I am as pissed off as most Red Wings fans today out of our lack of ability to sign (any) big name free agents, and even more pissed off that our only substantial move was re-signing Kyle Quincey to a contract that pays him as much money as Jonathan Ericsson, more money than Johan Franzen and only 0.5 Million less than Nick Kronwall makes (still a top 10 defenceman in the league).
But as much as we can complain about Quincey, and predict that next season will be a complete disaster - I am seeing more and more tank for McDavid posts - I ask myself when did Matt Niskanen become worthy of a 7 year contract? Isn't Dan Boyle 37 years old coming off a 36 point season on a great team where he was a -8? Why did the world end when we didn't sign these two? Lets just try to use some perspective before we completely turn our backs...
Last season, in a 16 team conference - we finished 1 point behind 6th place PHI and 3 points behind 5th place NYR (who eventually played in the Stanley Cup Final) while having an historically bad (by our standards) record of 5-9 in the shootout. More importantly, we also had our top 3 forwards (when measured by salary) D, Z and Weiss miss 37, 37, and 56 games respectively. I hate to make excuses, but of the 6 teams in our conference that had more points than us last year, not a single one of them could relate to our injury situation (in terms of man games lost to star players). For ex. the top 6 scorers on the Boston Bruins all played in atleast 78 games, and 5 of them played in 80 or more - please don't tell me this would not have helped us or improved our position in the standings.
If we look ahead to next season - what do we have to be optimistic about? Well, we haven't really gotten worse since last year... No we haven't signed any big names either, but we still haven't lost anyone yet. (Alfie remains to be seen). Can you say the same about...
#1 BOSTON - Subtractions: Thornton, Iginla, Meszaros, Moore. Additions: None.
#5 NEW YORK - Subtractions: Pouliot, Stralman, Richards, Boyle, Bickel. Additions: Hunwick, Glass, Kostka, D. Boyle.
#6 PHILADELPHIA - Subtractions: None. Additions: Jones.
The point here is that outside of Tampa Bay, the 5/6 teams that had more points than we did last season have not improved either - and to take it a step further, I certainly feel that Boston, Pittsburgh, Montreal, and the NYR have all regressed. In terms of teams within striking distance who have also improved, NJ and WSH certainly stand alone.
When you consider the possibility of a healthy team, the emergence and continued development of our younger players, the cap room and prospect pool we have to acquire pieces (which Holland MUST use at this point) and the lack of improved teams conference wide + number of teams in our division who have taken a step back (BOS, MTL, TOR, OTT,) I don't think the sky is falling as fast as it seems.
You know what I meant, zombo. I'm not actually saying Ken Holland doesn't know how to field a good team in the cap era. I'm saying you do have to wonder just how good this guy really is at his job and just how much credit he really deserves. The pre-Cap era was, I dare say, mostly easy for him. That carried over to the first few years of the cap era - specifically, 2006-2009. We still had some core pieces from the 90s teams, and we got pretty lucky with Datsyuk and Zetterberg. We've been in decline since 2009, and the argument can definitely be made that it's because Holland is being forced to prove his mettle in a landscape that doesn't grant his organization any intrinsic advantages. It's new ground for him, and he doesn't seem especially comfortable. The huge competitive advantages are disappearing. Stealing Russians. Scouting the most obscure corners of Scandinavia. Limitless spending. Having depth left over from those days of limitless spending. Having Nick Lidstrom. Knowing puck possession is everything. He can't lean on this stuff anymore. We're not ahead of the curve anymore.
I want to believe that the past five years have been a rebuild. That he realized the best thing this team could do is be good but not great and build up a stable of promising young talent through the draft. But even there, Holland has done so much that suggests he doesn't really have a plan or vision. He'll offer Suter and Parise the moon, and then, on losing the bidding war, turn around and say that there's no hockey store and you have to build through the draft and blah blah blah. He'll say it's the kids' time, and then he'll re-sign Quincey and Cleary and Gustavsson and Alfredsson and almost surely start Jurco and Mantha in GR.
Nill and Yzerman have done wonders for their respective organizations. They've been proactive, they've thought outside the box, they've made some hard decisions, they've taken risks. They've built something out of mostly nothing. Those teams are damn good, and they're only going to get better. They could've easily made excuses and said this is going to be a long process and half the teams in the league don't make the playoffs and blah blah blah. They know what needs to be done and they're doing it. Meanwhile, the Wings are stuck in the mud. Our two best players are old and injury prone, and that's not counting Franzen or Alfredsson or Kronwall. Howard hasn't won anything but he's getting paid like a top goalie. Kindl's cap hit is $2.4M for the next three years. No one wants to sign with the Red Wings, and Holland's response is, "I don't know why this is happening. But I'm not remotely worried. (Because I'm Ken Holland and everyone knows I'm a genius. Ask Helene, she'll tell you.)"
