More speculation on what the Red Wings might do to replace the retired Brian Rafalski.

DETROIT NEWS/DETROIT FREE PRESS/MLIVE.COM: reported on the Red Wings need to replace the retired Brian Rafalski, but noted there aren’t many viable options available in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. The best of this year’s bunch includes “Kevin Bieksa, Christian Ehrhoff and Sami Salo of Vancouver; James Wisniewski, Andrei Markov and Roman Hamrlik of Montreal; Ian White and Niclas Wallin of San Jose; Eric Brewer of Tampa Bay; Joni Pitkanen of Carolina; Tomas Kaberle of Boston; Ed Jovanovski of Phoenix; Scott Hannan of Washington and Bryan McCabe of the New York Rangers.”  It’s possible GM Ken Holland could wait until August to sign a low-tier free agent, and he said he’s not about to just throw money at people on July 1st. Holland also suggested some of those potential UFAs might not be available by July 1st. The Wings however did get some potentially good news, as team captain Nicklas Lidstrom was recently spotted engaged in a serious workout, suggesting he may be preparing to return for another season.

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports Holland expressed his reluctance to pursue restricted free agents via offer sheets, something he’s never done before, which rules out the possibility of his pursuing Nashville’s Shea Weber, LA’s Drew Doughty, Phoenix’s Keith Yandle and Atlanta’s Zach Bogosian, though of the three the latter could be available via trade.

SPORTING NEWS: Craig Custance reports Nashville Predators GM David Poile said he’ll match an offer for Weber, effectively ruling out the possibility of the blueliner being pried away from the Predators via offer sheet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve previously dismissed the possibility of Holland chasing other club’s restricted free agent blueliners so I’m not surprised that he’s casting doubt on employing that tactic. Also not surprised to hear the Preds would match any offer for Weber. The Wings have to find a suitable replacement for Rafalski and I believe Holland will consider his options carefully come July 1st. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a trade, though I doubt Jiri Hudler and/or Valtteri Filppula would land a quality blueliner. If Christian Ehrhoff, Kevin Bieksa, or Andrei Markov are available by July 1st, I think Holland will vigorously pursue them.

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13 Responses to Latest on the Red Wings – May 26, 2011.

  1. Buffbry says:

    i still say trade for Ladislav Smid from Edmonton and Sign Pitkanen and your D will be fine!!! and we might not offer a RFA a contract but theres no rule against trading for 1 and signing one.. bogosian bogosian bogosian!

  2. Bickleton Wigglesworth III says:

    Khan is high if he thinks Lombardi would trade doughty.

  3. DurtMCHurt says:

    Buffbry, Im not gonna knock you for wanting Bogosian, but I doubt he’s available. With a pending move to Winnipeg, the new owners will likely not want draft picks or prospects. They will want to ice an exciting team now. Fact is Bogosian will sell jerseys, will anyone of the Redwings coming the other way? I doubt it. I don’t foresee a huge line in Winterpeg to buy Fillpula jerseys…he’s a good player….just sayin’.

  4. Buffbry says:

    i was obviously just having high hopes, the other guys are the more realistic guys to go after. but if you can get bogo i say do it

  5. Alex says:

    Ehrhoff and Bieksa are staying. Gillis has the money cause Luongo goes from 10 to 6 million and dumping salo alberts and torres is enough money. Wings are getting too old thy need pitkanen

  6. Alex says:

    They*

  7. tuxedoTshirt says:

    @ Alex:
    Luongo’s cash number does not affect his cap number. The average is the same.
    Regardless, you are right. Bieksa and Ehrhoff are a sure thing to stay. But there is no need to let Torres go. Alberts and Salo cannot be signed. But,
    -Higgins at 1.5
    -Torres at 1
    -Hansen at 1.25
    -Glass at 750k
    -Lapierre at 1.25 = 6mil
    …..this still leaves 10.5 million to sign Ehrhoff and Bieksa which i am sure is more than enough to retain 2 guys that totally love the nucks. I guess Torres will be the odd man out if there is hard ball played, but obviously these 2 amazing D are going to be prioritized and retained.

  8. James says:

    @tuxedotshirt

    You must be a VAN fan. Congrats btw on having the best team in hockey this year. I do, however, think that your estimation of VAN cap mobility is overstated.
    Higgins is a young (27) second line forward who made $1.6 million this year. I will bet my house that he doesn’t sign with VAN next year for $1.5 million. (I would guess more like $2-2.5 million/year)
    Similarly Torres had one of his better years as a pro (certainly best in the last few years) and made $1 million this year. (He should also move up in pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 million)
    That leaves Glass and RFA’s Lapierre and Hansen with slight raises. These are valuable 3rd or 4th line guys that gave VAN such amazing depth this year and teams will line up to pluck these guys.
    I believe that VAN could re-sign most (if not all) of those players but I really don’t think they are going to keep all or most of them and Ehrhoff and Bieksa both. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they lost both Ehrhoff and Bieksa and re-signed Salo at a lower price and went into next season with Salo/Edler as their top pair of D-men. The $4 million/year that Ballard is making till 2015 is a millstone for them. Ballard and Hamuis would be their second pair. Not as good as this year but not terrible either.

  9. Bern16 says:

    Higgins will not be 1.5 after July 1.

  10. Cowtown75 says:

    I don’t honestly know why any GM would invest In Markov as a solid solution let alone Holland. Markov has only one full season, and two that fairly close in his 9 seasons in the league. The man has talent, don’t get me wrong, what what good is talent if you are not playing because you are consistantly injury prone. and at a 5.75 mill cap hit, it seems like a shakey investment. Mind you, I know he is UFA right now so we don’t know what his hit will be in the near future- but I’ll bet his agent will be fishing for the same money, which may land him in the KHL. I honestly wouldn’t invest more than a solid 4 mill with incentives. If I was Holland, I put my focus on Wisniewski~ thats if MTL doesnt sign him first.

  11. Cowtown75 says:

    * sorry- I meant- BUT what good is talent if you are not playing…

  12. Aj says:

    Your right CowTown. Wiz is probably the best replacement that the Wings can get for Rafalski who has a lot of miles left and is hitting his prime. He’ll come affordable too which means that they should have a bit of left over money from the $6 million Rafalski left on the table.

  13. tuxedoTshirt says:

    Look guys, i get what you’re saying about Higgins, Torres, Lapierre. But these are guys that were well on their way to washing out of the league. It seems very likely to me that know all too well the difference between being on a good team and stinking on a stinker. Anyone who’s been on 3-4 teams in 2 years, then goes deep into the playoffs, is likely to think twice about a half mill.

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