You don't always get what you want... but maybe you get what you need?
Gonna miss you Patty.
As many of you know, Patrick Eaves was placed on waivers today, November 14. Now, while that's sad (because we all love Patty) we need to take a look at how we got here. So many people seem upset with signings. You know what?... So am I. But, what if things would have went the other way? To explore this, let's go way back to that hateful day we didn't get Suter OR Parise (or Semin).
It was a July 4th 2012... just like any other.. only it wasn't. I was vacationing up north (in da UP, ya) when I heard the news. Not only did the Wings not land Parise, but they also didn't get Suter. For months, that's all us Wings fans talked about. It seemed so sure, what with Lidstrom having retired on May 31 and the Wings needing that #1 defenseman. There was very little perceived defensive depth at all on the team. Brad Stuart was in San Jose, Rafalski had retired, and Ericsson as well as Kindl were... well they were serviceable. The Wings had traded for Kyle Quincey and that wasn't working well either. It was a very low point and Ken Holland needed to make a splash. They offered Parise and Suter a king's ransom, but both turned it down. Ugh... that was depressing.
So, Ken Holland looked at what he had and decided to make some tough decisions and address other holes in the lineup. What did he get? Not much. Brunner (to be THE next top 6 guy), Samuelsson (to help put up points with Hudler having signed in Calgary), Colaiacovo (to be a solid puck moving d-man in Lidstrom's absence), and Gustavsson (to finally have reliable backup goaltending). Oh, and Jordin Tootoo. Tootoo was coming off easily one of his best offensive years. The Wings, who had little depth at forward, were looking to get him to help out the lower lines with his speed and grit.
I hate that podium.
Then, the lockout happened. When everyone came back, Helm got hurt... again. Bertuzzi went down, Colaiacovo re-injured his shoulder, Gustavsson hurt his groin, and Samuelsson got hurt. All hell was breaking loose.
Well, we all know what the Wings did... they survived. Andersson got the callup, Nyquist and Tatar both spent time with the team, and Brendan Smith finally got significant play. Wings signed Danny DeKeyser and started playing like a cohesive unit as Franzen, Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and everyone started clicking. Like I said... we survived and the kids in Grand Rapids won the Calder Cup under the brilliant development and coaching of Blashill.
Who honestly predicted THIS would happen?
Flash forward to right before this season. Gustavsson was finally getting healthy, Colaiacovo was bought out over the summer, Lashoff and Tatar got promotions, and the new guy Danny DeKeyser decided to impress us even more on the blueline. Eaves was still hit and miss for making the lineup, Helm wasn't completely healthy yet, Todd Bertuzzi hadn't played any meaningful hockey in a while, and Samuelsson was magically hurt during the buyout window. Filppula is offered a fat contract and Bolts... I mean, leaves for Tampa. Brunner signs with the Devils and Detroit decides to add Alfredsson and Weiss. Both of which should be upgrades over the Brunner and Filppula that they are replacing. Then comes the signing... the one we're all seeming to regret the most; Daniel Cleary.
Not knowing who was going to play on opening night, Ken Holland inks Cleary to a 1 year deal. At first it seems okay. But, it doesn't take very long and healthy bodies begin trickling back into the lineup. Which leads us to where we now sit.
Oh Gus... (Kevin's gonna love this)
We still have too much counting against the cap and the team still has problems. Oh.. and Nyquist isn't even up yet. The reason I'm writing all this is to give some perspective. Here's some questions you need to ask yourself before you fly too much off the handle about this entire situation.
- What if Samuelsson hadn't been injured? He was brought in to be a more defensive top 6 guy and chip in. How would we have reacted if he got 20 points in the shortened season?
- What if Helm never played another game? He's out 3rd line center and a big part of what the team planned for on the lower lines. There's no one even close to as speedy as Helm... unless you count Landon Ferraro who just isn't ready yet.
- What if Eaves had never took the puck to his head? I mean, he's had a hard time staying in the lineup since then. With that time off, he easily got passed by much younger players.
- What if Tootoo would have put up more points? He certainly drew more penalties than he took.
- What if Bertuzzi had played his last game?.. Not that I want him to because I love Bert. But, he was in bad shape and even he wasn't sure what was wrong for quite some time. I mean, he couldn't even walk for a while it was so bad.
- What if Gustavsson had been healthy the entire time we've had him? You can't tell me that wouldn't have been helpful.
I ask these because every one of them will force you to look at the situation how I believe Ken Holland probably looked at the situation. Did he panic? Abso-freaking-lutely. A lockout was coming with a reduced cap and players were injured for long stretches that were key pieces of the team... not to mention all the retirements. Ken Holland isn't perfect. He makes mistakes. Many people are crying for the youngsters, but just remember... no one knew what we had until last year. Now, we've got a roster crunch because of those hedged bets and safety net players. Eaves was just a small part of that. He was the fallout from all this. I wish he was staying, but the reality is he just couldn't. Sending Eaves down allows him to have a chance to play. The same goes for Tootoo.
As fans, we're so impatient. We want all the good players up and playing now. The reality is, not everyone can be... not even Nyquist. Be patient. The decreased cap has limited roster movement for everyone. It isn't just us that's having to make the tough choices.
Wings fans on every site ever asking why
Nyquist all the Griffins aren't on the team.
I'm certain I'm missing a player or another situation here... so sound off in the comments below. A lot has happened since 2012 when Lidstrom retired (and Holmstrom). Ken Holland and the Wings have made mistakes, but everything requires a little situational perspective.