NHL Free Agency: Detroit Red Wings Roster Is Full, Is Ken Holland Done Dealing?
Though Detroit GM Ken Holland had a pile of money to spend on free agents this summer, here he sits, apparently ready to stand pat with $5 million burning a hole in his pocket.
The Wings have 23 players under contract who should, at least potentially, skate regular shifts in the NHL next season.
For some teams, such an accomplishment has yet to be achieved and getting a full roster, any roster, is what some GM's are feverishly trying to do.
For Holland, a full roster is just the beginning.
Ever the opportunist, Holland is undoubtedly making regular phone calls to his scouts, coaches, player agents and other GM's to feel what might be possible via a trade or free-agent signing later on this summer or into the season.
Though he's got a full roster under contract, this doesn't mean the roster as it is today is the one the Wings will start the season with.
But, as for free-agent options, Holland seems to be at a pause.
Known for making more than his fair share of blockbuster free-agent additions, this summer, Holland decided to bank on a couple of potential sleeper hits.
The additions of defenders Ian White and Mike Commodore may turn out to be brilliant or bunk, only time will tell.
Some, including Holland, would have liked to see the Wings land a big fish this summer, especially on the blueline as the retired Brian Rafalski leaves a large and important hole to fill.
As it turned out, big names like Kevin Bieksa, Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Richards never became options for Detroit.
Additionally, some of the also-ran free-agent targets asked for and received paydays above their market value and thus, far above what Holland was willing to spend.
Given the fact he's filled each position with money to spare, one has to think Holland is just a little antsier than he typically is this time of year.
Some would consider this an outstanding position to be in, and to be sure, Holland sees this spot as a good thing.
Still, for a man and a team that is used to spending right to the cap year after year, usually, with very good results, this has to be a strange time.
There are still some intriguing names available on the market, Teemu Selanne, Chris Drury and John Madden among them.
But, at this stage, these players may really be that and that alone, names.
With the exception of Selanne, who, at 41 is still pumping in 30-plus goals a season and will likely never leave Anaheim unless it is to retire, any free agent Holland signs now is going to be of the "high risk" variety.
As such, it seems reasonable to assume that, at least for now, Holland is continuing to explore roster options, but is not likely to make any more moves in the very near future.
Should an intriguing trade scenario emerge, he'll have the cash and the assets to make a splash, but as of now, it would appear that Holland's free-agent spending is over.
Once training camp starts, however, there could be quite a bit of pressure put on players who are expected to start earning the new contracts they've signed.
Because they know that, up in the press box there's going to be a GM who isn't used to standing pat with $5 million bucks burning a hole in his pocket.
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Also, tune in to the Knee Jerks Radio Show on the Sports Geeks Radio Network (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mkesportsgeeks) on Monday, July 25th at 7pm EST to hear me talk all things Red Wings with Greg Eno and Big Al Beaton!
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