Been reading this forum for going on 5 years now, but this is my first post... I think it must have been this boring-ass offseason that drove me to do it.
Anyways, this year in free agency has started a bit of a transition for the team. We've lost some of the older guys in Rafalski, Osgood (and presumably Draper). It also looks like we'll have a couple young guys move up from the minors to take some forward positions (Mursak and Emmerton to be our 13th and 14th forwards). Is this the start of a trend to move to become younger?
Next year, there are 5 forwards who become FAs.
Helm Abdelkader Bertuzzi Holmstrom Hudler
And there looks to be two prospects that could make a good push to move up.
Tatar (will only be 21, but if he can build on last year, he might be ready) Andersson (will be 23)My question for you guys is, which of our current forwards will be brought back? For me Helm and Abby are no-brainers. They wouldn't even cost Holland much more than a million to give them both raises. The other three however... my guess is that some of you would like to see all of them go (the exception being eva of course... we all know who would stay if it were up to him ;P ). Out of the three, I'd want to drop 2 of those guys at least. Probably Homer and Hudler, arguably the two worst skaters on the team. Hopefully by that point Mursak will be able to move into a third line role to cover for Hudler, and Tatar can take a top 6 role to move in for Homer. Then you have Emmerton and Andersson rounding out the 13th and 14th spots. I think we could have a much improved forward unit, without making any drastic changes or ridiculous free agent signings.
Sorry, I know its silly putting together a lineup like a season in advance, but this is what it could look like.
Franzen Datsyuk Tatar Filppula Zetterberg Cleary Bertuzzi Abdelkader Mursak Eaves Helm Miller Emmerton Andersson
And just think, we could have Nyquist and Pulkkinen coming in the year after that . And then Jarnkrok, Sheahan, and Jurco coming in the years after that! The future is bright, my friends... At least at the forward position. Defense, not so much. Even after we bring up Smith next year, there will be a massive hole whenever Lidstrom goes. There will be no choice but to try and sign a big name through free agency I'd say.
(Apologies for using the code style... for some reason I format lines probably when using my phone).