In response to Buppy's Kovalchuk defense:
It's possible, but I don't really want it.
Yes, I'd rather have Hudler and Filppula. Not because I feel that they're better now, but because your scenario calls for yet another long term contract. I don't want however many million tied up in an old Zetterberg, Franzen and Kovalchuk in 10 years. They might be great now, but they will drop off by the end of those contracts. Probably quite a bit, like 99% of players do. And if that happens, we're screwed.
Understandable. Personally, I'd do it. A lot can happen in ~6 years. Maybe $16m isn't a lot for aging stars by then. Maybe the new CBA will give us some options. Maybe trade one in a few years, while you still could.
But yeah, I perfectly understand not wanting another long term deal.
Look, Kovalchuk hurts the Red Wings by costing the team 12 goals per season and key depth.
Lets look at the goals they'll likely produce and compare to what DRWs lose:
Kovalchuk (45 goals) - On Dats line. Give him 45 goals, though he only scored 41 last season
Miller (10 goals) - Same as last season / probably a no show in the playoffs again against other teams with better depth
Winchester (3 goals) - He has no offensive skills in the NHL
Datsuyk (10 goals) - Doubt Pavel will score 10 more goals having Kovalchuk on his wing, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. Who's to say they even have any chemistry together? It's a risk
-Total 68 goals
PLAYERS GONE TO PAY KOVALCHUK:
Filppula (22 goals) - Filppula will likely score more than 20 goals. He's ready for a breakout and will getting 2nd line minutes next to Zetterberg. Filppula scored 19 goals in 2007/08 in 73 games
Hudler (28 goals) - If he get's top line minutes with Datsyuk, he will be an offensive threat!
Bertuzzi (20 goals) Scored 18 goals last season. This season he is settled in and already found chemestry with Zetterberg.
Holmstrom (count as 10 goals) - Scored 25 goals last year. Should get 20+ again this year. Holmstrom is the wild card. Maybe Abdelkader or Helm get the boot instead? Either way, one will be the odd man out to afford Kovalchuk -- I'll cound the loss as 10 goals
-Total goals lost = 80
Wings lose 12 goals per season, and, most importantly, lose important key depth (needed to go deep in the playoffs) and one of the best 2-way forwards on the team. All for adding one pricy player who will have a long-term contract until the year of 2023; Kovalchuck will have a $7 million cap hit til the age of 40.
10 years @ $6 mil. I wouldn't go over that for him. So I don't lose Holmstrom or any other extra player you have to use to try to make an argument. But hell, since you completely refuse to argue against what I'm actually suggesting, why don't you just argue against a 44 year deal @ $12.6 million. You could really win that one.
Let me try to make it perfectly clear.
I WOULD NOT GIVE MORE THAN ~$6 MILLION TO KOVY. IF HE WON'T TAKE $6, THEN I DON'T DO THE DEAL. I DON'T LOSE EXTRA PLAYERS. I DO THE DEAL I SUGGEST OR I DON'T DO ANY DEAL. I OFFER MY DEAL. MY DEAL = BETTER. YOUR DEAL = WORSE. I DO NOT DO YOUR DEAL. MY DEAL OR NO DEAL.
Understand that? Say "that's what you'd have to do" all you want. I wouldn't do it. IF (and you don't really know) I had to do that, I would say no. $7 mil doesn't work. $7 mil is too much. I won't pay $7 mil. I don't care if I would 'have' to. In that case I wouldn't get Kovy. $6 mil or I don't do it. If Kovy has to cost $7 mil, my roster would be exactly the same as yours, because I wouldn't sign him.
Now please, for the love of God, stop arguing with something I'm not suggesting.
So the top 6 is:
Kovalchuk = 41 (averaged over 45 the last 6 years, but this should be good) VS
Hudler = 28 (optimistic, I'd say...who knows if he can stick on a top line, or if Babs will even give him a real chance)
Cleary = 20 (playing alongside Hank and Mule, he's actually done it before) VS
Filppula = 20 (yeah, we'll see, career high for him)
Datsyuk (and I don't even need to add anything to him), Zetterberg, Franzen, and Homlstrom make up the remaining top 6 in both cases. I'm not quite sure how you still managed to get Bert in your top 6.
3rd line now:
I'll give you 14-12-15 = 41 (better than Happy-Flip-Sammy were able to do, even with a much better top 6 in front of them)
I'll call it 8-10-10 = 28 (a bit conservative I think, don't think Cleary and Bert would really make Abby better, but whatever)
Goals come out pretty even depending on how you want to slant the projections. I could easily add 10-15 goals difference either way. That's the fun thing about projections, you can say whatever you want.
As for depth:
Bert and Cleary aren't going to be any harder to play against, nor generate significantly more offense than my third line. Maybe 1 goal in a 7 game series (and that offset by my superior top 6). So the depth they give really comes down to having a few more options in terms of switching around line combos, and some insurance against someone like Homer, Flip, or Hudler getting injured. That is indeed valuable.
Kovy however, reduces the need to protect against injury to Homer and Cleary. We're not as reliant on those 2nd tier players. He also gives us another legit superstar that protects us some against a key injury to Hank, Pav, or Franzen. Something your lineup can't offer. We are also harder to matchup against in the top 6. You have to admit that is also valuable.
Persoanlly, I think I was pretty conservative. I think my lineup would net 20-30 more goals, and be much harder to shut down in the playoffs. But that's all just guesswork.
I'm also not factoring in the return for Filppula and Hudler. I'd be looking for a good prospect with a year or two of exemption left. Someone who could step in down the road and contribute well at a bargain price. Someone who could potentially come in for the playoffs and contribute right away. I know that'd be hoping for a lot, so I'm not really considering that. But the possibility is there.