Red Wings should pass on Modano

 

At first this whole Mike Modano to Detroit idea was intriguing, even a little exciting. Modano, who grew up in Livonia, coming home for one last chance to win a Cup. Who wouldn’t get behind that?

Well, now it looks like nobody.

Red Wings bloggers across the nation have voiced their opinions, and the consensus seems to be a resounding "No to Mo." After dragging out his decision into what now looks like at least August, you can add me to the list.

The problem for me isn’t about Modano waffling, or even the cap space that he’ll take up. The simple, honest truth is this: the Detroit Red Wings really don’t need Mike Modano.

With Modano on the team it would give the Red Wings five legitimate centers on the roster, assuming that deals with Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm get done. The indication is that both will be on the team regardless of what happens with Modano. Mike Babcock has said that Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg will play together next season, leaving three spots for four players.

One of those spots will go to Valtteri Filppula, who is slated to center the second line.  Modano presumably would get line three, centering Jiri Hudler and Dan Cleary.

That leaves Helm and Abdelkader duking it out on line four, along with Drew Miller, Patrick Eaves, and Kris Draper, who are all already under contract for next season.

I’m no mathematician, but I believe that’s way too many players.

Modano is nearing 41-years-old, but the guy can still put up 15-20 goals a season.  After all, this is the all-time leading scorer among American-born players. But if signing Modano means pushing back promising young guns like Helm and Abdelkader back a year in their development, then the Red Wings should tell Mo "thanks, but no thanks."

Helm and Abdelkader both showed that they are NHL-ready last season. Helm is an excellent penalty killer and could become one of the most dangerous players in the league if he can find a scoring touch to go with his incredible speed. Abdelkader is a great agitator, and has come up with very timely goals in his sporadic playing time the past couple of seasons. And as the Detroit Free Press reported today, the Modano Saga is dragging out contract talks with Helm and Abdelkader. Until Modano signs, Helm and Abby are stuck waiting.

With Modano on the team, one of those guys is going to be watching a lot of games from the press box, and that won’t help either one of them.

But hey, at least Derek Meech will have some company.

Ultimately, Ken Holland is not going to turn down a chance to sign Modano.  He’s expressed a lot of interest in him ever since the Stars axed him about a month ago, which included taking him on a super sweet date to Comerica to watch a Tigers game.  If Modano wants in, Holland isn’t going to say "Ehhhhh, I changed my mind."

And if that’s what happens, I’ll grit my teeth and get on the bandwagon for a year (or two).

After all, this is Mike Modano.

 

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