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As of yesterday, the Wings have their captain and top defenseman back on a 1 year deal. Though I would have been happier to see him sign between 4.5 and 5.5 million, I am excited for his return and what I believe will be his final season in the NHL. The reason I wanted to see Lidstrom sign for less is simply to clear up some cap space for when July 1st rolls around. I don’t want to see the Wings fall in the same direction of resigning Holmstrom, Maltby, Lebda and Williams. There was a reason why the Red Wings could not make it through the 2nd round and it needs to be corrected.
Among the 4 current Red Wings that are Unrestricted Free Agents this summer, the player I would like to see without a contract offer from the Wings is Brett Lebda. I believe the Red Wings need to focus on the future of their defense with players like Lidstrom and Rafalski approaching retirement. To replace Brett Lebda, my dream would be for the wings to pursue Defenseman Anton Volchenkov (currently a UFA of the Ottawa Senators.) Volchenkov is an outstanding shot blocker, something I find to be crucial when you are starting a young goalie. The Wings were outshot far too much, seemed strange to see because we here in Detroit aren’t too familiar with that.
Though it would be sad to see, I am hoping that Ken Holland does not offer contracts to Tomas Holmstrom and Kirk Maltby. I have grown up with these two forwards being red wings for as long as i’ve watched hockey and it would be strange to see them go BUT I don’t feel that a good team is one that feels the need to cater to players that have spent most of their careers in one city. Depending on how the Wings are looking financially on July 1st and depending on how much the NHL salary cap increases. I believe that Ruslan Fedotenko would be a great fit for our organization, despite his latest stint in Shittsburg…i mean Pittsburg. Another good fit for the wings offense would be current Tampa Bay Lightning Alex Tanguay.
Another hot topic in the Wings organization as of lately is Steve Yzerman’s departure to Tampa Bay to become the General Manager of the Lightning. I’ve heard plenty of mixed opinions on his new career, thanks mostly to 97.1 The Ticket. Mostly I have heard that Red Wings fans are proud of Steve and wish him all the best, then there are those that are against his decision. I was stunned to hear some people go as far as calling Steve a “traitor” and even one man suggested the removal of Steve Yzerman’s retired number in the Joe Louis Arena rafters. I for one am very proud and excited about Yzerman’s new career. The fact that he would like to remain in the NHL and pursue a dream is not something we should be mad at him about. This is almost as irrelevant as Red Wings fans hating him for hugging Crosby after the gold medal game of the Olympics. Best case scenario, Steve Yzerman learns a lot while managing my second favorite NHL team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and he returns to Detroit when Ken Holland is ready to hang it up.
My feelings for the 2010-2011 season are actually pretty good. Why you might ask? Simply because I would not expect the Chicago Blackhawks to remain as a top threat in the West, Stanley Cup or not. The hawks are keeping their core of Kane and Toews around but much like the Red Wings in ‘09, they’re going to need to let go of some people to clear up some cap space. San Jose is still San Jose and cursed apparently. But in all seriousness, the sharks have an important off season this summer. Some key free agents for the Sharks this off season include Patrick Marleau, Rob Blake, Evgeni Nabokov. Restricted Free Agents include Joe Pavelski and Devin Setoguchi. The price for Pavelski is going up, no doubt about that. Makes me wish the Red Wings had room to squeeze him in but we all know that’s impossible.
Love my wings, let me know what you think!