This morning, Detroit Red Wings beat-writer Ansar Khan put out an article with some Q&A for the Red Wings going into the offseason. He went over a few issues that the Wings direly need to address this offseason. In this post, I'm going to go through some of the important Q&A's and give you my opinion, because my opinion is cool and good! You can find the article at MLive.
Red Wings Q&A with Ansar Khan | MLive.com
Q. What are the team’s biggest needs in the off-season?
A. They need a top-four right-handed shooting defenseman. They were one of two teams that had only lefties on defense (Dallas was the other).
There are some free-agent options, including Pittsburgh’s Matt Niskanen, who will be the Red Wings’ top target if he doesn’t re-sign with the Penguins. Other right-handed shooting defensemen headed for free agency include Dan Boyle (San Jose), Derek Morris (Phoenix), Tom Gilbert (Florida) and Marek Zidlicky (New Jersey).
The Red Wings also could use a decent-sized winger with scoring ability. Free agents who fit one or both of those qualifications include Thomas Vanek, Matt Moulson, Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik, Jarome Iginla, Jaromir Jagr and Devin Setoguchi.
The Red Wings are roughly $20 million under the $71.1 million salary cap for 2014-15. Some of that will be exhausted after they re-sign restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser, Tomas Tatar and Riley Sheahan. But they will have ample cap space to dip into the free-agent market.
I've been calling for it for a few years now, Detroit needs a change of scenery in their top-four defensemen. They need to go after a veteran "minute-muncher" who can even out the 2nd pairing with Danny DeKeyser (he's a top-four guy. I don't care what you think.) Preferably, it needs to be a guy with a right-hand shot. It doesn't seem like it would be a big deal, but it is. Having shooters on their strong side makes the difference, especially when you're shooting from the point or pinching in to play the puck. Matt Niskanen is the top name on that list, but if he tests free agency, he's going to be vastly over-priced. I think if I had to take my choice, I would go with a Dan Boyle or a Marek Zidlicky. Both posted decent numbers, and played in 70+ games this season.
The forward thing is... Eh. I don't know, I mean I guess it would be wise to get ahold of some offensive firepower, but the names that he included are going to be top-dollar premium players. A player like Jaromir Jagr would be absolutely incredible, but I am pretty sure Jagr has stated that he wants to stick with New Jersey. I assume Vanek's price will start around $7.5, and Callahan will start around $5.5. I see he put Setoguchi's name on that. Dear christ, please don't sign that turd.
A. It’s doubtful that Legwand will be back. He didn’t have the impact the club was hoping for when it acquired him at the trade deadline for blue-chip center prospect Calle Jarnkrok and what turned out to be a second-round pick. The injury-ravaged Red Wings desperately needed a center to help them get into the playoffs, but Legwand finished the season playing the wing on the fourth line.
Alfredsson provided the club what it needed – some offense (tied for team lead with 49 points, in just 68 games), a right-handed shooter and leadership. But he’s 41 and experienced back issues. If he decides in a few weeks that he wants to play another season, the Red Wings probably will work out a deal with him.
As for their other unrestricted free-agent forwards, it’s safe to say Todd Bertuzzi and Daniel Cleary won’t be re-signed, due in part to the emergence of young forwards. Mikael Samuelsson definitely won’t be back.
I agree with this. I don't think David Legwand will be re-signed, and it's probably for the best. He didn't make an impact like they hoped he would, and they paid a premium for it. That's what pursuing rental players will do. I'm over the trade at this point, and I hope that all of you whiners will eventually get over it as well. Shit happens. As for Daniel Alfredsson, I'd love to have him again. He's the perfect veteran player to have. He produces, and provides leadership. We love you, Alfie. It's probably time to part ways with Bertuzzi, even though I'd hate to see him go. Surprising to see Khan say Sammy won't be back. I thought he had one of his best seasons this year. Good guy, trys hard, loves the game.
Q. Will Kyle Quincey be re-signed?
A. Probably not, though it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Quincey improved significantly the second half of the season and the Red Wings would like to re-sign him at the right price (probably less than his current $4 million). But free-agent defensemen are at a premium and Quincey likely would get a better offer on the market.
That's fine by me. He was good in the last stretch, but I just can't forget how fart-sucking bad he was before. Byeeeee.
Q. Which young players will make the roster next season?
A. Riley Sheahan will not be waiver-exempt next season, so he definitely will be on the team. He’s earned a spot regardless of his waiver status. He filled the second-line center slot admirably, playing well defensively and showing his offensive skills (nine goals, 24 points in 42 games).
