It's no secret that the Detroit Red Wings owner, Mike Ilitch, is going to do whatever is necessary to win a championship.
Even if that means spending some money. Some big money.
Ilitch also owns the Detroit Tigers, Detroit's Major League Baseball team, and put his money on display last summer, signing all-star free agent Prince Fielder for 10 years and $214 million.
It was the Tigers richest contract ever. Ilitch wants to win, now.
The Tigers got their guy; now, it's the Red Wings turn.
Although the Wings front office has some choices to make considering they have eight free agents on their current roster, there is no doubt that the Wings are looking to make a splash in free agency come July 1. They have money, and they're going to use it.
It's well known that the Wings are looking to bring in at least one top-tier free agent. However, with the amount of money they have—about $20 million in cap space—most people (like me) will be disappointed if we don't bring in at least two big names. I believe the two guys who will help the Wings become elite again are free agents Ryan Suter and Zach Parise.
With captain Nicklas Lidstrom contemplating retirement (again) and Brad Stuart probably heading back to California to be closer to his family, the Wings will need a big-time defenseman to step in.
Who should be the Red Wings #1 free agent target?
Ryan Suter is that guy.
The Nashville Predators have 15 free agents with their cap number around $32 million. Their first concern will be captain Shea Weber. After Weber, the Predators will not likely have enough money to keep Suter around, assuming he will want about $6 million to $7 million.
This leaves the door open for the Red Wings.
Suter is an All-Star and a leader, and would fit great next to Lidstrom, Ian White or Nicklas Kronwall.
Adding Parise would be huge for the Wings. The 27-year-old captain from New Jersey is exactly what Detroit needs.
He is a great all-around forward and a player that would excel alongside current Red Wing stars, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.
The Devils are going through some owner and management issues and are supposed to lose about $20 million this season. I can tell you now, Zach Parise will not be a New Jersey Devil for the 2012-2013 season.
Parise has already said he likes how the Red Wings play and also noted that Pavel Datsyuk is his "favorite player to watch." He would be a perfect fit in the Red Wings system and will definitely give them offensive help, which was clearly lacking in the playoff series against Nashville.
When it comes down to it, the Red Wings are going to be active in the free agency period. Ilitch has the money and he is going to spend it. Red Wings General Manager, Ken Holland, knows what needs to be done to get back to cup form and with Ilitch's money, he'll do his job.
They are not trying to rebuild, but they need to retool to become a Stanley Cup contender again. The Wings have a great core of players between Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula, Kronwall and maybe (hopefully) Lidstrom.
While there are other solid free agents on the market, including Washington Capitals forward Alex Semin, bringing in Suter and Parise will make the Wings elite once again and take them back to the Stanley Cup in 2013.