The 2011-12 season has been a rough one for the Detroit Red Wings. A plague of injuries hurt Detroit in the standings and they showed their age in the playoffs.
The Wings had a decent season this year, but their road record was slipping. This cost them in the playoffs since they did not have home ice advantage.
The Wings need someone who can score. Not many players scored over 20 goals for Detroit this season.
The cap era has cost the Wings the chance to buy a Stanley Cup, but not all is lost.
Detroit hockey has a rich history and tradition. They have some money to throw around in free agency. The Wings know they must sign a big forward or risk falling to an even lower seed in the playoffs, or maybe not make the playoffs at all.
This is the top five possible forwards Detroit should sign.
Kristian Huselius would be a risk for Detroit, but if things do not go to plan they can gamble.
Huselius can do one thing right for Detroit: score.
When healthy, he can score at least 20 goals.
For the past two seasons, Huselius has been injured. In the 2010-11 season, he played 39 games. This season, he only played two games.
Huselius was a power forward for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
In the 2009-10 season, he had 63 points. He scored 20 goals that season. To add to this, he is a great setup man. He had 43 assists. His absence this year has cost Columbus a lot. They lost one of their star forwards. As a result, Columbus fell to the bottom of the Western Conference.
Columbus may let Huselius go and take their chances with someone else. He has been injured for two seasons straight. Detroit maybe able to get him back to the player he once was.
Huselius more then likely needs a team that can support his talent. When he was playing for the Calgary Flames, he was posting career-high numbers.
During his 2006-07 season with Calgary he scored 34 goals and had 43 assist.
The question the Wings must ask is: will he stay healthy?
David Jones currently plays for the Colorado Avalanche and had a rough start in his NHL career. In his first few seasons, he suffered some injuries that limited his ice time. In his first season, he played 27 games and had a total of six points. The following season, he had 13 points in 40 games.
He was improving and in the 2010-11 season, he showed that when healthy, he is dangerous. He scored 27 goals for Colorado and tied for most goals on the team.
Colorado's patience seemed to have payed off, but Detroit may be able to convince Jones to leave the Avalanche. Colorado's team in recent years have been rebuilding. They have showed some promise over the years but had little to show for it.
Ever since their star players retired, the team has not been the same.
Colorado has not been able to find a goaltender who has been good since Patrick Roy. Roy is one of the best goaltenders to ever play, but other teams have been able to find replacements.
Look at Detroit.
The Wings had great goaltenders over the years and have been able to find replacements.
The ability to adapt to change is one of Detroit's greatest strengths and players around the NHL recognize it. That is why so many big names have played for Detroit in the past and continue to sign today.
Jones is only 27-years old and knows that Colorado is still looking to rebuild. If he wants a chance at a Stanley Cup he needs to leave Colorado. The only question is will he choose to leave?
According to NESN, Chris Kelly wants to stay in Boston, but his contract will have to be worth big if Boston hopes to keep him. He is putting up career-high numbers. For a contract year, that almost guarantees a pay raise.
In the 2010-11 season, Boston realized his talent and traded for him, which ended up in their favor. The Bruins gave up a second round draft pick for Kelly.
Before Kelly was in Boston, he was playing for the Ottawa Senators. He put up decent numbers and looked to be a great support player. He was putting up at least 30 points every year except one. The Bruins paid a small price for him and in return, Kelly helped them win their first Stanley Cup since 1972.
Detroit will need youth and speed next season. Kelly is just that.
If Detroit can sign Kelly, it would be a big bonus.
Alexander Semin has become somewhat of a hopeful contender in Detroit.
The Detroit Free Press recently published an article about Semin. It is true that he is an unrestricted free agent and is not likely to return to Washington, but will he be a good fit?
The Washington Capitals cannot afford to sign him. Semin knows he is good and will be asking for top dollar. This season, he has 21 goals and 33 assists in 77 games.
His best season was the 2009-10 season.
He had 84 points in 74 games. The season before that, he had 79 points. His numbers looked like they would only improve, but they have not. Semin barely made it past 20 goals this season, but every player goes through some bad years.
Washington had a rough season and with their coach leaving, things are more then likely going to get worse.
Semin would be a good sign for Detroit. He would provide the much needed firepower that the Wings need, but he may ask for too much money. In the past, there have been players who have been over payed because of lack of talent during the free agency.
The bottom line is Semin should be a backup in case they cant get the next player on this list.
Zach Parise will be the biggest name in the free agency.
Everyone will be trying to sign him and Detroit will have their work cut out for them. Parise is coming off a great year. His numbers did go down this year compared to his past seasons, but he still scored over 30 goals.
For Detroit he is a must sign. He is the ideal forward.
In his rookie year he had 31 points. The New Jersey Devils knew that he was a good draft pick. He proved it by scoring in his first NHL game. Only 11 other players have done that in Devil's history.
Parise's game just improved from his rookie season. The following season, he scored the quickest goal in Devil's season-opener history. He scored in 26 seconds.
His best season was the 2008-09 season. In 82 games, he had 45 goals and 49 assists. New Jersey even named him alternative captain in 2009.
In the 2009-10 season, he scored 38 goals and 44 assists. He seemed to be unstoppable, but during the 2010-11 season he was injured and played just 13 games.
Parise is young and has talent. For Detroit, signing him to a long term contract is key.