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I could list all of the available free agents and how they might work in Detroit, but there are only two names that mater; Ryan Suter and Zach Parise.
Yes, there are several other players who would look great in the winged wheel, but Suter and Parise are the ultimate prizes.
In Parise, the Red Wings would have a more consistent scoring threat. He has topped 30 goals in each of his last five full seasons, with a high of 45. The Red Wings have not had a 30-goal scorer since Marian Hossa in 2008-09. While having several 20-plus goal scorers is good, they seem to really miss having that high-scoring go-to player.
Signing Parise would free up players such as Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula. They are likely to score more goals with the presence of a more consistent scorer. Hopefully, that would carry over into the postseason, where the lack of that regular threat has hurt the team the last few seasons.
Parise seems to be open to coming to Detroit. He already is making $6 million a year, and in the salary- cap NHL world, the Wings could only offer so much more.
Other teams will likely be able to pay Parise more, but will likely not be able to give him a better chance at the Stanley Cup. The Red Wings also can offer him a chance to play with Datsyuk, his favorite player.
Suter is the premier defender on the market this year. Nashville has historically had a tight budget, but the Predators' success over the past two seasons might open up the wallet a bit. They certainly have room under the cap. However, they do have 15 players who will be some type of free agent this season.
The Red Wings could lure Suter with a nice increase from the $3.5 million he made last season. He also might have the chance to play with his good friend Parise.
This is another big reason why Nick Lidstrom needs to sign for less money. The money he could free up, along with Holmstrom’s retirement and Stuart’s departure, should give the Red Wings enough money to sign both of these players.
In the end, you could see Stuart and Hudler being replaced by Suter and Parise. That would be a huge gain for the team.