Detroit Red Wings: Winning Surpasses Salary Cap

Henry DyckSenior Analyst IJuly 3, 2008

Recently I wrote an article breaking down what kind of offseason Detroit fans can expect from their beloved Red Wings. In a nutshell, I predicted that it would be of standard fair, devoid of any drama.

Boy was I wrong.

When I first caught wind that Marian Hossa agreed to a one-year, $7.4M deal I was downright shocked. At least I wasn't alone, as the general manager of the Wings, Ken Holland, expressed similar emotions.

"I was caught way off-guard,'' Holland said. "Shocked, was my initial reaction.''

In fact, Holland was resigned to the fact that the door had closed on the five-time All-Star when he received a phone call from Hossa's agent, Rich Winter, while filling up at a local gas station.

With other clubs such as the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, and Pittsburgh Penguins offering multi-year deals that ranged from $7M to $9M per year, Hossa set the hockey world on its ear with his decision to sign with the Wings, at a reduced rate, and for only one season no-less.

Before this transpired several fans accused Hossa of being a mercenary, letting his wallet make decisions for him. These accusations were based on his unwillingness to resign with the Penguins after they offered him a reported seven-year deal worth $49M.

Many pondered why a player, in his prime, would not want to spend the next seven years playing alongside two of the league's arguably most gifted centers, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Or how he could leave a team that was two games away from winning the Stanley Cup.

It turns out they were grossly mistaken on what drives the Slovakian star. Signing with the Wings for only one year and for far less, he's proven that winning the Cup is his only motivation.

Holland has said that it's his wish to re-sign Marian to a long-term deal. With Henrik Zetterberg, Nick Lidstrom, Valtteri Filppula, and Johan Franzen up for new contracts in the next two summers, it'll be interesting to see how Hossa might fit in financially.

A player such as Filppula may be jettisoned to make room; certainly a troubling preposition. The rise or fall of the current salary cap will play a major role in what moves might be necessary to keep all of Detroit's talented players together.

For now, however, Wings fans should rejoice in the coup that Holland has commandeered. Once again the league has taken notice that you can place a monetary limit on team spending, but the value of winning is priceless.