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Red Wings mid-day talk: ‘No’ on Kaberle, a Howard interview and ‘top 11’ stragglers

This admittedly fanciful musing from the Hockey News’s Ryan Dixon, suggesting that the Red Wings might want to sign current Boston Bruins defenseman and unrestricted free agent-to-be Tomas Kaberle has me downright confused as the Red Wings don’t seem to have the salary cap space nor the inclination to bring another finesse-based, puck-moving defenseman into the fold…

t’s difficult to see how Kaberle, who’ll be a 33-year-old free agent July 1, will be wearing a spoked ‘B’ next year; so how about a winged wheel? To be clear, this is nothing more than my own wheels spinning well in advance of the annual off-season musical chairs session. But for a number of reasons, I can’t shake the feeling Kaberle would be a nice fit in Detroit. First off, when Eric Clapton (among others) sang “Nobody knows you/when you’re down and out,” he obviously forgot about the Red Wings. Todd Bertuzzi, Danny Cleary, Patrick Eaves and Brad Stuart are just the most recent examples of guys who the Wings claimed, cleaned up and got back to making the most of their abilities.

And really, Kaberle has only had a tough few months, so it’s not like we’re talking about some kind of reclamation project here. Who knows, by the end of the playoffs he could already be back to 22 minutes of smooth play a night. But the fact he’s been a consistent contributor for more than a decade in the league means he’s still going to command a salary in the $4-million range, which Boston would have to think long and hard about shelling out. Especially the way Seidenberg - signed through 2013-14 - is playing behind big man Zdeno Chara, who’s also locked up long-term.

The Wings, meanwhile, pride themselves on the puck-possession game at which Kaberle typically excels. Detroit also doesn’t have a defenseman of significance signed beyond next season, so there’s an inevitable reshuffling around the corner. Squeezing Kaberle under the cap for next season will be tough if Nicklas Lidstrom comes back, but that’s a nice problem to have.

Kaberle may yet become the defenseman he’s always been with the Bruins as they continue to chase down a championship. But if that doesn’t happen, I bet he could put the pieces back together in a place where the template for career recovery is well entrenched.

The Wings simply don’t have the cap space to bring in Kaberle unless they were to let Jonathan Ericsson go and presumably not bolster their forward lineup, and I don’t see how swapping out a big defenseman for yet another offensive type helps the cause.

Also of brief Wings-related note this afternoon:

• Jimmy Howard spoke to WDFN’s Matt Sheppard this morning, but aside from stating that he’s going to work on his puck-handling this summer and that he hopes Nickls Lidstrom will return, his interview isn’t particularly substantial…


Download file

• Red Wings social media coordinator Jake Duhaime offers a slate of “honorable mentions” for the Wings’ ranking of the top 11 games of 2011, with this “outlier” standing as my favorite:


• And Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom made the cut as one of the Sporting News’s six “All-Stars” (if you want to read Niklas Kronwall praising the Sedin twins, you can do so on your own):

SN’s All-NHL Team

F: Corey Perry, Ducks

F: Daniel Sedin, Canucks

F: Henrik Sedin, Canucks

D: Nicklas Lidstrom, Red Wings

D: Zdeno Chara: Bruins

G: Tim Thomas, Bruins

Update: Talk about random…I found a clip of the last bench-clearing brawl the Wings engaged in, back in 1991 against Boston:

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Comments

Leo_Racicot's avatar

George, what’s your feeling on how much Kaberle will command on the open market this summer?

Streit got 4.1m per from NYI two years back, will Kaberle see more?

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 05/18/11 at 04:16 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I’d think he’ll be at least a $5 million per season player, which puts him out of reach for the Wings.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/18/11 at 04:27 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/18/11 at 02:27 PM ET

5m is interesting, in particular when you consider how many other big priced (and arguably better) FA’s are out there on the market this summer.  I wonder how he’ll stack up with these guys:

Weber
Doughty
Wisniewski
Bogosian
Markov
McCabe
O’Brien
Schenn

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 05/18/11 at 05:03 PM ET

Ian!'s avatar

I live in Boston, and Kaberle is NOT popular over here right now. I’m not sure he’d be an improvement on our backline. I want to see more Kindl!!

Posted by Ian! from Baltimore, MD on 05/18/11 at 05:53 PM ET

Avatar

Don’t have the salary cap? With Lidstrom, Draper and Modano retiring that’s $9.5 million gone. They have to resign Miller, Eaves, Ericsson and Salei, and Osgood. Osgood and Salei could certainly be let go too and none of those other guys are going to be getting huge dollars more than they get now so there’s still probably $8 million in cap space to find a premier D-man. Besides Kaberle, Markov is also out there but is a worry with his injury issues. There’s also Brewer, Bieksa, McCabe and Jovanovski (the latter two should be demanding much less than they make currently). Weber is an RFA. A big enough offer sheet and Nashville won’t be able to match.

