All right, here we go.
For most of us Red Wings fans, these two weeks have been the most fun we’ve had the last few seasons. The buy-out period, NHL Draft, re-signing phase and free agency are all crammed into the final two weeks of June and carry over into July. Steve Yzerman has preached patience to Red Wings fans, and obviously we will grant him that wish.
However, patience and standing still are two different things. No, I don’t expect any major splashes whether via trade or free agency, but I would love to see just a few tweaks here and there to get the ball rolling in the Yzerman 2.0 era. Here are my hopes for the next couple of weeks in Detroit.
1. Abdelkader, Nielsen, Helm, Dekeyser
I will start with my most extreme hope, and that is somehow getting rid of just ONE of these horrific contracts. For the most part, I can live with Helm’s, but he’s making enough to be put on this list too. Nielsen and Abdelkader are two of the worst contracts from the Holland era (Stephen Weiss please stand up), and while the Red Wings aren’t necessarily in cap hell anymore, Detroit has $9.5M per season for the next three years tied up in these underperforming, boring forwards who could take roster spots from Rasmussen, Svechnikov, Veleno, Berggren, and maybe even this years 1st pick down the road.
All of those players are cheaper, more exciting, and soon-to-be better than Abby and Nielsen. As for Dekeyser, he just never lived up to the hype, and his contract isn’t doing the Red Wings any good either. He’s on the books the next three seasons, and with the emergence of Bowey, Hronek, Cholowski and eventually McIsaac, you wonder if/when it is time to move on from DDK. Whether it’s via a buyout or trade attached with a mid-round pick, I would just love for one of these contracts to be off the payroll for good.
2. The Draft
For me the draft is simple, pray for Turcotte to be there. If he is, it’s a no brainer. If Turcotte has been taken, Byram is the next option. If both are gone, then it comes down to best available. Regardless of who is taken at #6, I still believe three of the four picks in the first two rounds should be defenseman because that’s what this team is in need of most. I’d be shocked to see a trade of any kind, but if there is an offer that blows Stevie away, he should take it because why not? This year’s draft for Detroit seems as straightforward as it has ever been.
3. A trade, maybe?
I’d love to see any kind of trade that makes this team better. Obviously, it’s very unlikely the Red Wings make a huge splash in the trade market, but that doesn’t mean they can’t try and get better. Just based off of TSN’s trade bait list, what would it take to go get a Nikolaj Ehlers now that Cheveldayoff has shown the world he doesn’t know what he is doing?
Or maybe go after Garrett Sparks from Toronto to help find a goalie for the future? Kick the tires around on Colin Miller, Shayne Gostisbehere, Connor Brown, Jesse Puljujarvi or Victor Rask: Someone young who can come in and not only contribute right away, but will continue helping build towards the future.
The Red Wings’ forward prospect depth is something they should take advantage of in trades, because they have assets that could be used in returns. Remember, we have the best GM in hockey now, and I hope we can see him pull off more of that trade magic he showed in Tampa.
4. Free agents
Although I expect a very quiet July 1 from Detroit, especially if they make a trade of any kind, I don’t think it’s completely out of the question they sign a player or two. I don’t believe Panarin, Duchene, Pavelski, Bobrovsky, etc. are even close to being in play, but why not at least meet with them? Imagine what a signing like Panarin could do for this team going forward.
I do, however, see more depth moves. Go after a 2nd/3rd pair D like Ben Chiarot (WPG) or Alex Petrovic (EDM). I pray to God we are done with all of the “veteran presence” signings, but you never know. I’d be more shocked if the Red Wings sign no one at all, so I figure to see them throw some money around on short-term deals to see if they can find some diamonds in the rough.
5. Offer sheet Marner, Point and/or Laine
That’s right, I said it. Why not? What’s the worst that could happen? I wouldn’t go over $10.5M (4 1sts) for Marner, but offer him 5/$50? Tell me you wouldn’t be okay giving up 2 1sts, a 2nd and a 3rd to watch him and Larkin play together the next five years?
As for Point and Laine, they’d be much more reasonable to give offer sheets too as I figure they would fall in between the $4.2-$6.3M (1st and 3rd) range which really is much better than having to give up 2 1sts and a 2nd.
Regardless of who it is, just make an aggressive move. I know, I know, “patience,” but what is the worst thing that could happen? You end up with an already elite forward instead of risking your future on prospects down the road? I’m just saying, why not do it? What’s the worst thing that happens?
Obviously, I listed a few “major” hopes I said I wouldn’t touch on, but I really just wanted to get conversations started. All things considered, I really do expect to see a quiet two weeks.
I get it. We’re in the peak of the rebuild with Stevie Y just now taking the reins. But wouldn’t you like to see some kind of splash?
I, like most, feel like the spending will come with next year’s possibly monumental free agent class, which could be perfect timing for the Wings. I truly believe going into the 2020-21 season, this team can be in the hunt for the playoffs again, but that won’t happen over night.
I’m tired of boring, I need a little bit of excitement to keep getting my hopes up for what’s to come. But, no matter, what I will trust Stevie Y and try and stay as patient as I can. LGRW.