And this, in a nutshell, is the problem.
"We made pitches to a number of defensemen," general manager Ken Holland said. "For a variety of reasons, they opted to go elsewhere. I don't know why they're not coming here."
No Ken. They opted to go elsewhere for one reason. Detroit is not realistically competing for a Stanley Cup any time soon. We've barely made the playoffs lately. A variety of reasons have contributed to that fact. Largely, that you're a miserly, penny pinching, son of a ***** who is utterly befuddled by the player acquisition part of your job.
I won't pretend to know why. But its more than likely for a combination of reasons. Chances of winning the cup, how they see themselves fitting in to the team and area, ownership/management, and of course, money.
Before yesterday, I don't think the Capitals, TBL, Cannucks or Wild had a better chance of winning the cup than the Wings (if they do, its negligible), but managed to sign some big name FA's. so I doubt its just that. Also, KH may be tight fisted, but supposedly did offer good money to players we were genuinely interested in.
If I was a FA thinking about coming here, one of the things that might put me off is the (for want of a better term) "homerism" for home grown talent - if you weren't drafted here, you're almost like a second-class citizen. Also, what FA's have come here and excelled since Hossa? FA's don't seem to gel or perform here for some reason - be it the system, quality of talent we have acquired recently, etc.
Finally, any decent company to work for identifies the need to hire and keep key talent. They all run investigations and programs to ensure they are successfully doing this. If I were KH I'd be investigating why players are choosing elsewhere, not just throwing my hands up in the air and lamenting that I don't understand their reasoning.