I really don't get all the excitement for him leaving.
Every replacement plan has cons that outweigh the pros. Considering that the amount of time left for us to win with Lidstrom... You just cannot expect this to help us take advantage of a closing window. This truly makes for a rebuilding project, one that I really do not want to do at this stage of the game.
I was expecting him to stick around at least two more years, and get a ton cheaper too. Now we have to spend more money to get someone else who will produce less. Not good.
Keep in mind that Rafalski was 12th in the league in scoring and played only 63 games. Look at his place at the end of the season in total points over the last 5 seasons.
10-11 - 12th
09-10 - 21st
08-09 - 5th
07-08 - 7th
06-07 - 12th
People can knock is defensive game, but he is a point producing machine. I see the same upswing from Brendan Smith as he has the same skillset just in a bigger body.
On a sidenote, I am pretty disgusted with some of the comments here. The "Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out" comments in specific. He helped bring a Stanley Cup to Detroit. He took a hometown discount to come play here. A little respect would be in order.
With his knee and back. He was not going to stick around for more than his contract.
Thinking otherwise was wishful at best. It may have been a bad move for him to stick around, even if he signed for less.
I'm not sure that I see the "don't let the door hit ya" comments. (Albeit, Raffi has his haters.)
I do admit to a little excitement to the possibilities that his retirement brings, including the possibility of seeing Smith sooner.
His point production will be missed, certainly.
He did help bring a Cup here. Much props.
A Hometown discount is debatable.
I've got nothing but respect for the guy.