another contract sounds iffy.
So, his value to a rebuilding team would be to help shelter and mentor younger offensive defensemen. But where would they get a chance to play on the Detroit roster as it stands?

Posted by Lefty30 on 05/07/18 at 07:44 PM ET

Primis's avatar

So, his value to a rebuilding team would be to help shelter and mentor younger offensive defensemen. But where would they get a chance to play on the Detroit roster as it stands?

Posted by Lefty30 on 05/07/18 at 07:44 PM ET

Kronwall, Jensen are UFA"s, and XO is an RFA after this next season.

You try to move them, and/or Ericsson and hope.  Daley moves at the deadline.

Without Green, your defensive depth chart is:  Kronwall, DeKeyser, Daley, Ericsson, Xo, and Jensen.  That’s horrific.  If Green can’t tutor/teach, which of those other guys is going to then?

But as we’ve already said, no defensive prospects are really beating down the door here either.  Not a need to hurry anyone up just yet.  And I can’t imagine anyone DET takes at #6 would change that.

Posted by Primis on 05/07/18 at 08:21 PM ET

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Interesting how Green is going to come back to mentor the young offensive D-men, except there aren’t going to be any on the roster because signing green leaves you with Green, DK, Kronwall, Ericsson, Daley, Jensen (assuming they’re able to trade/waive XO). So we may get Hicketts as the odd man out in the cleary cabana? Awesome, just sign Green, we can use Witkowski as the 7th Dman and the prospects can stay in GR. Our D core gets a year older and a year slower and we do nothing to bring the kids along, gonna be a good time guys!

Posted by MZ2215 on 05/08/18 at 08:22 AM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com