As the summer free agency/signing period nears, we're teaming up with those fine gentlemen over at The Production Line to dig into each of Detroit's upcoming free agents and try to discern where Red Wings' Nation stands on bringing each of them back. In the coming weeks, we'll be running posts on all of them which set the table and eventually asks you, the reader, to weigh in on where you stand. Here's Michael Petrella with more info:
We’ll compile all of the data over 48 hours and report back about where the community sits on each of the potential departures.
But first, a little background information about the Red Wings’ salary cap situation heading into 2011-12. With 11 forwards (including Jan Mursak, but excluding Cory Emmerton), the Wings have committed just under $31.5M on the front end. With Jimmy Howard and four defenders, there’s just under $16M committed to the rear. That’s a total of $47.5M of the projected $62M salary cap.
The Red Wings will have about $14M to play with — and that’s to fill the holes on the forward units, sign (or promote) another three defenseman, and find a backup goaltender. If Nicklas Lidstrom returns, he’ll command the lion’s share of that pool, so big name free agents like Brad Richards are absolutely out. However, the Wings have proven time and time again that they can work magic without much cap space, and we should all have faith that GM Ken Holland and braintrust will deliver another stellar roster by the time camp rolls around.
Without further ado, our first free agent up for pro/no debate: