Detroit Red Wings: What They Need to Do This Offseason
The Wings showed their age. They looked slow and sluggish in the playoffs. A younger, less experienced team showed that it is possible to stop Detroit.
Detroit did have many injuries during the regular season. This affected their home-ice advantage in playoffs and overall standings. In the playoffs, standings mean nothing. Look at the L.A. Kings. An eighth seed knocked out the top two seeds in the West.
The Wings will have pick up some major players in order to make the playoffs next season, and youth will be key.
Sign Zach Parise
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Ilya Kovalchuk's contract is going to be a major issue with the New Jersey Devils in the offseason. They have 11 unrestricted free agents and let's face it, money talks.
The Devils are having a great playoff run and may even win the Stanley Cup. The fans and players know that this maybe Martin Brodeur's last year. He is aging. The question that the 11 unrestricted free agents must face is, will the team survive without their All-Star Goalie?
The Colorado Avalanche had the same problem when Patrick Roy retired. The team has never been the same since.
Zach Parise is an ideal forward for the Wings. Plus, they have both the influence and money to grab him if he hits the free agency market.
Parise's numbers have been a little low compared to past seasons, but he just may just need a change. This season he has 31 goals and 38 assists, making a grand total of 69 points. In 2009-10 he had 82 points, and in 2008-09 season he had 94 points. Keep in mind that last season he had an injury in the 2010-11 season that limited him to 13 games.
No player on Detroit's roster broke 30 goals. For the Wings he is a must-sign.
Sign Shea Weber
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Whether you love him or hate him, you have to admit that Shea Weber is a great defenceman. Detroit fans may hate him for his dirty hit on Henrik Zetterberg, but it is better to have him on your side than to play against him.
His style of play can be physical, and his slap shots are deadly. His style of play is well known around the NHL, and for good reason. This season alone Weber has 19 goals. As a defenceman that is incredible.
He was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 2011. He has won a gold medal and clearly wants a Stanley Cup. Weber knows the Wings want him, and even if Nicklas Lidstrom does not retire, it would not hurt to have him on the blue line too.
Trade for Rick Nash
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The Columbus Blue Jackets are rebuilding their team, and they have stated that Rick Nash would be open to leave. He is in his prime, and the Blue Jackets tried to trade him this season to make some cap space.
Overall, the Blue Jackets have gotten worse as a team. Nash somehow finds ways to score goals with little to no help. He is the face of the franchise. He can skate and score goals. He is almost a guaranteed 60-point player. This season he fell shy with 59 points, but who really cares. He is running solo most of the time.
Columbus has some goal scorers, but none are even close to Nash. He would be a big boost to Detroit. Can you imagine a line with him and Zetterberg or Pavel Datsyuk? You could even put them all on one line just to see what happens.
His pay is the only issue. He will be making $7.6 million next season and will be paid $7.8 the next season. To get him Detroit will most likely have to trade a first-round draft pick and a prospect. It is a high price to pay, but he is worth it.
Keep Jiri Hudler
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When Jiri Hudler came back to the Wings from the KHL, he was not the same player. Before he left, his numbers were climbing, and he shocked Detroit when he decided to leave. He left Detroit with a Cup ring, and the Wings had to scramble to find a 50-point player.
When he returned from Russia, many Detroit fans wondered why he left. This lead a lot of fans to not like him. The fact is he was offered more money in Russia. If someone offered you more money to leave your job, would you say no?
His temporary departure from Detroit cost him, though. His numbers went down, and his salary was not worth it.
The 2011-12 season was his time to put up or shut up. He proved he can still play. He had 25 goals and 25 assist. Only three other players scored more then 20 goals this season for the Wings.
Hudler deserves to be signed for at least a few years. He found his game, and he is a good fit.
Sign Olli Jokinen
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The Calgary Flames are going through rough times, and Olli Jokinen knows it. The team failed to make the Playoffs for the third consecutive year in a row.
Jokinen knows what a struggling team feels like. He was on the Florida Panthers 2000-08.
When he decided to leave Florida, he struggled to find a home. He started the 2008-09 season with The Phoenix Coyotes and found himself putting up decent numbers. You could tell that he was not comfortable playing for Phoenix.
It is when he was traded to Calgary did his game improve. You could tell that his style of play was going to be a success. While his best years seem to be behind him, he was a powerhouse in Florida, and he still has a roll.
Jokinen is an is good pick for Detroit. He is not that old and is experienced. He is leader and is a great player.
Keeping Nicklas Lidstrom
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Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock believes that Nicklas Lidstrom will not retire.
The issue that Lidstrom must face is his age and his injury. Most likely he will come back. Not only because of how this season ended, but because he knows the team needs him.
He is not putting up numbers like he used to, but he plays better then most 20-year-olds. A key factor on why he may retire is his injury.
He is realizing that he cannot do what he used to do. Kris Draper and Brian Rafalski realized this and retired. Lidstrom is a special case. He is for sure going to be in the Hall of Fame.
Detroit has two young defenceman who should be ready for next year (Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith). Their first full season will be rough and Lidstrom would be a great mentor.
Perhaps the biggest argument on why Lidstrom will not retire is the Winter Classic. The chance to play in two of them is rare enough and is too good to pass up. The Winter Classic is expected to break attendance records. Two of the oldest teams in the NHL will face off in 2013.
He is past the point of personal numbers. He is at the point in his career where everyone knows he is great. He has the awards and rings to prove it. He now plays for the team. He is what makes Red Wings hockey thrive, and it would be a shame for him to go.