Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

The Roster Conundrum

Updated 1807 EST:  Pete over at Yzerman is God has just posted a very nice take on the Sopel scenario.  Check it out here.

He has offensive potential? At least Kronwall and Lebda are young for all we hear that phrase. And he doesn’t look like a defensive stud either. You replace him with Lilja and what do you get? No better on defense, less physicality, oh yeah, and the almighty slapper. Let’s talk about that.

Some real sound analysis of the Wing PP strategy follows that quote.  Good stuff Pete.


Two days until the Wings descend on sleepy TC and the intrigue is starting to build.  Two names have great potential to throw the whole damn thing into a tailspin the likes we haven’t seen since the Edmund Fitzgerald braved the Superior one fateful night in, umm, some year in the 60’s I think. 

Sopel and Grigorenko.  Add them to the mix and the main hatchway’s giving in brother because we’re going to have a full load of forwards and a bursting blue line.


Let’s start with Sopel.  Last Friday Bruce McLeod posted a little diddy that has gone, not surprisingly, largely unnoticed by his deep digging brothers and sisters.

General manager Ken Holland said Friday that there will be a couple of veteran defensemen coming to the Red Wings’ main training in Traverse City next week. Holland said that he has tentative agreements, but declined to name with whom until the players’ involvement is secured.

One source in the organization said that Brent Sopel is one of the blue-liners who will come to camp as a free agent.

Five days have passed with no confirmation on that.  Yeah, most of the blogosphere has picked it up but I’ve seen nothing official from the organ-I-zation.  Still, let’s go ahead and mark that one down as an invite. 

Now, does anyone doubt Brent Sopel is a better defenseman than, say, Andres Lilja?  Would he have more impact this year than, umm, Derek Meech?  Offensively, couldn’t he bring more to the table than even Nik Kronwall?  Yes, yes and probably. 

But if he shows on Wednesday, I’m betting he does so with a virtual guarantee from our boy Kenny that he’ll make the squad.  30 years old, talented and most likely cheap as Darren Garcia on a slow night in Denver.  But I have so many questions…why, why, why.

Why is this guy available in the first place? Is he Lidstrom, Niedermayer or even that hulking piece of traiterous garbage Pronger?  No.  But he’s no Danny Markov begging for work and threatening a Baltic midnite flight that will never happen because he likes him some American vices.  By all indications Brent Sopel’s a guy who can move the puck and blast it.  So, why’s he even available on 10 September? 

And you know the biggie?  Who the hell bids farewell when this guy’s wearing the Winged Wheel this October?  Let’s throw him in there for a minute and guess our six blue line bubbas.

Lebda/Chelios or Lilja/Chelios or Meech/Chelios…well?

I don’t know but I’ll tell you I like the look of those top four.  Almost poultry-like.

Now, part two.  Grigorenko.  And that one’s even murkier if Sopel latches on because we’re looking at a roster in serious excess.  I’m of the opinion the kid’s already made the team.  I think Nill’s done enough of his homework and is convinced the kid’s finally ready.  If so…


Leaving us with Hudler on the outside looking in…again.  Hudler, Meech, Lebda.  All trade bait. Every one of them.  But trading in exchange for what?  Ken Holland, if Sopel’s still got it and Grigorenko heads to Detroit, is looking at a roster that is jam packed with talent.  Can’t send any of those three down without clearing waivers, which they won’t.  Can’t keep ‘em up and still keep the conundrum causers.  Trade one of them for cash, for picks?

Or, you keep Hudler.  You keep him and let someone go.  You make the tough decision and you release a guy after camp when it’s tough to find another team.  You realize what you’re doing to him, but if Hudler has a camp…if Hudler has a camp that makes it impossible to cut him, then it just might be time to sever ties with a little bit of Wing history.

Grigorenko’s on the team.  If Sopel shows on Wednesday, so is he. 

Kirk Maltby?  Now that’s another story.


Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
  Tags: grigorenko, holland, maltby, sopel


Be the first to comment.

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.


Notify me of follow-up comments?


Most Recent Blog Posts

About Abel to Yzerman

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