NHL Rumors: Which Forward Should the Detroit Red Wings Try to Sign or Trade For?
The Detroit Red Wings have had a busy offseason. One of the greatest defensemen ever, Nicklas Lidstrom, announced his retirement from the NHL. Fellow blueliner Brad Stuart left in free agency to join the San Jose Sharks and Jiri Hudler signed on with the Calgary Flames.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland was able to add Jordin Tootoo, Mikael Samuelsson, Damien Brunner and Jonas Gustavsson to the Red Wings' roster. However, the biggest free agents of 2012, Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, both signed long-term deals with the Minnesota Wild.
With just over $53 million committed to their roster in 2012-13, the Red Wings still have $16 million in cap space. Obviously the priority is to add a defenseman, but star blueliners like Keith Yandle and Shea Weber may not be available for some time.
With that in mind, the Red Wings still have enough cap space to add an elite forward through free agency or trade.
Shane Doan, UFA
The future of the Phoenix Coyotes remains up in the air as Greg Jamison continues to try to purchase the team with the intention of keeping it in Glendale.
Doan initially set a deadline of July 9 to begin making his decision on whether to re-sign with the only franchise he’s ever known, or move on. He pushed that back to July 16, although USA Today reports that there is no deadline.
At age 35, the veteran forward still has plenty to offer physically and offensively. Doan scored 22 goals and 28 assists for 50 points in 79 games last season. He also recorded 205 hits, 27 blocked shots and 48 takeaways.
Doan would bring passion and leadership to Detroit, where he could be a second line player.
Alexander Semin, UFA
According to The Fourth Period, the Red Wings have shown interest in signing Semin. Although at this point it’s impossible to know what to expect from the 28-year-old Russian.
Alexander Semin has the talent and potential to be a star in the NHL. Yet, his stats have been less than impressive the last two seasons, despite being surrounded by skilled forwards like Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin.
Could playing on a different team alongside a different pair of elite players like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg be motivation for Semin? That is a question Ken Holland has likely been pondering for some time.
Semin made $6.7 million last season on a one-year contract. With Detroit’s cap space, it couldn’t hurt to offer Semin a one- or two-year contract, the problem is he may want a long-term deal.
Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets
In 2009 Rick Nash and the Blue Jackets made their first and only playoff appearance to date and they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings in the first round. Now, according to The Columbus Dispatch (via bluejacketsxtra.com), the Red Wings are one of six teams on Nash’s approved list.
The other five teams include the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks. The Rangers are the only other team that has significant cap space, with $15.1 million available to spend.
Nash, age 28, has spent his entire career in Columbus putting up solid numbers for a team that's lacked another skilled forward. Last season Nash scored 30 goals and 29 assists for 59 points in 82 games. He also brings a physical presence to each game, having registered at least 90 hits in each of the last three seasons.
Nash is under contract through the 2017-18 NHL season, with a cap hit of $7.8 million per year. The main reason a deal has not gotten done yet is because the asking price is simply too high. The latest report from TSN states that Columbus is seeking NHL calibre forwards in return for Nash.
With that in mind, don’t be surprised if Nash remains in Columbus through training camp.
Bobby Ryan, Anaheim Ducks
Drafted 2nd overall in 2005, Ryan is only 25 years old, which makes him the best long-term option for Holland and the Red Wings.
Ryan has been a consistent offensive force for the Ducks, scoring 30 goals in each of the last four seasons. Last season he racked up 31 goals and 26 assists for 57 points in 82 games while averaging over 18 minutes in ice time. Ryan also showed his physical side, recording 113 hits and 24 blocked shots.
Ryan is under contract through 2014-15 with a cap hit of only $5.1 million. That means the Red Wings could still have around $10 million in cap space depending on who they trade to Anaheim.