Detroit remains a prime destination for NHL UFAs, and updates on Jonathan Ericsson and Joey MacDonald.
DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan reported the Red Wings continue to be a destination for free agents, despite the club’s poor playoff record the past two years, the perception the club is aging, and their arena is one of the oldest and least-comfortable in the league. Part of the reason is the Red Wings, despite the salary cap, are still willing to spend to win, while the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan loves hockey, which fits well into the “Hockeytown” marketing scheme. The Wings will be busy in this summer’s free agent market, hoping to find a replacement for Brian Rafalski, plus they could use another defenseman if Nicklas Lidstrom retires or free agent Jonathan Ericsson leaves.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: George Sipple reports Ericsson hopes to return with the Red Wings. He made it clear when the team was packing up for the off-season he wasn’t that keen to test this summer’s free agent market. Sipple also reported goalie Joey MacDonald hopes to remain with the Wings organization.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings are also a prime destination for free agents because, quite frankly, they’re the NHL’s class organization. For nearly two decades, the Red Wings have been either the top, or among the top, teams in the NHL standings. They’ve been to the Stanley Cup Final six times, winning the big mug four times. And while some of their key players are aging, others – like Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Jimmy Howard – are either in their prime or about to enter their prime. Little wonder then they remain arguably the most preferred destination for unrestricted free agents. As for Ericsson and MacDonald, the former could be back, but it remains to be seen if MacDonald fits into the Wings plans going forward. I doubt they’ll consider him as a backup for Howard, when this summer’s UFA market is full of experienced, affordable backups.