The Malik Report
Obvious: if the Red Wings have the luxury of ‘choosing’ between Suter and Parise, they’ll pick Suter
by George Malik on 05/29/12 at 01:27 AM ET
This talk is somewhat dangerous to begin with—assuming that any team will have the opportunity to pick and choose whether to sign one or both of the two marquee free agents that every other team’s fan base believes will sign with them because every team’s beat writers are convinced that, say, Zach Parise would make the perfect Anaheim Duck…
But Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Regner makes a somewhat obvious suggestion in proffering the theory that, given Nicklas Lidstrom’s age, even if the captain comes back, it would make more sense for the Wings (assuming that any of this talk is sensical to begin with) to invest in a player like Ryan Suter and to settle on a “consolation prize” if they’re lucky enough to have to “choose” between Suter and Parise:
With New Jersey in the Stanley Cup Finals, it’s difficult to see Parise, the Devils captain, leaving the Jersey Shore unless the club’s financial situation is so dire that money becomes a hurdle — or he really, really, really wants out of the Garden State. Despite reports that Parise and Suter are a package deal, the Devils’ playoff success clouds the picture of them ever becoming NHL teammates.
Well, despite the fact that I’m going to piss off Devils fans by saying this, more than a few reputable sources suggest that the Devils have so much arena debt and financial inflexibility that they’re hosed regardless of whether Parise wants to stay, but still…
Although the Wings hope they’re a pair because they have the resources to sign them both, Detroit’s hierarchy is well aware that they might not get either of them when free agency begins.
Ever since the Red Wings were bounced from the playoffs, they’ve made it clear that changes are going to be made. To what extent depends on Parise and Suter. The Wings have also debated this question: If they had to choose between Parise and Suter, which one would they sign?
It’s apparent that as much as they want Parise, the Wings covet Suter. A defenseman of Suter’s caliber on the open market at 27 years old is unprecedented. A leader on and off the ice, every facet of his game is excellent. He does it all.
If the Wings can lure Suter to the Motor City, they have their No. 1 defenseman locked up for the next eight to 10 years. That’s why Suter is Detroit’s top free-agent target this summer.
I couldn’t agree more, even if this whole, “If they had to pick” business comes off as arrogant as hell to every other team’s fans. If both Suter and Parise hit the market, but the Wings can only snag a top-pair defenseman or the best top-six forward out there, and then they have to get creative…They’re gonna go with the d-man. The foundation of the Wings’ style of play is built upon puck-moving defenseman, and that’s not going to change.
The Wings’ brass will do everything in its power to ensure that there is a smooth transition from the Lidstrom era to that of Niklas Kronwall, Brendan Smith and whoever comes afterward (Xavier Ouellet?), and if that involves prioritizing an over-buliding of the blueline and ending up either signing a “consolation prize” or even trading for that top-six, goal-scoring forward the Wings also desperately need, they’re gonna go with stocking their blueline, first and foremost, and that’s exactly how things should go.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.