Oh those lovable Red Wings. Let's be honest, these first 3 games have been really hard to watch. We as wingnuts have been spoiled over the last 20 years. But, as always happens with dynasty's, we held the same hand for far to long. There is no doubt that moving proven players that help you win championships is hard to do. But we should have done just that. But that is water under the bridge. The other by product of our success is bad drafts. We have a weak farm system. Most of the guys with NHL talent are either here-thanks to the injuries or are 2+ years away. The owrse part is, we are not bad enough to draft in the top 5. IMHO we will end up around 15-just making the PO's this year, and thus missing out on the top end talent that could be in Detroit within a year. So yes, we get to add some more young talent in this years draft, but again most of it is 3+ years away.
So back to the top. We will get worse before we get better. For many of us this will be a hard jagged pill to swallow. But we don't have a lot of choice.
Now is it possible we have one of those wonderfull hot streaks were we win 10 out of 12 games? yes. But we also could have a bad streak where we lose 10 out of 12 as well. In fact, neither would surprise me...
So the real question, where do we go from here? This is what I would do:
1. Let it be known to the rest of the NHL that we are sellers. Everyone is available, for the right price of course. The hard part is, we don't have much in terms of value to get good young talnet back in return. Only 4 guys would fetch much: Z, Dat, Kronwall, and Howard. The only one of that group I wouldn't want to move is Howard, but he is a UFA after the season, so if the price is right, even he could go.
2. My goal in all trades is 3 fold: clear out cap space, pick up young talent, and add draft picks. Capgeek says we have 45 million spent for next season with a 13/14 cap of 64 million. Leaving 19 million to spend. I would prefer to resign Howard-we have nothing else ready to take his place and good G's are hard to find. That will eat up around 5 million to resign him. Leaving us with about 14 million to spend. The goal should be to get to 20+ million to spend in FA after we resign Howard.
3. We have 2 buyouts that we can use, that will not effect the cap. If we can't trade them away, I use the buyouts on Quincey and Franzen. That would give us another 7.7 million to spend.
4. If I am able to trade away datsyuk, then I would resign Filppula. Dat makes about 6.7 million per year and does have trade value. Filppula-who is 7 years younger is a UFA. Per the new CBA, resigning your current players allows you to go to a 8 year contract. Creating a chance for a lower cap hit. Yes, that would mean Filppula is 36 when his contract expires, or 1 year older than datsyuk is now. If the choice is 6 years @ 5 million per or 8 years @ 4 million per, go with the later. That would free up another 2.7 million after moving Dat.
5. If you take a long look at the RW's from top to bottom, you see several positions with glaring holes. For example, we have 0 big RH shooting RW's in the organization. Every RW is small or is a LH shot. We have the same issue on D, only 4 RH Dmen in the organization after this season. Most of which haven't played a single pro hockey game. The closest would be Nicastro, but he is hardly playing for the Griffins. The 3rd area that we are lacking in, is big C's. Unless you count Abdelkader as a C, we just don't have many over 6ft tall.
6. 13/14 Free Agency. We saw how well this worked last year, but this year some things could be different. There are several big under 30 forwards coming up on their UFA years. Most of which are canadians from Onterio. Meaning we are close to their homes. We also will have a nice pile of cash to spend. As of today, we have about 14 million to spend. Buyouts to Q and Franzen adds another 7.7 million to that total. That means we could sign 3 high end UFA's for 7 million per year. If we are able to move guys like Calaicovo, Eaves, bert, and sammy (please someone take them!) that would free up another 8.5+ million to add 1 or 2 more guys to fill some holes. The one glearing position of weakness in this years FA class in RH Dmen under 30. Just are not many available, as in none.
7. As for this years draft, That is my one focus, quality players that are RH shots. be they C's, RW's, or Dmen. For those that have never played, yes the hand of the shooter/passer does matter. It matters a lot. The half a second a guy has to spend turning to shoot or pass makes a huge difference.
Now I am sure some will jump up and down about trading dat or cutting this guy or that. So be it. But and here is the thought. Are we going to win the SC with Dat over the next 2 years? I would bet the house on no. So let's move him. I would bet a forward heavy team with few quality C's like the rangers would love to have him. They have several big young fowards and RH Dmen that would fit us. Same with the Devils. I am sure there are more that are in the same boat. But at the end of the day, the worse thing we can do is to stand pat and hope for something better out of the same parts. It just isn't going to happen.