Good morning friends. Did you have a happy Independence Day? Does anyone even call it that anymore?
After having the good times pour Fourth yesterday, today could require a Fifth of alcohol depending on what you expect to happen. Today is the day that free agents can officially sign contracts with new teams, and for the Red Wings that means we get to see Ken Holland do what he does and hopefully make us all feel even better than we did after the season ended.
It's pretty obvious what the Red Wings need: a top-6 forward to replace pretty-much-out-the-door Valtteri Filppula and a top-4 veteran defenseman who will be relatively cheap. Personally, I'd like to see a backup goaltender get signed, but that's just me and my lack of any kind of faith in Jonas Gustavsson to be even serviceable next year.
As it stands at this very moment, the Wings have about $10.7M in cap space for next season, and the following UFAs to address:
Filppula (stop laughing)
Of the 3, only Brunner seems to be wanted by Wing fans, so that means he's as good as gone while Cleary gets the reported 3 years/$9M contract that will make us all rage vomit.
We can't forget about the RFAs though. These guys have all been made qualifying offers and are sure to get contracts. It's just a matter of when, not if:
So we've heard about cap hits and cap space and potential free agent targets for the Wings. Ultimately something is going to happen today, and I can guarantee that each and every one of you will fall into the following categories at some point. You're probably already there now, but how the rest of the day goes could move you into another group. These are the Types of Fans on Free Agent Day:
The Wings need to stay pat and not do anything: Probably the smallest of all the groups, these people want the Wings do to absolutely nothing except sign their own FAs and hope and pray that the kids turn out to be great. These people are the loudest about the depth signings from last year because it got in the way of the youngsters, and they don't want a repeat. They also refuse to admit that allowing half the team to be under the age of 25 means rebuild, but shhhhhhhh don't say that word.
The Wings need to not do anything huge and just tweak the current roster: This is the group I'm firmly planted in, because I feel the Wings have a good thing and don't need to do anything drastic. However, no team is perfect and there are opportunities to improve that the Wings should be trying to take advantage of. This is where I want to see Holland make one or two good signings: whether that be a top-6 forward or someone to shore up depth, I want my first impression to be "that move makes this team better". However, the size of the move can be subjective, which means those in this group could fall into the next one if they feel it isn't big enough.
The Wings never do anything big because Ken Holland is a giant sissy baby: This may be the loudest group of all, and they have no problems letting you know how they feel about Holland and Wings management. They feel that Holland should be taking advantage of running The Best Organization In Sports and that the magic wand that accompanies that title allows him to sign every single quality free agent at a fraction of what that player could command on the open market. They still cling to the belief that the Wings represent the only possible destination for free agents and that Holland's inability to land them constitutes a massive failure.
Me, I think there's no way that any GM can escape today without some criticism from a portion of his fanbase. It's the nature of the job and most handle it pretty well. There will be some pretty stupid contracts handed out today, and some GM is going to shock everyone by making a few good signings, but overall today should be pretty quiet. For the Wings, it will be interesting to see what sort of money Filppula gets and if the Wings sign anyone of any consequence.
It's an open thread. Speculate away!