NHL Free Agency 2012: Detroit Red Wings Should Pursue These 5 Players
See if you can imagine this scenario. It's 1:45 am and the bartender has just announced last call. All of your top choices have already left with somebody else, and the ugly lights are about to come on. You've had some good conversations with your first couple of picks but things didn't quite connect. You know there's some choices left out there, but you're kind of aware of the baggage that each party brings to the table.
That has to be how Ken Holland felt this morning after watching Minnesota take Zach Parise and Ryan Suter off the market. But fear not Red Wings faithful. The prettiest dance partner may have picked somebody else, but Detroit has no shortage of options left.
What Holland must avoid is desperation. He made a declaration of aggressiveness, but can't make a deal now just for the sake of making a deal. There are still some solid choices out there, but don't get sucked into a bidding war for sub par talent.
If the season started today, the Red Wings would still boast one of the most talented rosters in the league. It's always nice to add new toys to the box, but don't buy new ones just because you can.
Remember folks, it's not about adding the best players, it's about co-ordinating the best fit on the roster and the ice. Nobody inside or outside of Los Angeles thought the Kings were going to win the Stanley Cup in late April.
The lights are about to come on Kenny, you're running out of time. Other teams are closing in, so here are your best options.
Shea Weber-Nashville Predators
Dressed for a dinner date with Hank?
Harry How/Getty Images
I know it's far fetched, but honestly if I'm Ken Holland, this is my number one move. Offer sheet to Weber. At 26 years old, Weber is in his prime and will be for the next six or seven years.
He is miles better than Suter, and gives the Red Wings a nasty edge that they have lacked for so long. Did I also mention he can quarterback the power play and has a shot that regularly laughs at 100 mph?
An offer sheet to Weber would mean the Red Wings would forfeit first round draft picks for the next four years if Nashville fails to match the deal. I would put an offer sheet in front of Weber that would look like this:
13 years-$110 million with a staggered cap hit to make the deal viable for future signings. I would throw in a modified no trade clause, a guaranteed "A" on his sweater (possibly a "C" for next year), and a free punch to the face from Zetterberg. Ok, maybe not the last one.
At first glance the deal reeks of desperation, but after striking out on Minnesota's new tag team, Detroit needs to make someone more significant than Mikael Samuelsson their marque signing.
Giving up the next four first round picks means very little considering there isn't going to be a player of Weber's significance available in the next four drafts for Detroit.
Do it Kenny. Nashville GM David Poile won't let another defenseman walk.
All world talent who needs a kick in the pants.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Alexander Semin has moved from my "Do not touch" list to my "This could actually work" list. I'm never a fan of lazy, unmotivated players who only show up when they feel like it. You listening Johan Franzen? Semin has grown on me though.
He's Russian, which of course is a hit or miss proposition, but also has a great rapport with Red Wing center Pavel Datsyuk. He has gifted hands, a top tier shot, and can skate like the wind. So why is this guy still available? He's temperamental, moody and made over $6 million last year.
His agent knows that his value will go up once the market thins out, and then of course there is the KHL. Detroit needs to grab him now before the hours get desperate and the price gets stupid.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Andrei Kostitsyn went to Nashville in a trade with Montreal and joined his brother Sergei. Once a 50 point player with the Canadiens, Kostitsyn could certainly benefit from playing with the offensive talent in Hockeytown.
He's another Russian left-hander and could compliment any line he's put on. At 27, he should still be in his prime.
Detroit could be a jump start to his career, and he would be a fraction of the cost of the first two players I have listed so far. Consider him a larger, more physical Jiri Hudler. I'd take that in a minute if he can match Hudler's scoring.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
One has to wonder why Shane Doan hasn't resigned with his previous employer of 17 years, the Phoenix Coyotes. If they have straightened out their ownership situation, why are they letting their UFA's wander away from the desert?
Ray Whitney has already cashed in on his resurgent career with a lucrative two-year deal in Dallas. Doan has to wonder how much his market value might increase as the free agent signing period goes on. He would fit well in Detroit as a top six forward that can score and do the dirty work in the corners.
Detroit could probably throw a pretty substantial short term deal under his nose that could fetch a signature. The Red Wings offer everything Phoenix didn't (before this postseason), stable ownership and a guaranteed spot in the playoffs with a legitimate chance to get to the Stanley Cup.
Doan has meant everything to the Phoenix franchise, coming down from Winnipeg with the team. I can't imagine Phoenix won't make him an offer to keep him in Arizona.
Ryan Suter plan B?
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
He's the same size as Ryan Suter, with slightly more bulk. He's left handed like Ryan Suter. He's....ok, that' s about where the similarities end with Carlo Colaiacovo and Ryan Suter. Colaiacovo is a solid defensive pickup for Detroit if they can lure him away from St. Louis.
He's a good skater who kind of reminds me of a left-handed Ian White. In Detroit's system he could certainly be a solid contributor. With the Red Wing defense needing some depth, Colaiacovo is an upgrade versus promoting a Grand Rapids player.