Reloading the Detroit Red Wings: A Trade-Free Proposal
As a heat wave scorches most of the great Midwest, Red Wings fans everywhere may be feeling the need for a bucket of ice for their brains.
With Ryan Suter and Zach Parise locked up to mega-deals with the Minnesota Wild, it is now time for Ken Holland and his (hopefully iced-down) brain trust to make the Red Wings a playoff team without the summer's two biggest names.
Now, there is very serious talk of mortgaging the future and then some to get Rick Nash or Bobby Ryan. Red Wings fans, please do not support this agenda. There is a better way.
I present to you my step-by-step, trade-free scenario that I would push for if I were in charge of the Detroit Red Wings.
Step 1: Assess the Situation
It is no secret that the Red Wings have lost a lot, and the first way to fix any problem is to realize what needs to be fixed. Detroit has lost the following to retirement or free agency:
Nicklas Lidstrom (D)
Brad Stuart (D)
Jiri Hudler (F)
That makes for almost $17 million in cap space after the most recent signings, according to CapGeek.com. Despite what the NHL pundits say, it is very possible to field a great Red Wings team with the remaining UFAs.
Step 2: Sign Alex Semin ASAP
It is very rare that a player with the on-ice talent of Alex Semin hits free agency at this point in his career. The Red Wings need to make signing him the No. 1 priority before he decides to bolt to Russia and play in the KHL.
This signing would not only replace the need for a scoring forward, it would be a tremendous upgrade.
Despite what the (heavily Canadian-biased) TSN panel said about Semin, this is a player who can play. Washington has a spotty history when it comes to keeping star players under coaching control, and the situation very well could be that Semin is sick and tired of the system in place.
Enter the Detroit Red Wings.
Coach Mike Babcock is famed for keeping his players on exceptionally short leashes and never accepting less than a top effort on every shift. The Detroit system has also shown that they are unafraid to make healthy scratches if a player decides to act up.
It is my opinion that Semin would not only succeed in the (strict) Detroit system but flourish next to Russian superstar Pavel Datsyuk.
Step 3: Ink Carlo Colaiacovo
This 29-year-old blueliner is part one of my scenario. At 6'1" and 195, Colaiacovo will not be seen as a splashy and sexy signing by many in Detroit since he is somewhat injury prone.
Carlo Colaiacovo would be a great addition to the Red Wings due to his ability to help with the offense (he has posted two 30-point seasons), as well as the fact that he could be signed for a relatively short time while Brendan Smith makes his full NHL transition.
Plus, by the looks of the picture, he can help score against the Blackhawks, something that did not come easily to the Red Wings last year.
Step 4: Bring in Michal Rozsíval
Here is one out of left field for many Red Wings fans.
I firmly believe that Rozsíval would be a great addition to the Red Wings to take over the role of Brad Stuart. While he is not known for putting up offensive numbers, Rozsíval is a wise choice for the Red Wings, who need another stay-at-home defenseman.
Another advantage of Rozsíval is the fact that in the past he has shown that he can play top-four minutes during his stint with the New York Rangers.
His 91 blocked shots last year would also be welcome for the Red Wings, who tend to give up quite a few shots per period.
Step 5: Extend Shane Doan a Reasonable Offer
The one thing that the Red Wings should keep in mind when pursuing Shane Doan is that he should not be the No. 1 priority. There is no need for them to overpay (or even over-offer) for a player that may well stay with his current team.
If I were the boss, Doan would be the Plan C, to be chased when Plan A (Parise) and B (Semin) are out of the question.
Red Wings fans should also remember that the Wings are already an offensive force, with the likes of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Alexander Semin on the line (according to sources).
In the end, I am not the one in charge of the Red Wings. For all I know, the list I just contrived could be Ken Holland's list of ruled-out players.
With that in mind, I know that a solid and serviceable Red Wings team can be put together in a year that will ultimately be remembered as a reloading one.
The Red Wings will be going into the season as a team looking for the playoffs rather than the Stanley Cup. If that is what it takes to develop some very talented players and start putting together a title-contending team, I see absolutely no problem with it.
Would the Red Wings win the Western Conference with the proposed lineup? Probably not.
Does the aforementioned team have a very realistic shot at the 2013 playoffs? You bet.
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