but as much as I want to believe that doing those things will bring Lidstrom back next year, it won't. So it's time to move on to what should Kenny do and what our team is going to look like next year. Cap Geek is listing the salary cap at $70.3M for next year. That is more than enough to land both Suter and Parise. But it's also more than enough to land plenty of more pieces. So let's take a look at that after the jump:
Here's the roster I've created:
My Custom Lineup
Valtteri Filppula ($3.000m) / Henrik Zetterberg ($6.083m) / Zach Parise ($7.000m)
Gustav Nyquist ($0.875m) / Pavel Datsyuk ($6.700m) / Johan Franzen ($3.955m)
Justin Abdelkader ($0.900m) / Darren Helm ($1.500m) / Drew Miller ($0.838m)
Danny Cleary ($2.800m) / Chris Kelly ($2.750m) / Todd Bertuzzi ($2.075m)
Cory Emmerton ($0.533m) / Patrick Eaves ($1.200m) /
Niklas Kronwall ($4.750m) / Ryan Suter ($6.500m)
Matt Carle ($5.000m) / Jonathan Ericsson ($3.250m)
Brendan Smith ($0.875m) / Ian White ($2.875m)
Jakub Kindl ($0.883m) /
Jimmy Howard ($2.250m)
Tomas Vokoun ($1.500m)
CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(these totals are compiled without the bonus cushion)
SALARY CAP: $70,300,000; CAP PAYROLL: $68,092,045; BONUSES: $37,500
CAP SPACE (23-man roster): $2,207,955
I'll address the defensive pairings first: If Lidstrom hadn't retired, the plan was still to go after Suter. So adding Suter is obvious. But with Lidstrom's salary being off the books, they can now also chase the second best UFA defenseman, Matt Carle. Pairing Kronwall with Suter is a no brainer. They'll shut down the top pair on any team in the league. Ericsson really came into is own this year of being able to play solid, consistent defense. Carle is a more than capable defenseman, but he has an offensive upside that if Ericsson can stay at home on defense and let Carle be an offensive force, they'll be a solid second pair. And finally, while Jeff may hate it, Brendan Smith on the 3rd pair with White makes sense. Smith can use the veteran presence of White and will hopefully learn both offensive roles and defensive positioning from White. I know White struggled at times this year, but he's better than he played and is a capable teacher. Kindl is the 7th defenseman like last year. Any way you mix up those 7, the Red Wings will be stacked in their own zone.
Now for Vokoun: They want someone to push MacDonald and Howard. Vokoun is just that. He's a veteran and capable of putting up good numbers and provide quality relief for Jimmah when necessary. It makes sense to chase Vokoun if he's willing to be a backup.
And for the forwards: As most of you who are active on here know, I think Parise should take Hudler's spot and that line should be the "top line." But I don't actually believe in a "top line." It's about pairings. Datsyuk has a pure scorer in Franzen. Adding Nyquist gives that line a second playmaker. Similar to what Filppula does for Zetterberg's line. So adding the pure scorer in Parise to the Zetterberg line makes sense in my book. On the 3rd line, I have Miller with Helm and Abdelkader. Ideally, I'd rather Mursak or Emmerton in Abby's spot and Eaves instead of Miller to create a speed line. But we don't know yet if Eaves is going to be ready at the start of the season. The reason I have Abby on the 3rd line is because I'd prefer the Wings pick up a tough guy C to put on the 4th line rather than a tough guy on the wing. Helm is the only lock on the 3rd line. All of the other 5 guys on 3/4 can be moved around at will. Which since we have the cap space, Chris Kelly is a logical choice. In this scenario, Mursak goes back down to Grand Rapids.
Any way you pick it, while it hurts to lose The Perfect Human, if cap geek is right and $70.3M is the new cap, we have a TON of cap space to work with and can get a new super star defenceman AND an allstar defenceman not to mention a scorer and a tough guy.