Start at goalie, it is the easiest to answer. McDonald will be gone and a UFA will come in. McDonald has zero trade value, so either will be cut or become a throw in on a deal. There are several veterans goalies that could be had this year. No major changes in the roster, cap, or status of the team. If possible I would try to extend Howard now, rather than risk him next offseason.
Defensemen. This starts to get trickier. We have 6. yes Quincey could be allowed to walk, but that is a pretty big risk to take. There are 4 or5 real good UFA's, but then we have a fairly big drop off to the next group. We have to get 1 of those top 4 or 5 just to stand pat with Lidstrom retiring. I expect Quincey to be resigned. he can always be traded later on if we fail in our goal to sign 2 UFA Dmen. In a perfect world, we sign 1 of the Suter/garrison/Carle/Widemen group, keep Quincey to start the year, and sign Schultz. Trade Quincey once Schultz is ready. be it this year or next off season. The only other thing i would do with the BL corp is extend White now.
Forwards. This is far more challenging. There is one top 6 forward available via UFA: Parise. After him, most of the top UFA forwards are 2nd and 3rd line guys. Or they are C, and we are pretty deep at C if we so choose. Dat, Z, and Filppula is a pretty good 1-3 C rotation. helm at the 4th line C is perfect for the checking role. There are many names we can add for the 2nd and 3rd lines, that can be counted on for 20 goals. But where do we go if we miss out on parise? The million dollar question. If we fall to sign him, that means a trade. But where is the valueable players for us to trade? they are all on our roster already.
Trade value. Ok, of the 21 guys on the roster as of today, who can be moved, and who has value?
Dat, E, and Burt all have no trade clauses. Leaves only 18 names left.
Eaves (injury), Miller, mursak, Emmerton, Cleary (knee surgery), McDonald and Kindl really don't have much value for trades. keep in mind we need a top 6 forward.
That leaves a group of guys with value, that we would prefer to keep. Kronwall, White, Smith, Howard, Filppula, Z, Nyquist, Helm, and Abby.
That leaves 2 guys left that everyone has mixed feelings about: Franzen and Quincey.
So, now what palyers do we use to go after a top 6 forward? The entire group of Eaves, Miller, Mursak, Emmerton, Cleary, McDonald, and Kindl isn't going to be enough. Even if you add Quncey to that mix, you still don't have enough to get a top 6 guy. Not to mention you would have to cancel the Griffins season, just to have enough body's to fill out the roster. If you use guys like Filppula, Z, and Kronwall, you are opening other holes up, that you now need to fill.
So that brings me back to the question. If we miss out on parise, where do we go? grab 3 20 goal per year guys? Try to swing a major trade and open up another hole? maybe even bank the money untill next year, which is a much deeper class?