Check out the latest on possible off-season moves for the Detroit Red Wings.
DETROIT NEWS: Gregg Krupa believes the Red Wings only real need is another goal-scorer. He noted the best potentially available free agent is Dallas’ Brad Richards but he’d have to accept considerably less than his current $7.8 million per season salary to play for Detroit. Krupa considers the best free agents fits could be Marco Sturm, Radim Vrbata and Brooks Laich, with Laich the best of the three.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James reports GM Ken Holland wants to “tweak” his roster for next season, but even with the potential increase in the salary cap next season the Wings would have to move some salary to bring in a quality player, and listed Valtteri Filppula and Jiri Hudler, both 27 and in the final years of their contracts, as “the biggest attractions”, and of the two, management would have a tough time parting with Filppula, given his play in Games 6 and 7 against the Sharks. St. James also reports the Wings hope to re-sign pending UFAs Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller, while Jan Mursak could join the lineup next season and replace Kris Draper. She also doubts UFA blueliner Jonathan Ericsson will be back. Jakub Kindl is expected to be a regular next season and could replace Ruslan Salei. Backup goalie Chris Osgood would like to return but they’d have to gauge taking a risk on a veteran goalie who missed the second half of the season to hernia surgery.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports changes are inevitable this off-season for the Red Wings, as their defense needs re-tooling, likely through free agency or a trade. Khan also expected Nicklas Lidstrom to return next season for the same salary – $6.2 millon – he earned this season, and wondered if Holland might try to acquire Atlanta’s Zach Bogosian via trade, not an offer sheet. He considers Hudler the most likely trade candidate but wondered if they might also shop Filppula.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika reports former Dallas Star and current Red Wings Mike Modano acknowledged his playing days are probably over, saying he’d love to work for the Stars organization, though the ownership situation clouds that issue.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hudler was a disappointment for the Wings this season, but Filppula probably has more trade value. Still, Holland would probably prefer to shop the former and retain the latter. Laich would be a good fit with the Wings but one shouldn’t assume he’ll bolt the Capitals. Vrbata seems happy in Phoenix and the Coyotes might try to re-sign him, but I’m not sure if he’d be a good fit with the Wings. Forget about Sturm, for as talented as he is as a two-way forward, his injury history doesn’t make him a reliable acquisition. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lidstrom agrees to return for another season. Currently the Wings have over $46.8 million invested in 15 players, and if the cap goes up to around $63 million as predicted that’ll give Holland over $15 million to invest in affordable re-signings and acquisitions. Don’t expect a major shake-up of the Wings, as there’s not need for that, but there will be some changes.