Tomas Jurco is exempt from waivers for one more season, so the club has some flexibility with him. He played well (eight goals, 15 points in 36 games) but might need a little more seasoning in Grand Rapids. Where he starts next season might depend on what other moves are made.
Luke Glendening no longer is waiver-exempt, which is why he can’t join the Griffins now. He’ll be on the Red Wings next season, but might move to the wing with their depth at center.
The club needs to make a decision on right wing Landon Ferraro, its 2009 top pick, who loses his waiver-exempt status next season.
Top forward prospect Anthony Mantha should challenge for a roster spot in training camp and the preseason.
On defense, they probably need to move in one of their top prospects. Xavier Ouellet, who’s better defensively, is ahead of Ryan Sproul, Alexey Marchenko and Mattias Backman in the pecking order. Adam Almquist, no longer waiver-exempt, doesn’t want to play in Grand Rapids next season and doesn’t appear to have a future in the organization. He might return to Sweden.
This is a big one. Obviously Riley Sheahan will make the team, with Tomas Jurco and Anthony Mantha pushing for spots. That's to be expected.. But what really jumps out here is Adam Almquist. He doesn't want to play in Grand Rapids any longer and "doesn't appear to have a future in the organization." Almer is the highest scoring defenseman in Detroit Red Wings prospect history. Yes, history. He's a pipsqueak, but he is damn-near elite with moving the puck. It really sucks to read this. Can't say I don't blame him... But I would think that returning to Sweden would be silly because he would more than likely draw interest from other NHL teams. If he has no future, why not trade him?
Q. Who will be their backup goaltender?
A. They would like to re-sign Jonas Gustavsson. He was a solid backup to Jimmy Howard, going 16-5-4, with a 2.63 goals-against average. The problem is he is too injury-prone. Other free-agent options include Brian Elliott (St. Louis), Jaroslav Halak (Washington) and Jonas Hiller (Anaheim), but they’ll be seeking starting jobs. Backup possibilities include Al Montoya (Winnipeg), Chad Johnson (Boston) and Carter Hutton (Nashville). It’s a deep pool of goalies, but some likely will re-sign with their teams.
I don't like it, but I understand. They want to keep Petr Mrazek shouldering 50+ starts so that after next season he can be fully ready. Thing is, he is ready. Petr is one of the better goalies we've ever had at the AHL level. He puts up all-star numbers, and hey, his NHL numbers aren't too shabby either. Hopefully spending another year in the minors isn't going to piss him off and hate the Red Wings. That would really suck. If they have to re-sign a backup, I'm sure it will be Jonas Gustavsson. If it's anything over a one year deal then fuck that. Gus is not good at goalie, and I don't care what any of you have to say about that. Also, he's made of glass. Backups need to be reliable and ready to go at all times.
Q. What does the future hold for general manager Ken Holland and coach Mike Babcock?
A. Each has one year remaining on his contract. Chances are the club will sign Holland to an extension in the off-season. After Holland is signed, Babcock likely will be offered an extension. Then it would be up to him if he wants to stay beyond 2014-15 or move on to a new challenge.
I don't think Ken Holland should get an extension until next season. Why? Because I think he has some serious shit to prove. There's no hiding the fact that since 2012, Detroit's UFA signings have been a complete woeful tragedy. Yeah, he hit the jackpot when he traded down and came out with Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi, but he's gotta show that he's good for more than just drafting (which by the way, they should give Hakan Andersson a raise.) The second part really opens my eyes. Mike Babcock doesn't HAVE to re-sign here in Detroit. I'm sure he would, because he's holding a dynasty here, but again.. Doesn't have to. I hope he does. He is, without a doubt, the best of the best. World-class coach. Even if he is stubborn and deploys players in questionable matter sometimes.
There are a few other Q&A's in the article, including who should be traded (Andersson and Kindl are the names mentioned), Franzen issues in which Khan makes a case that he should not be bought out, so on and so forth. Personally I would like to see Detroit make some moves with their training staff.. You know, fire every single one of them and bring in some super-team of Swedish doctors or something. I'd also like to see them take a stab at a full-time analytics guy. Yeah, yeah, yeah.. Sounds crazy, but lots of teams are doing it and it's the future of this sport, whether you like it or not. (by the way I am available, if you are ready this Ken Holland.)
So yeah, gonna be a real barn-burner of an offseason this year. I'm hopeful, for some reason. Excited for the draft, and excited to see what happens with the UFA market.