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Wings May Not Find A Fit With The UFA’s

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

As NHL free agency heats up Wednesday — any unrestricted free agent can talk to any team, though not sign until Friday — the Wings’ focus is shifting more to keeping two of their own guys than bringing in someone new.

That’s because of prohibitive prices: Lecavalier, 34, wants a five-year deal averaging around $5 million a season; the Wings are too concerned about his pace to commit that much. Clarkson, of New Jersey, is pushing for seven years at a $6 million average; this for a guy who has one 30-goal season to his credit. Boston’s Nathan Horton wants to play in a warm climate.

The Wings are looking for a second-line center, and would have liked to add Lecavalier if he was agreeable to a two-year deal. There’s a spot open in the top-six group because negotiations with Valtteri Filppula have revealed a wide chasm, one that won’t be closed by the end of the week....

The Wings also have to consider that in another year, they likely will be adding three talented forwards from their system in Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan and Landon Ferraro. If prices for this year’s scant crop of UFAs is as high as it appears, the Wings may well decide to go into the season with what they’ve got, and see what happens.

more

update 8:22pm, St, James updated the same link with this...

General manager Ken Holland is continuing talks with his other two unrestricted free-agent forwards, Daniel Cleary and Damien Brunner, and the negotiations are close enough deals could happen. Cleary should come in around three years and $9 million, while Brunner is seeking in the $2.5 million range.

The Wings already have 12 forwards under contract for next season, a number that will grow by two when restricted free agents Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist get new contracts. Depending on what happens with Cleary and Brunner, the Wings may not buy out any forwards. Mikael Samuelsson, 36, and Todd Bertuzzi, 38, both were injured much of last season, but each has just one season left on his contract.

read more at the link above...

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NIVO's avatar

why wait on the 3 kids from the Griffins? So far, this UFA period sounds like the normal shit slop that it has been. So dump salary, and just bring ‘em up now and get a year under their jock straps. If you are content to “let it ride” as usual Kenny, bring ‘em up now ffs! Im sick of the damned roller coaster ride.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 07/03/13 at 12:01 AM ET

d ca's avatar

I am all for good cap management and not going Chicago Blackhawks/ Miami Marlins style all- in where you have to take apart the team before the banners are raised….

but the Wings have 2 superstars that aren’t going to be able to carry the team on their backs much longer…the window of opportunity is closing rapidly….unless Howard suddenly becomes Hasek (the Buffalo version or the ‘02 Red Wing version shutting out opponents).

So making no significant roster moves means another year with a pick in the high-teens/ low 20’s…

Posted by d ca on 07/03/13 at 12:07 AM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Bugsby- it’s b/c it’s gone beyond irritating at this point. This is not pre-lockout or pre-cap time. While the cap may go up in time it doesn’t correlate w/ this prospective deal. $3 is not chump change anymore as I’m sure u know.

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 07/03/13 at 12:56 AM ET

I already said earlier that IF it’s really $3M x 3 years, I’m certainly not thrilled w/it. I can’t see any other good reason to have so many forwards under contract other than to trade some. You could be right, and you have every right to be frustrated, and I have no idea where Ken Holland is going to take the Wings in the next week. I guess what I’m saying is maybe it isn’t worth driving your blood pressure up to 200 until the dust settles. We’re all desperate for some good news, something “aggressive” I guess, but we’re all to a certain extent going crazy over rumors, incomplete information, and guesses.

In a week, if it doesn’t look clearer where this team is headed (and hopefully in a positive direction, although teams seem to be signing their better players back, left and right like Pittsburgh tonight), then grab the torches and pitchforks. I’ll take a pure guess he’ll make a trade or 3 using the forwards and a draft pick or 2, maybe sign a free agent but not over $5M, carry 2-3 extra forwards into training camp, and leave the fans stir-crazy despite that, for the rest of the summer. Pure guess.

Posted by Bugsy on 07/03/13 at 12:22 AM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Too vague. I’ll guess one trade for a #3 defenseman using at least 1 young forward, one of the present D-men, and a pick (or 2), Weiss as the free agent, and still carry 15 signed forwards into training camp.

Posted by Bugsy on 07/03/13 at 12:26 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Think about the option that would take the bare minimum, effort wise at a cost you can take to the owners board and justify.  “We drafted Filpulla, we know him, he’s produced for us before, he’s been injured during the lockout, never got 100%”

Holland maximizes his time on the course.  I’m sure he’ll be in Kelowna by the 7th.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/03/13 at 02:16 AM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Think about the option that would take the bare minimum, effort wise at a cost you can take to the owners board and justify.  “We drafted Filpulla, we know him, he’s produced for us before, he’s been injured during the lockout, never got 100%”

Holland maximizes his time on the course.  I’m sure he’ll be in Kelowna by the 7th.

Oh I hope you’re wrong,... I just can’t shake that possiblity out of my head though.

Posted by Bugsy on 07/03/13 at 03:56 AM ET

Avatar

Otherwise, by not spending all the money on every FA, KH is making smart hockey and - listen to this Monopoly crowd - business decisions.

Ah, so for the fifth year in a row the Wings could be entering a new season with a worse team than the previous year, keeping cap space around for the deadline that doesn’t get used at the deadline, and somehow that equals good hockey decisions?  AND good business decisions?

You guys advocate spending up to the ” tippy top” of cap space 24/7

This could be the third year that Detroit—which Holland himself has refered to as a “cap team”—won’t spend to the cap.

24/7?  How about 1/3?

How come more people are not angry/pissed/bothered/bickled by this cleary BS?

I am, I am!  Worse than not being willing to pay Vinny to play until he’s 38 is turning around and signing Cleary until he’s 37, even though he’s got the broken down body of an 80 year old right now.

I’m honestly a little relieved he isn’t on the team.

Better to have Cleary, who’s also on a steep decline but whose peak was never anywhere even approaching Vinny’s.

I have to imagine that money is more to show guys who come up in the system and show loyalty get their just rewards.

Helm, Abdelkader, Kindl, Ericsson, Zetterberg, Franzen, Dastyuk, Kronwall, Bertuzzi, Howard, Quincey and Samuelsson are all examples of Detroit’s loyalty.

If Cleary’s stupid, awful, shitty new contract is true and that’s the reason for it, because Holland is stupid enough to think he needs to prove his loyalty to the youngsters then he really and truly should be fired.

Not for missing out on every single UFA that comes down the line, not for a complete inability to make a hockey trade, not for his inability to turn Filppula and/or White and/or Hudler into a 7th round draft pick, but for thinking that signing an aging, crippled hockey player to another contract instead of trying to make his team better by signing a good player can be seen as a good thing.

Posted by Garth on 07/03/13 at 08:26 AM 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.