This is also a great post.
But, similar to what I’ve said in another response, Yzerman and Nill have had more to work with in terms of young stars and high picks. No? More assets. More flexibility to be bold?
Holland’s biggest “asset moving window” was in 08-09. He could have moved Filpilla, Hudler, and Franzen for a Seguin-type guy then maybe?
Holland’s safer than houses and blander than oatmeal. But he’s still a top 5-10 GM in this league right now.
He never deserved all of the credit he received, but he surely doesn’t deserve to be butt-punched the way he has been today.
Moment you've been waiting for GMR. Quote from KH:
There are still a lot of players out there that could be good one-year bargains, Holland said. Well keep kicking tires. I was hoping to get one or two right-shot defensemen, but they signed elsewhere, thats their prerogative. Thats going to happen more and more with the cap ceiling and floor going up.
Let's not overlook the possibility of a trade or two. This was a notoriously weak free agent class yesterday and it didn't improve much by today. The prevailing attitude from most was that the Amazing Kenzini shouldn't overpay for crap. To that end until the Quincey signing he'd done a good job neither paying someone too much nor signing empty calories. But the Quincey thing. I threw up in my mouth a little.
We as Red Wing nation need to decide if we're more upset we didn't sign a player or two who could put us over the top from this crop or are we more upset some free agents may have snubbed Detroit. If it's the former then maybe a big trade might help move the team forward ala Shanahan. If it's the latter then yeah, that sucks. Though I'm sure Niskanen and Dorpik were sold on the Crapitals the moment they got to the Verizon Center and looked up at all those championship banners in the rafters. Perhaps other forces are at work beyond the Red Wings reach ie the status of the city in receivership. They can however build the new stadium YESTERDAY.
I'm hoping a trade can be worked before I start losing faith.
There were more FA options this year than there's been in awhile. Even Holland had the gall to say that when he was feeling pretty confident yesterday. It wasn't rich with superstars, but there were a lot of options that could've helped our defense improve a lot.
And we just gave Quincey a big raise.
And if Holland planned on making a trade, if he had any real confidence in that, why is he overpaying for Quincey now? We're not going to trade other defensemen to acquire a defenseman because we don't have anyone we could trade that would improve the situation. It doesn't make much sense, and even if a trade happens, it doesn't minimize how utterly horrific of a deal this is.
Kyle Quincey is going to make over $4 million from the Red Wings for the next two years.
Say that out loud.
I will be a hardcore Red Wings fan until the day I die. I'm not abandoning the ship. But this is nothing short of af****** joke.
I lost faith in Holland awhile ago, but if he's not replaced soon, I'm going to be losing hope in the ownership, which I haven't wanted to do, especially in light of Mr. I's current state of health. It's a hard and unfortunate situation, but someone in that family needs to step up and do something now. He's had far too many chances to do something, anything, to prove he still has a handle on getting this team going in the right direction, and he continues to come up empty when it comes to addressing the needs we have, and he continues to sign terrible players to terrible deals after the fact.
It's not even worth arguing about at this point: the Red Wings absolutely need a new GM, as soon as possible.
Ken Hollands actions lately prove to me that he is/was not the great NHL GM that everyone said he was. He must have been just the face in front of the real brains that have now all left. Nill, Bowman, and Yzerman.
The Quincey signing will go down as one of his worst deals. Better to have done nothing then this. To be rejected by most UFA's is a big sign that the Wings are in big trouble. We are in for a long year(s) ahead
I don't think that's the case at all. I believe what we are witnessing is just how much of an impact player a prime Lidstrom was. We all knew he was good, amazing, one of the best ever. But, he seems to be what made the '00s Red Wings teams into contenders. Every D man that was his partner had career years. I daresay that, even with all the accolades, he may well have been underrated.
Well looking at the positives, Mike Ilitch is not going to watch Holland running this team like a small market one for much longer. Offer Lombardi or Chiarelli a blank check and let's see if Anschutz or Jacobs are matching..
I'm afraid aging Illitch just wants to see the Tigers win one and is content to see the Wings playoff streak continue.