Hossa to the Red Wings: Which Franchise Would You Rather Be Now?

Daniel MuthSenior Analyst IJuly 3, 2008

Shortly after the Detroit Red Wings had dispatched the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup finals, there was some debate on this forum regarding which program had the brightest future: the Pens or the Wings.

Now some of you very adroitly pointed out that the Pens had wrapped up some nice young talent, and seemed poised for the future.  Others resented my insistence that Detroit’s masterful front office would always keep the Wings loaded with talent. 

I also pointed out that players generally will come to Detroit for less money intent on winning a cup.

Well, not to say I told you so, but...

Marian Hossa, has been pilfered from the Penguins and now plays for the Red Wings.  Hossa inked a one-year, $7.4 million deal that has effectively removed Pittsburgh’s second best playoff performer and added him to the already formidable Detroit arsenal. Imagine this:

Line one: Zetterburg, Datsyuk, Holmstrum

Line two: Hossa, Filppula, Franzen

I think I heard a collective shudder ripple through the rest of the NHL.

In the mean time, Detroit is also wrapping up their own free agents such as defenseman Brad Stuart, who just inked a four-year $15 million deal.

Hossa had declared that he would take less money to play for Pittsburgh, but they must’ve completely low-balled him. 

That’s the problem with handing out long-term money to a trio of young players under the new (though ever-expanding) cap situation.  It hog-ties your ability to sign other complementary players. 

Edmonton was reported to be offering him a nine-year $9 million deal that would have ensured his fabulous wealth, but not necessarily the Stanley Cup Trophy.

In the end he took less money to come to the Wings, which is what many players have done.  Detroit offered him a fair wage (captain Lidstrom makes about the same) and the opportunity to play for the best-run hockey organization in recent times. 

Oh yes, and all that talent around him will certainly make him an appealing free agent next year too.

Hossa and the Wings want to work on a long-term deal after next season, which means the Wings are getting better, and the Pens just got worse.

Stanley Cup hangover?  I don’t think so. 

Detroit has just added another talented player hungering for a taste of the trophy, and has smacked the rest of the league with the proverbial gauntlet, putting all on notice. 

Free agency and an active front office allows the Wings to be more than three great young players.  They maintain a flexible enough cap situation to secure available talent and success, year in and year out.