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Ken Holland reaffirms Red Wings’ free agent-retaining strategy, may offer MacDonald back-up job

MLive’s Ansar Khan confirms that Red Wings GM Ken Holland plans on getting down to the nitty-gritty of attempting to retain his unrestricted free agents over the next few days…

“We’ll have conversations with (some) free agents, see what they’re thinking,” Holland said.

[Patrick] Eaves and [Drew] Miller, both 27, are valuable third/fourth-line players, two of their top penalty-killing forwards. Eaves had 13 goals and 20 points in 63 games. Miller had 10 goals and 18 points in 67 games. Eaves made $750,000 this past season, Miller earned $650,000.

[Jonathan] Ericsson, 27, showed some improvement this season (three goals, 15 points, plus-8 rating in 74 games) but hasn’t progressed as quickly as many anticipated after a strong playoff showing in 2009. He earned $1.25 million this season and was offered a deal worth $2 million a year.

As the Free Press’s Helene St. James suggested, bringing Ericsson back is no sure thing, but Eaves and Miller seem likely to return...

Holland said the club won’t decide until later this month whether to offer contracts to veterans Kris Draper, 40, and Chris Osgood, 38, the latter of whom hasn’t decided if he wants to continue playing.

Khan reiterates the fact that Holland wants to, per St. James, consult with the rest of the organization during the team’s organizational powwow on June 14th and 15th, when Holland, assistant GM Jim Nill, capologist Ryan Martin, coach Mike Babcock and the pro and amateur scouts make final decisions on their Entry Draft strategy, possible trades made before or during free agency and the team’s July 1st-and-beyond UFA targets…

And Holland confirms to Khan that the Wings may very well ask Joey MacDonald, who wants to remain a Wing, to take over for Chris Osgood if #30 does not return:

“I think Joey would like to be a candidate for that position,” Holland said. “He did a great job for us in the short time he was here.”

If Osgood doesn’t return, the Red Wings might sign MacDonald, 31, to be Jimmy Howard’s backup or offer him a deal to be the starter for the Grand Rapids Griffins and seek a veteran free agent. Some of the backup goalies slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 1 include former Red Wing Ty Conklin (St. Louis), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (Toronto), Marty Turco (Chicago), Brian Boucher (Philadelphia), Johan Hedberg (New Jersey), Jose Theodore (Minnesota), Mathieu Garon (Columbus), Alex Auld (Montreal), Peter Budaj (Colorado), Mike Smith (Tampa Bay), Curtis McIhinney (Ottawa) and Ray Emery (Anaheim).

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Slumpy's avatar

What happens if Howard gets injured for a long stretch of the season, will Joey Mac be servicable and possibly in the playoffs if Howard gets hurt? Joey was good as a very part time fill in but I hope Kenny signs a better backup. Theodore would be worth signing.

Holland should trade up at the draft to get a top 10 pick. Been a long time since the Red Wings drafted that high. 1991 Marty LaPointe went 10th overall.

Posted by Slumpy from Under My Wheels on 06/02/11 at 04:20 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

Theodore would be worth signing.

Ouch. I dunno if I agree with that. But Conklin should be on the market if I’m not mistaken.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 06/02/11 at 04:42 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

+19 with Nate. Conk would be a great, fairly cheap, acquisition. He wanted to stay after ‘09, I think he’ll come back rather easily.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 06/02/11 at 04:59 PM ET

All American in MN's avatar

On the backup goaltender options; Ray Emery can serve two roles on this team.  Role one would be the backup goaltender that is hurt most of the year.  Role two would the enforcer for the Wings.  JOKING!

The Sharks traded up in the draft to get Logan Couture a few years back.  So Slumpy, if the right person is there, yes, I hope the Wings trade up to get that player.  It looks like the top 10 in this draft could be pretty solid.

...amateur scouts make final decisions on their Entry Draft strategy…

Yes, about the entry draft.  If you look back at the last five to seven years, the Wings front office has benefitted in a huge way for one reason:  The front offices of so many franchises have been a disaster during that period.  While the Wings have picked in the bottom six for all of those years, there are a few teams that have picked in the top fifteen routinely that have basically, been wasting their picks.  While I don’t have time to go to NHL.com and pull names, teams, and years as proof, I am specifically talking about the Wild, Calgary, Columbus, NYI, and Edmonton.  All of those franchises have made significant front office changes in the previous season or two.  So now, when the Wings do select late, some of the true talent in these drafts will actually be selected.  As an example, TSN.ca/nhl did a little piece on the Flames 2009 draft class.  It appears their draft class is the polar opposite of ours for that same year.  Of course, it is entirely too soon to tell what will happen with that draft class, not signing most of your picks is not a good sign.

Posted by All American in MN on 06/02/11 at 05:04 PM ET

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