We only need to trade Datsyuk's contract if we land Stamkos. I'd hardly rip on Holland for eating the cap hit for a year if he knows we absolutely cannot land Stamkos. That's the only big transformative move to be made, otherwise it's all incremental UFA improvements which won't cost much.
I just don't know if Toronto is close to shaking their perennial loser reputation. At least the Wings make playoffs. We are certainly closer to competing than the Leafs, so that's in our favor. Also he'd be our number one center, no chance he gets put on the wing here. Our franchise also has a reputation and money to blow. We may have struggled in recent years but we've set our mind on competing again and when the Wings really committ to winning, we win. We've just been in a weird holding pattern since 2010.
I don't know if that factors in but there's got to be a confidence that now that we've decided things have to changed our leadership knows how to do it.
Smith is an unbelievably good possession player, not just on the Red Wings but league wide. He's one of our top puck moving defensemen and by far our best skating defenseman. He's just now reaching his prime and I believe we will finally see exactly what he is capable of this year. He has never put up big points at the NHL level but there's no reason to think he can't crush his career highs this season. Even if he doesn't put up huge point totals, he's still very valuable because when he's on the ice, the puck spends more time in the offensive zone than the defensive zone...
Also, I'm not trying to knock Green because I think he had a much better year than most give him credit for, but for all the extra minutes he had over Smith, he finished the season with a whopping 1 single even strength point more than Smith... I know a lot of people don't think Smith has "earned" power-play time, but I think his point totals would double and the power-play would be more dangerous with Smith on one of the units...
This is a classic case of numbers without context. Nobody except a few fans think Smith is any good. Certainly he didn't stand out as a good possession guy, which partly led to his being benched for a good long while. He is certainly not a top four guy or a high level league player. If he was he wouldn't be so widely considered a disappointment.
There's something the numbers are missing. Because when he's on the ice he doesn't make smart decisions, doesn't do much more than crash the net. About all he can do is occasionally play keep away with the puck in his own end. He certainly doesn't make the team on the ice better when he's out there, except for his rare good stretches which are followed by a return to has natural sub-par play.
As already pointed out, this is about money. Naming rights are huge and are a major part of business plans. They can't (even if they wanted to, probably) just change the name to a non-business name. They'd lose out on hundreds of millions of dollars. What they'll do is put a big statue of him out in front, name a street after him, or name a wing or part of the arena after him.
I think Toronto has something like a hall of legends, and I think the Wings need to do the same thing. Statues of the greats (not just Howe and Lindsay, which are the ones that are currently at the Joe, I think) ringed around the arena.
I probably said this earlier in this thread, but Stamkos is the fun move I'd like to see. We'd have an elite all-star franchise center on our roster again for many many years. He'd score tons of highlight reel goals and generate excitement. Plus, I'd like to see us win something. Anything. Landing the big UFA would be fun.
However, the "adult side" of me feels like using that money to build up the team as a whole would be better. Dumping $10 mil into one player, that's coming off of blood clot issues, will leave holes in other areas of the roster and based on how well we finished this year, we already have a ton of holes. Maybe Stamkos's goal production helps cover those holes (giving up 3-4 goals isn't a big deal, when you score 5) or maybe it just makes those holes bigger as they don't get addressed.
Either way, the Wings management need to convince Stamkos that Detroit is serious about rebuilding a contender fast and that probably means signing someone else like a Radulov. For all the crap we give Holland on this forum, I don't envy this task of trying to lure Stamkos away from a warm weather championship caliber team (Bolts) or an up and coming team with loads of young talent, the first pick in the NHL draft and a great coach (Leafs).
The problem is, we're not going to get an elite superstar through drafting, and probably not through UFA if we miss out on Stamkos. These types of players don't come along very often, and we're not going to win a Cup without one. Sure, money is a big issue but if we're serious about rebuilding and COMPETING, we have to make a huge play for Stamkos. Filling the team with capable but non-spectacular players is exactly how we ended up being a perennial playoff team with no shot at the Cup. I agree that you can't rely on one player, but you also can't move forward without a big superstar.
And honesty the more I hear from our beat writers the more it seems we haven't changed our mentality at all. It's Radulov OR Stamkos? They aren't even on the same ballpark. No one should hesitate to pay Stamkos $10 million. That's just the cost these days and we HAVE to have a ready number one center to compete.
They're going to ask for a sweetener because they can. Because who else can we go to? Because this is a situation in which our team has no leverage, and if you think any team is going to do us the favor of getting us out of a $7.5M hit without taking anything in return, you're nuts.
Except it's not a favor. It's an even swap in cases like Phoenix. They get the cap hit they want and don't have to pay actual money.
Now teams could be dicks but that's where reputation comes in. Kenny has good relations with everyone and no in the old boys club almost no one is going to try and so obviously put the screws to the Wings.
In fact the favor would be in taking a scrub or failed prospect that we can't unload anywhere else. I'd imagine the sweetener is just Holland trying to unload chaff to free up roster spaces.
I still don't understand why a sweetener would be needed. As discussed repeatedly all over the Internet, the deal would be a fair one as an even swap for another contract, like Pronger's. Mutually beneficial.