Posted by Guy Incognitus on 05/18/11 at 05:55 PM ET

Ajax19's avatar

I don’t know if it will be possible to make Weber an offer sheet that Nashville wont be able to match.  I know they have their own pre-set budget and never spend close to the max cap, but I really don’t see them letting Weber go, whatever the cost.  The only way the Wings are even in the discussion of making such an offer is if Lidstrom retires and even then I think it’s highly unlikely.

Posted by Ajax19 on 05/18/11 at 06:11 PM ET

Chris from NOHS's avatar

I think he WAS a 5 M per year guy, but after this playoff, he’d be more like a high 3, low 4 guy…

Posted by Chris from NOHS from Columbus, OH/Grand Rapids, MI on 05/18/11 at 06:18 PM ET

Chris from NOHS's avatar

Referring to Kaberle.

Posted by Chris from NOHS from Columbus, OH/Grand Rapids, MI on 05/18/11 at 06:21 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

I think he WAS a 5 M per year guy, but after this playoff, he’d be more like a high 3, low 4 guy…

Posted by Chris from NOHS from The University of Oxford on 05/18/11 at 04:18 PM ET

That’s kinda where I’m at as well.  If he was the lone wolf out there this summer, I’d say he’d have a decent shot of hitting 5m.  But right now, I’m guessing he won’t see any more than what Streit saw two summers back.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 05/18/11 at 06:28 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

I would also add that there may be cap space available depending on TPH’s salary demands. Suppose Lids offers to take the home-team discount to bring in some talent: Lids $2 mil and Kaberle $4 mil. That’s two for the price of one. I don’t know the chances of that realistically happening, I’m just saying there are ways it could work.

Posted by SnLO from the sub great-white north on 05/18/11 at 07:04 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Please STOP the, “Nick needs to take a huge salary cut” talk.

And given the weak nature of this year’s free agent market, Kaberle should be able to get $5-6 million, his own shortcomings included.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/18/11 at 07:50 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

I wasn’t saying “needs”, I only said “could”. And that call is between him and Kenny. They could also bury Rafi in GR, use that salary on Shea; an option, but unlikely.

I prefer not to deal in absolutes. I look at the possibilities, and decide which have a basis in feasibility. The precedent was set when Stevie accepted less salary to bring in additional talent, and I was only suggesting that was a possibility in this situation, not a requirement.

Btw, thanks for the brawl video, nice to see a team have that fire. Probert was a monster (I mean that in a good way).

Posted by SnLO from the sub great-white north on 05/18/11 at 08:04 PM ET

Avatar

If Kaberle is worth $5 mil. the Kronner & Stuart are worth $8 mil.

Been watching Kaberle his entire career thanks to HNIC and he’s just too sloppy & inconsistent.  Would playing for Detroit change that ??  I wouldn’t barf up $5 mil. to find out.

From Leo’s list of 8 I’d go after the top 3 if cap space wasn’t an issue.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 05/18/11 at 08:13 PM ET

monkey's avatar

Please STOP the, “Nick needs to take a huge salary cut” talk.

I’m not going to stop, but then again I know that’s not what I have said on the topic- as SnLO suggests, it would be a huge boon to the Wings were Lidstrom to come back for low money.

He’s worth every dime of what they paid him this year at the very least, but were he to accept a relatively small contract Detroit could use the cap space to add more talent.  A win-win as it is known, in the parlance of our times.

If the main stream media can speculate about things like the Wings signing Kaberle what exactly is wrong with further speculation regarding how they would pay for such a move?

Posted by monkey from Finland on 05/18/11 at 08:56 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

i dont think Kaberle is disciplined enough or fits our gameplan here in detroit. Lets keep looking elsewhere, and at the same time wait on what Lidstrom decides. If he retires, we have the green to go looking.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 05/18/11 at 09:34 PM ET

thethirdcoast's avatar

Been watching Kaberle his entire career thanks to HNIC and he’s just too sloppy & inconsistent.

Hear, hear!

Kaberle is easily the most overrated defenseman of his generation. Not disciplined, not physical, and not speedy enough to jump in on the transition game. Detroit would be foolish to even kick the tires.

Posted by thethirdcoast from Algiers, DZ on 05/18/11 at 10:09 PM ET

Chet's avatar

wow. no datsyuk on the all-NHL team?

and kaberle has to think about term as much as dollars, given how his season has gone since he got to boston.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 05/18/11 at 10:11 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

wow. no datsyuk on the all-NHL team?

Of course not.  When you only play 56 games, you don’t get to be on all-star teams even if you are the best player in the league. smile

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 05/18/11 at 11:38 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

Awesome clip at the end there, George.

I’m hoping Weber sees the light, personally.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 05/19/11 at 04:26 AM ET

Bradley97's avatar

George,

Do you know what exactly happened to start the fight at the end of the game? Who instigated it? And I’m not talking about Yzerman standing up for his teammate by yelling at the presumed instigator to trigger the second brawl.

Also, is there a home feed on this? “Detroit took hockey back 30 years” by the Boston moron is not what happened here. I’m curious to know what the real story is.

Posted by Bradley97 on 05/19/11 at 12:32 PM ET

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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.