Red Wings

No Matter the Result of this Year’s Playoffs, the Red Wings Must rebuild in 2013/14

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red wings

I am a hockey outsider. I have never set foot inside a rink to play a game. I have only ever been on ice skates twice. Most of you may use these facts to discredit me, however I believe this gives me a clearer perspective on the subject. I am not wearing red and white glasses. I am willing to force feed you the medicine that you must take as a fan base, after all you need it so very badly.

I have heard time and time again that “We are the Red Wings, we don’t rebuild”. I hate to break it to you Red Wings fans, you play in a salary cap sport.  A franchise has to be burnt to the ground at some point and come back stronger, it is just the nature of the beast. The Red Wings have been the exception to the rule for over two decades. Do not think that they are something special, rather they have just been very lucky for a generation of hockey.

I am willing to argue with you players like Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk were more luck of the draw. If Ken Holland really knew that they were going to be as good as they are, why did he wait for 170 and 209 players to be taken before them in their draft years? Were they really the best kept secret in each draft, or just guys that the Red Wings happened to pick late in the draft and get lucky on?

Here’s the thing about professional sports scouting. If one organization has a prospect on the radar, every other organization knows that you’re a prospect and will in turn take a look at you as well. If the Red Wings were the only ones who saw something, and therefore knew that they would still be around at the end of the draft, that more means that the rest of hockey front offices are filled with dumb asses.

The reason that the Red Wings were so successful was that they changed the game. They were the fast and stick skilled team for the longest time while the rest of hockey was still stuck in the 90’s where you went to a hockey game and a boxing match broke out. The rest of the league was filled with thugs, and the Red Wings just laughed and skated around them to score. News flash, the rest of the league has come on to your style because it worked. However, the Red Wings are old and slow, trying to play the fast man’s game. If the Red Wings don’t get younger and faster, they will turn into that team that will be left in the ice shavings of players like Ovechkin, Crosby, and Giroux.

The Red Wings as all of you know are moving to the Eastern Conference for the 2013/14 season and this will need to bring upon massive change to the organization. As you have likely seen that the Eastern Conference has a much different makeup than the Western Conference. The current Western Conference is dominated by gritty veterans and marginal young talent who provide the physical presence (with the exception of the Blackhawks who are loaded with young talent). The Eastern conference is entirely flipped. The East has lots of young offensive talent, and the veterans provide the physical presence. The Red Wings are old, slow, and not terribly physical. Of course somebody will get “Kronwalled” every once in a while, but there is no one to protect the talent from the frequent attacks from veteran thugs that dot the Eastern Conference. You can get away with not carrying your own thug by being faster, just like they were in the early 2000’s. In order to do that, you must get younger.

On Defense, they already have six players who were regular contributors under contract for the 2013/14 season as well as two restricted free agents that will receive offers from the team. The defense has really grown during the season, and keeping the band together will likely be the recipe, especially because there is little to no organizational depth in the minors that will be able to contribute during next season.

Player

13/14 Age

Position

13/14

14/15

15/16

Ian White

29

Defense

UFA

Jakub Kindl

27

Defense

RFA

Brendan Smith

25

Defense

RFA

Niklas Kronwall

33

Defense

$6,000,000

$6,000,000

$6,000,000

Kyle Quincey

28

Defense

$4,000,000

UFA

Jonathan Ericsson

30

Defense

$3,250,000

UFA

Carlo Colaiacovo

31

Defense

$2,850,000

UFA

Danny DeKeyser

24

Defense

$925,000

RFA

Brian Lashoff

24

Defense

$650,000

$675,000

$850,000

Total Salaries

$17,675,000

$6,675,000

$6,850,000

I would consider offering Jonathan Ericsson and extension during the offseason, before he gets very expensive. Offering Ericsson something in the range of 4 or 5 years at 5 million per would likely get the job done. Don’t tell me Wing Nuts that he’s not that good, because he will get at least that much on the open market. Quincey has to do it for me one more season, because he was brutal after the 2012 trade, but was stellar during this past season. Before I commit money to him long term, I have to make sure he won’t tank on me again. Smith and Kindl have to receive offers that will keep them in town. They are both very talented with the puck, and you just can’t let that go. The current group is full of great skaters there is no reason to shed any of them. The Colaiacovo contract isn’t a good one, but it only hurts you for one more year.

Name

Position

13/14 Age

Acquired

12/13 Level

Hockey’s Future Rating

ETA to DET

Ryan Sproul

Defense

21

Round 2: 55 Overall in 2011

CHL

7.0/10

2-3 years

Xavier Ouellet

Defense

21

Round 2: 48 Overall in 2011

CHL

7.0/10

2-3 Years

Mattias Backman

Defense

22

Round 5: 146 Overall in 2011

SEL

6.5/10

2-4 Years

Adam Almquist

Defense

23

Round 7: 210 Overall in 2009

AHL

6.5/10

1-2 Years

Nick Jensen

Defense

23

Round 5: 150 Overall in 2009

NCAA

6.5/10

2-3 Years

The Red Wings only have two marginal prospects on defense who are both at least 2 years away from being ready to suit up for the Wings. Keeping the guys you have will be very important.

