Here is what I would be ecstatic seeing next season:
Gustav Nyquist ($1.000m) / Pavel Datsyuk ($6.700m) / Johan Franzen ($3.955m)
Valtteri Filppula ($4.500m) / Henrik Zetterberg ($6.083m) / Damien Brunner ($2.750m)
Tomas Tatar ($0.840m) / Calle Jarnkrok ($0.900m) / Todd Bertuzzi ($2.075m)
Justin Abdelkader ($1.800m) / Darren Helm ($2.125m) / Jordin Tootoo ($1.900m)
Patrick Eaves ($1.200m) / Joakim Andersson ($0.605m) /
Niklas Kronwall ($4.750m) / Jonathan Ericsson ($3.250m)
Jakub Kindl ($2.000m) / Brendan Smith ($1.350m)
Danny DeKeyser ($1.350m) / Kyle Quincey ($3.775m)
Brian Lashoff ($0.725m) /
Jimmy Howard ($5.300m)
Jonas Gustavsson ($1.500m)
Buyout: Mikael Samuelsson ($0.000m)
Buyout: Carlo Colaiacovo ($0.000m)
SALARY CAP: $64,300,000; CAP PAYROLL: $60,432,879; BONUSES: $1,170,000
CAP SPACE (23-man roster): $5,037,121
I think it is safe to say that somebody will have to be amnestied. Sammy is competing with Franzen, Brunner, Bert for a RW spot and it hasn't helped that he is injured 95% of the time. Cola literally looks like a rookie out there rather than a veteran presence to help the young guys, along with his injuries he needs to go. Swapping in these two injured vets bumps the development of some of the younger players who don't necessarily play themselves out of a spot in the lineup. We need to stop with this carousel of lines and let some guys gel together for next season.
I think as a precaution for Datsyuk possibly leaving we should have Fil back and hopefully Jarnkrok up (if he takes offseason conditioning seriously) because we don't want to have another Lidstrom situation where we let Smith and the other young guys waste away in GR rather than learn from the best. After watching Jarnkrok in GR he played very well and his points didn't really show the level of play he is capable of (he kept shifts really short to start and played defence first) but he looked really shifty and quick out there. Having another top 6 centre allows us to Play Z with Dats when needed and still get some offence out of the second line when we load up.
The fourth line would be more of a 3a/3b line with a great group of energy guys that can play hard and chip in with some scoring. I feel this line is what we really missed this season. We usually have a grind line that can be counted on to go hard and not get scored on and take the puck deep in their zone and sometimes get a quick one. For reference think of the original grind line and then the Abby-Helm-Eaves line of past years.
The defence just needs time. They need time to get to know each other, develop, get comfortable, make some mistakes. We won't be landing any #1 dman likely at all so we need our young guys to band together and play some good smart simple defence. Once the defence starts clicking we will see some scoring shine through as well.
We also need to go back to dedicating forwards for the PP and PK (not both). It kills us to have Z, Dats having to PK then come back out even strength too late. We have been scored on so many times by teams wearing us down on the PK then popping one in 2 minutes after the PK is up. With Helm back this makes this much easier. I'd have Helm, Abby, Fil, Tatar? be the go-to PK guys with Z,Dats working in situationally.
Sorry for the essay.