Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/26/05 at 02:12 AM ET
The first step in redoing the Red Wings has taken place. But general manager Ken Holland still has plenty of work to do. The Wings surprised no one Monday by putting defenseman Derian Hatcher and forwards Darren McCarty and Ray Whitney on waivers, enabling the team to buy out those three. With the salary cap set at $39 million under the collective bargaining agreement, the buying out of the three puts the payroll at $22 million, with eight players signed. Holland now will try to sign the Wings' unrestricted free agents, restricted free agents and junior players. The futures of Steve Yzerman, Chris Chelios and Pavel Datsyuk, among others, are unclear. This is how the Wings stand on various issues: • In unrestricted free agency, Holland will meet with Yzerman this week and has spoken with Chelios, 43, in the last couple of days. "I told Chris we'll talk again at the end of the week," Holland said. There is a slim chance that Chelios will return, but only if he and Yzerman agreed to take substantial pay cuts to fit into the salary structure. Holland has contacted agents for defensemen Mathieu Dandenault and Mathieu Schneider. The Wings might have enough payroll flexibility to pursue some of their unrestricted free agents, as well as two or three from other teams. • In restricted free agency, it looks as if negotiations with Datsyuk are going as slowly as they did before the lockout. "It's a process," Holland said.
more, including Hatcher may return to Dallas.
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