The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/18/11 at 03:05 PM ET
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…
• 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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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.