FanPost

What Happens Next May Determine The Difference Between A Good Season And A Great Season

Wow! The excitement, the flurry, the stomach-gnawing waiting, and anticipation of yesterday was as thrilling as ever. "Are the rumors true?" "Did we really sign him?" "WHAT???? He went where????" All are questions asked and answered about a number of NHL players yesterday. Signings, trades, re-signings. It was gripping. I'm not sure if I was more focused on twitter or my round of golf. Based on the golf score, maybe it was twitter. Some teams made some incredible moves; Tampa Bay with Filppula, Ottawa and Bobby Ryan, Boston and Ignila. Others made solid efforts to just get better; Dallas, Boston, Phoenix, Edmonton. So where are the Red Wings in all of this? What do they have to do next?

As the day wound down, Detroit had made four significant moves. Two signings and two non-signings. Kenny and his crew upgraded the middle of the ice with signing Stephen Weiss while not signing Valterri Filppula. Just before that they signed Daniel Alfredsson to a 1yr deal. With both signings, and Damien Brunner's announcement of testing the market, it all but signifies Brunner will not be back next year. A move shocking to the fan base. The final bit of news though may be more divisive amongst the blogosphere than Brunner leaving; Holland's continued pursuit of Danny Cleary. Before we dive headlong into Cleary being signed let's look at where the roster stands:

FORWARDS
Henrik Zetterberg ($6.083m) / Pavel Datsyuk ($6.700m) / Daniel Alfredsson ($5.500m)
Johan Franzen ($3.955m) / Stephen Weiss ($4.900m) / Mikael Samuelsson ($3.000m)
Tomas Tatar ($0.840m) / Darren Helm ($2.125m) / Justin Abdelkader ($1.800m)
Drew Miller ($1.350m) / Cory Emmerton ($0.533m) / Patrick Eaves ($1.200m)
Todd Bertuzzi ($2.075m) / Jordin Tootoo ($1.900m) /
DEFENSEMEN
Niklas Kronwall ($4.750m) / Kyle Quincey ($3.775m)
Jonathan Ericsson ($3.250m) / Jakub Kindl ($2.400m)
Danny DeKeyser ($1.350m) / Brian Lashoff ($0.725m)
GOALTENDERS
Jimmy Howard ($5.292m)
Jonas Gustavsson ($1.500m)
------
CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(these totals are compiled with the bonus cushion)
SALARY CAP: $64,300,000; CAP PAYROLL: $65,002,879; BONUSES: $3,010,000
CAP SPACE (22-man roster): $2,307,121

Without any RFAs re-signing, there is $2.3M in cap space. Justin Abdelkader is very likely on the 3rd line. Samuelsson and Bertuzzi are most likely playing RW for the 2nd line. Emmerton is center the 4th line. 14 forwards, 6 defensemen, 2 goalies.

The biggest question is this: Is $2.3M going to be enough to sign Nyquist, Andersson, and Smith? The answer is no. And it's not even close. Smith and Nyquist are both due cap hits over $1M (and could be over $1.5M) and Andersson isn't far behind them.

So if we signed them ($1.25M for Nyquist, $1M for Andersson, and $1.5M for Smith) we'd be about $1.5M over the cap, as shown here:

FORWARDS
Henrik Zetterberg ($6.083m) / Pavel Datsyuk ($6.700m) / Daniel Alfredsson ($5.500m)
Gustav Nyquist ($1.250m) / Stephen Weiss ($4.900m) / Johan Franzen ($3.955m)
Tomas Tatar ($0.840m) / Darren Helm ($2.125m) / Justin Abdelkader ($1.800m)
Drew Miller ($1.350m) / Joakim Andersson ($1.000m) / Patrick Eaves ($1.200m)
Jordin Tootoo ($1.900m) / Cory Emmerton ($0.533m) /
Todd Bertuzzi ($2.075m) / Mikael Samuelsson ($3.000m) /
DEFENSEMEN
Niklas Kronwall ($4.750m) / Jonathan Ericsson ($3.250m)
Danny DeKeyser ($1.350m) / Jakub Kindl ($2.400m)
Kyle Quincey ($3.775m) / Brendan Smith ($1.550m)
Brian Lashoff ($0.725m) /
GOALTENDERS
Jimmy Howard ($5.292m)
Jonas Gustavsson ($1.500m)
------
CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(these totals are compiled with the bonus cushion)
SALARY CAP: $64,300,000; CAP PAYROLL: $68,802,879; BONUSES: $3,010,000
CAP SPACE (25-man roster):- $1,492,879

There are multiple scenarios at play.

1. $2M of Alfredsson's contract could be bumped to next season because they're bonus related, meaning we have just over $500k of cap space already.

2. Tootoo, Samuelsson, Bertuzzi, or Quincey could be bought out.

3. Tootoo, Emmerton, and/or Quincey are traded.

4. Any one of the 3 RFAs are un-signed or have their rights traded.

Where is Cleary in all of this? Holland made it clear he is attempting to re-sign Cleary and has offered a 3 yr / $3M deal. But re-signing Cleary before the RFAs complicates the cap even more. Not to mention the need for a top 3 defensemen which was stated as a desire of Holland's prior to free agency starting.

So now for my conclusion:

I don't see a scenario where the remaining RFAs go un-signed, nor do I see Cleary being signed without a corresponding cap saving cut. But with Samuelsson being "injured" he likely won't be a buyout. So I think the likely avenue is a trade. Quincey, Tootoo, Emmerton, Tatar, Nyquist, Smith, and Andersson are all trade pieces.

Trade Options

Tootoo - I expect it to be a salary clearance deal, so just a draft pick or two. Mid to low round so a 4, 5, or 6 round pick in return. He wouldn't likely be packaged alone.

Emmerton - Again, this is strictly salary clearance even though he barely makes over $500k. 5th or 6th round pick in return.

Tatar, Nyquist, Andersson & Smith - None of these 4 will be moved alone and they won't be moved in a cap space deal, they'll be moved only for a returning defenseman that can play with Kronwall or Ericsson in the top pairing. I doubt 2 of them will be moved in the same trade.

Quincey - He's the only one that could be moved for a top defenseman or in a salary cap trade. If it's for a top defenseman, it will likely be with Tootoo and one of the 4. If its a salary cap move, it will be for a mid round pick, low 2nd, 3rd, or high 4th. Moving Quincey in a salary cap move, I would expect a signing of a veteran defenseman for $1M or less. Someone like Hal Gill, Kent Huskins, Joe Corvo, etc. A stay at home type that can play 10-12 minutes with a young defenseman like Smith, Lashoff, or DeKeyser next to him to provide mentorship and cover up for mistakes.

Ideally, I wouldn't want to trade Quincey or Tootoo. I'd much rather have Samuelsson's contract bought out, but if he's not healthy, that's not going to work.

My Plans

Plan A - Buy out Samuelsson and LTIR Bertuzzi

Plan B - Trade Tootoo and Emmerton for draft picks

Plan C - Trade Quincey and Tootoo for a top 3 defenseman

This is a fanpost written by a WIIM community member. The views and opinions expressed here are that member's and do not necessarily reflect the views of the site itself.

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