As far as I can tell, this news "broke" this morning when Helene St. James of the Free Press snuck this juicy little tidbit into her article about Wings free agent targets.
The Wings met over the weekend with Vincent Lecavalier, but given the immense interest in his services, Detroit is unlikely to be his landing place.
Lecavalier probably will end up in Dallas, where new general manager Jim Nill, formerly the assistant GM in Detroit, is molding the Stars into a playoff team. Lecavalier is believed to be looking for a five-year deal, at around $5 million a season, and the Wings don’t want to commit that much term to a 34-year-old with questionable pace.
Things took off more as Ansar Khan posted his afternoon update on the Wings' free agency plans
The Red Wings are out of the bidding for Vincent Lecavalier, who is seeking a five-year deal for $5 million per season, which is a longer term and more money than Detroit is willing to offer. Lecavalier's agent told teams he has identified a club he wants to play for. It's believed to be Dallas.
So boo-hoo it looks like the Wings are out of the Vinny Lecavalier derby because they don't want to commit $25M over five seasons to a 33-year old talented forward who has potentially already started to twilight his career.
Don't get me wrong, Vinny is still capable of putting up very good numbers and I absolutely think he'd be worth $5M this season or perhaps more for the game he can still bring. I just worry about the risk of giving that long of a contract. I'd get used to the concept and would enjoy every minute of it until such time he stopped being worth the cap hit, but I'd lament the hell out of every second from that point forward.
Of course, until Lecavalier actually signs somewhere, this could be just all fun rumor-mongering (although I would question the purpose of having Detroit's coziest beat-writers spreading a rumor like this, since I'm having trouble seeing what the end-game would be other than to possibly confirm to Vinny's camp that the Wings are serious about not meeting the 5-year/$25M demands.... which I think could be accomplished in better ways than to have Twitter freak out about it for a couple of days beforehand.)
Without Lecavalier and presumably without Filppula, the two best remaining centers on the free agent market are Stephen Weiss and Mike Ribeiro. Weiss could be a good value pickup as it seems likely that his career plateau is roughly ready to intersect with where Lecavalier's predicted career denouement will be soon. Weiss is younger too. he might either be willing to take less money or would be less-risky on the same term. The risk with Weiss is whether he can put up truly explosive numbers from the 2C position.
I've said my piece a hundred times on Mike Ribeiro. I don't like him. I think he's going to demand too much, and I don't like him. I also don't like him and really don't like him. When you consider all the factors of his career, his skillset, and what he's shown of his personality, I don't like him.
Today's scuttlebutt got a pinch when there were rumors about Toronto discussing an 8-year contract with top-line center (hahaha) Tyler Bozak. If this happens, it's possible that Mikhail Grabovski gets bought out by the Leafs. If this happens, he would shoot right up my wish-list. Grabovski's role has been limited severely by Toronto's coaching and he's shown to be a very good possession center. As an added bonus, Grabovski played with CSKA Moscow during the lockout, sharing ice time with Pavel Datsyuk. I know it's still silly to assume that all Russians like each other because they happen to be from the same foreign country, but I think the flexibility given by a move like this would work very well for the Wings.
What are your thoughts?