The problem with Raffi are his turnovers and lack of size for his price tag - not saying I agree, I'm just saying I can see where some of the negativity comes from... with that said, I think he is GREAT for what he does, as you stated, and I really think both he and Lids would benefit GREATLY by splitting them up and putting a physical counterpart with them, not to mention, I thought Stuart and Rafalski complemented one another VERY well....
I completely agree with this. I think his play for the U.S. showed that when Rafalski is relied on heavily, he thrives. He almost respects Lidstrom TOO much and worries about getting the puck to him more. It also likely gets him into a mindset where he can screw up and Lids will be there to make-up for it anyway. I agree on the Lids-Kronwall and Stuart-Rafalski pairings 100%.
Emmerton needs to have a better season next year. So far he hasn't shown much to merit getting a spot on the Red Wings in the near future. It would be nice to see him succeed, though. The team could use a 3rd line center.
Restricted Free Agents: A player set to become a restricted will become an unrestricted free agent if his current team does not make him a qualifying offer that adheres to the minimum raise policy of the CBA. The deadline to qualify all RFA's is June 29
* Qualifying Offers: A qualifying offer must include the following minimum raises: o Previous salary < $660,000: 10% increase in salary o Previous salary < $1,000,000: 5% increase in salary o Previous salary > $1,000,000: Match previous season's salary
I'm in the middle on this one. Lidstrom has certainly declined offensively, and if the only reason that he gets 6.7+ is because he "must be the highest paid" player on the team... that's ridiculous. I honestly feel that at this point in his career he's worth 5-5.5 million. He's a huge asset to the team, but I'd like him to do them a favor to the team here. As good as Lids has been to Detroit, they've been very good to him as well.
I'm not off my rocker, though, I'm fully aware that once he leaves the team is going to change drastically.