I knew Tootoo was gone. I've had that feeling for weeks and it's sad to see, but I can't help feeling after all Holland and Babs said about the importance of the role Tootoo plays we won't join the Eastern Conference without finding a suitable replacement.
I personally don't think there's anything wrong with Tootoo. He takes less bad penalties than most players on our team and has reasonable production. There's still hope though, but not much.
Disagree with the "Sad" part, but that's not why I'm posting. I keep hearing this "we're going to the Eastern Conference and need to get more physical talk" and I don't get it. Most of the time people cite that argument, they're talking about adding a fourth line banger, a heavyweight goon, or (in the case of Tootoo) retaining a 13th forward.
I don't get the Eastern Conference thing at all. There is ONE team in the East (Boston) that is head and shoulders more physically imposing than the rest, and that is Boston. Really, when you say Boston, you mean Chara and Lucic. The skill guys on that team are mostly regular-sized dudes. And Chicago just beat them in 6, and we damn near beat Chicago. You could look teams like LA and find as many (or more) skilled large body forwards, and they're a Western team.
But even if it is true that the East is this totally different style of hockey and we're likely to get bounced all over the rink, you aren't going to change that fact about the Red Wings by adding and subtracting a few role players in free agency. You'd literally have to re-make the entire core of the team, plus throw out all of the elements of Detroit's discipline and emphasis on skill and puck possession that frustrate other physical teams into dumb penalties.
I'm a fan of physical players with skill. For example, if you added David Clarkson (or maybe even Bryan Bickell) to a forward corps that also has Franzen and Abdelkader, that's actually a decent number of skilled big bodies. But this Red Wings team is pretty darn good the way it is, and you can't just reinvent it into something else overnight. Nor would I want to.