Abel to Yzerman
by VooX on 08/21/10 at 07:49 PM ET
“You can’t have everything,” Jim Nill said to me a few times. I didn’t record our conversations, it just didn’t feel right, but those words stuck in my head.
In the past, he said, the Wings would go and get any player they wanted, the only limiting factor was price. Today, value is another important factor.
He went on to say the dedication to win comes from the top. Mike and Marian on down. “1A and 1B” as he called them.
The Ilitch family was determined to bring Modano to Detroit. Nill stated that Mike Ilitch wanted Modano very badly because of his local history, including the Little Caesar’s program as a kid, which was very important to Ilitch. He also wanted Modano because he knew he could get him at the right price.
The Wings have realistic expectations with Modano. While they don’t expect him to get 30 goals anymore, 30 assists is a reasonable expectation. If he was the Modano of three years ago, we wouldn’t have been able to afford him under the cap.
What Nill had to say about the cap itself, took me completely by surprise.
The Red Wings like the salary cap as it is. They are not bothered at all by the upper spending limit.
Except for one season or so, we’ve never spent more on salaries than we do today, Nill said, the team is reaching the limits of what they can pay to players and still remain profitable.
In another post, I will be discussing in detail Nill’s comments about Lidstrom today and the Wings without him, Hudler, Bertuzzi, scouting players including a discussion on what he looks for and advanced statistical metrics, which players he expects to have great seasons, where he likes to watch games in the arena, and why he isn’t a GM somewhere else.
Today, I will discuss recent hot topics. Continuing on with Modano and the fourth line, moving onto Salei/Mitchell/Lilja, and wrapping up with goaltending.
As Nill sees it, with Mike Modano centering our third line, Hudler returning, and Cleary healthy, the Wings will have the best four lines in the NHL. And I can’t argue with that. I asked about what that would mean for our fourth line and the guys fighting for spots. Maltby has to accept the fact he is in his late thirties and not expect a roster spot. Draper will be on the fourth line. Kids like Helm and Abdelkader are locks, and will be getting as much ice-time as possible on the fourth/third lines, while the rest of the prospects will have to fight it out during training camp. They are in a fight for their spot on the roster in Traverse City, each one of them better bring their best game.
The lines are all up to Uncle Mike.
Signing Abdelkader was not even a concern. From the way Nill spoke of him being a lock on the fourth line, it seems certain Home Keys will be back next season.
And what about our defence? “You can’t have everything.” But we still are alright.
Nill expects Ericsson or Kindl to really step up. Smith seems like he will be in the mix as well during training camp. It’s up to the kids to fight for their spots, but it seems like Ericsson and Kindl will be the guys. Not once did Jim mention Meech. I didn’t bother asking about him, either.
While many here are concerned we didn’t go after Mitchell, Nill is not. He thinks Salei is a great addition for his price. While Lilja would have been welcomed back, Andreas wanted a bigger role on the team. The Wings weren’t able to offer that to him. Nor could they fit in his salary demands under the cap after our other summer signings.
Don’t look at Salei as a step-down from Lilja, though, Nill certainly isn’t. To him, Salei is better with the puck than Lilja and, while smaller, has a grittier edge to his game than Lilja does.
Finally, the eternal “weak” spot of the Wings, goaltending. Look for Osgood to have an amazing year, Nill promises, Chris will step it up and set team records this season. And don’t worry about Jimmah, I was assured, he has been working hard with Bedard and is making subtle improvements to sharpen his game.
This is no spin from Nill. He truly believes we are stacked and ready to go next season. And I can dig that.
Let’s Go Red Wings!!!!!
Is it October yet?
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org