The Offense is a different story. Old and slow veterans like Mikael Samuelsson, Dan Cleary, Drew Miller, and Todd Bertuzzi have no place wearing the Winged Wheel into the future. None of them can seem to stay healthy for an extended period of time and don’t bring much to the table when they are. You have plenty of players within the system that can fill their roles for less money, and with more room to grow. Andersson and Nyquist will receive offers that will keep them in Detroit, which is good because they are young, fast, and two way players.

Damien Brunner is a head scratcher for me. He’s Juri Hudler all over again. Very offensively talented but absent minded on defense. Even though he’s a veteran by age, he only has one NHL season under his belt. Someone will offer way too much money, and the Red Wings would be wise to let him walk. Filppula is worth 3-4 million a season to me. He fits in with the team, but at the same time has so much unrecognized talent. A change of scenery would be good for his career and it is likely someone will offer him. If that’s the case, let him walk.

Player

13/14 Age

Position

13/14

14/15

15/16

Valtteri Filppula

30

Forward

UFA

Daniel Cleary

35

Forward

UFA

Damien Brunner

28

Forward

UFA

Drew Miller

30

Forward

UFA

Joakim Andersson

25

Forward

RFA

Gustav Nyquist

24

Forward

RFA

Henrik Zetterberg

33

Forward

$7,500,000

$7,500,000

$7,500,000

Pavel Datsyuk

35

Forward

$6,700,000

UFA

Johan Franzen

34

Forward

$5,000,000

$5,000,000

$5,000,000

Mikael Samuelsson

37

Forward

$3,000,000

UFA

Todd Bertuzzi

39

Forward

$2,175,000

UFA

UFA

Jordin TooToo

31

Forward

$2,000,000

$2,000,000

UFA

Darren Helm

27

Forward

$1,750,000

$1,750,000

$1,750,000

Justin Abdelkader

27

Forward

$1,550,000

$2,000,000

$2,250,000

Patrick Eaves

30

Forward

$1,200,000

UFA

Cory Emmerton

25

Forward

$550,000

RFA

Total Salaries

$31,425,000

$18,250,000

$16,500,000

I really like Tomas Tatar especially for his offensive game. Drunk Telly Tubby Riley Sheahan could be a nice player if he ever got it together. Pulkkinen is another interesting prospect because of his big frame, but is still several years away from playing in the Joe.

Name

Position

13/14 Age

Acquired

12/13 Level

Hockey’s Future Rating

ETA to DET

Tomas Tatar

Left Wing

24

Round 2: 60 Overall in 2009

AHL

7.5/10

1 Year

Calle Jarnkrok

Center

23

Round 2: 51 Overall in 2010

AHL

7.5/10

1-2 Years

Riley Sheahan

Center

23

1st Round: 21 Overall in 2010

AHL

7.0/10

1 Year

Teemu Pulkkinen

Right Wing

22

Round 4: 111 Overall in 2010

AHL

7.0/10

1-2 Years

Martin Fyk

Right Wing

21

Round 2: 49 Overall in 2012

CHL

7.0/10

2-3 Years

Tomas Jurco

Right Wing

22

Round 2: 35 Overall in 2011

AHL

7.0/10

1-2 Years

Jimmy Howard is a top 10 goalie, and therefore he is paid as such. Yes, he hasn’t won anything for you in the playoffs, but at the same time he hasn’t had the teams in front of him that Osgood had, who was an inferior talent to Howard.

Player

13/14 Age

Position

13/14

14/15

15/16

Jimmy Howard

30

Goaltender

$5,500,000

$6,000,000

$5,500,000

Jonas Gustavsson

29

Goaltender

$1,500,000

UFA

Total Salaries

$7,000,000

$6,000,000

$5,500,000

You’re stuck with Jimmy Howard. Like it or not, he is your goaltender for the next 4 seasons at least before someone would even consider taking that contract off your hands. Whichever prospect, Mrazek or McCollum will take over the backup role once Gustavsson’s contract expires.

Name

Position

13/14 Age

Acquired

12/13 Level

Hockey’s Future Rating

ETA to DET

Petr Mrazek

Goaltender

22

Round 5: 141 Overall in 2010

AHL

8.0/10

1 Year

Thomas McCollum

Goaltender

25

Round 1: 30 Overall in 2008

AHL

7.0/10

1 Year

If you have made it this far into the article, I am proud of you as an objective thinking Wings fan. Take it all in and bring your less objective Wings fans into the light. The Wings have to start getting some younger blood in the Joe. Datsyuk and Zetterberg are in the twilight of their careers and won’t be able to carry the load forever. Just make sure that there is someone there to take over when it is time for them to hang it up.

I’m ready for an interactive discussion. Follow me on twitter @TheMajorsDorf and we’ll argue it out. I’m expecting a lot of rage about this article, but I’m ready to beat it with logic.

About Dorf

Adam "Dorf" Waltersdorf is the Vice President of TMSNX and contributor across the entire Majors Sports Network. He is the Editor in Chief of the Majors East Lansing and an editor at The Majors Detroit and the The Majors Sports Network. He also is the Host of TMSNX's weekly Football podcast "Inside the Huddle" and on air personality for the weekly Detroit Sports Podcast "Motor City Uncut" and the weekly baseball podcast "The Sandlot Report".

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