Monday, April 27, 2009

Can the Wings keep Hossa for the future?

I've had this discussion with a few people and the general feeling is that they won't be able to keep Hossa past the end of this season. Well I don't know.

One school of thought is that the Red Wings will call up some kids and give the ice time to players like Helm and Leino, and see who turns into the next Fillpula, or Hudler, or Zetterberg, etc. Another thought process is that the Red Wings could move a couple contracts out like Stuart and Cleary to free up around $5-6 million and give the money to Hossa for a long term deal. Well that's a nice thought but don't forget Zetterberg and Franzen have extensions kicking in.

Here's a look at who the Red Wings have under contract for next year and what they're making. (we don't know what the salary cap will be set at next season but its expected to be relatively the same as it is now) All the money is in terms of millions obviously.


Datsyuk $6.7
Zetterberg $6.1
Franzen $4
Filppula $3
Cleary $2.8
Holmstrom $2.2
Draper $1.6
Maltby $0.9
Helm $0.6


Lidstrom $7.5
Rafalski $6
Stuart $3.7
Kronwall $3
Lilja $1.2
Ericsson $0.9
Lebda $0.6
Meech $0.5


Osgood $1.4

So that's $52.4 million committed to 9 forwards, 8 defensman, and 1 goalie. At least 4 forwards are needed and 1 goalie to fill out the required 22 man roster (assuming Meech is sent to the minors and the Wings carry 7 and not 8 d-men) So going with what they've got, they have roughly $4 million dollars to spend on 5 roster spots.

Notable RFA's -

The Red Wings have two key restricted free agents they will most likely try to keep in the fold. First off Jiri Hudler, who posted 57 points and has developed into a really terrific player, and 2nd is Ville Leino, who has been impressive in his callups. He could be a cap casualty and get a 2-way deal to keep him off the books when he is in the minors.

Notable UFA's -

Besides the aforementioned Hossa, the Red Wings will probably be forced to let Mike Samuelsson walk, and possibly back up goalie Ty Conklin.

My guess is that the Red Wings offer Hudler a long term deal similar to that of Filppula and save some cash on him in a way that only the Red Wings seem to do. This will leave the Wings with somewhere around $1 million in cap space, and the only way I could see them keeping Hossa is by moving a lot of pieces around. Overall it doesn't make sense and logic dictates that with the Red Wings incredible track record at the draft they probably let Hossa go to free agency.

For fun here's a crazy way they could keep the superstar, involving the Toronto Maple Leafs:

First their roster if they let Hossa walk...

Hudler - Datsyuk - Holmstrom
Franzen - Zetterberg - Cleary
Leino - Filppula - (UFA or draftee)
Maltby - Draper - Helm/UFA or draftee

defense if fine. Now let's see if they make some moves with Toronto (for fun, if anyone rips into me you're an idiot)

Dan Cleary $2.8
Jiri Hudler (RFA seeking $3 mil)
Brad Stuart $3.7

to Toronto for

Matt Stajan $1.7
Nik Kulemin $1.5
Ian White $0.8

Detroit is getting some servicable players back and the trade breaks down like this. Cleary is moved for Stajan (Stajan posted over 50 points for Toronto this season). Although Stajan was slightly more productive, Dan Cleary is the gritty Red Wing with a little more value. Cleary is a typical 20-20 player.

Hudler for Kulemin. Hudler has been developing into a star and this is the tough part for the Red Wings. However Kulemin has been praised by everyone and was one of the bright spots on the Leafs roster. He is a 21 year old, potential sniper with a lot of upside. The Red Wings save some money for now and get a guy with lots of potential moving forward.

Stuart for Ian White. This part of the deal the Red Wings are dumping salary and getting a guy back who is a decent d-man. The Wings can still role Lidstrom-Rafalski-Kronwall as their big minute guys and use the feisty Ian White in the 4-6 role, all the while saving close to $3 million.

In total here the Red Wings save around $5.5 million, and could use the extra space to negotiate a spot for Hossa. Also in this situation the Wings would have around $4 million cap space already. Suppose they give Hossa around $6.5 million per season, they would have around $3 million to fill out 5 roster spots which is very doable.

Red Wings post Leafs trade:

Hossa - Datsyuk - Holmstrom
Franzen - Zetterberg - Kulemin
Stajan - Filppula - Leino
Maltby - Draper - Helm

Lidstrom - Rafalski
Kronwall - Ericsson
Lebda - White


Hope y'all enjoyed

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My favourite, Stud NHL Players

I don't know how interesting or relevant any of you will find this, but here is my bias list of the top 10 players in the game. And, no I won't include my hero Nik Antropov, and I'll try to not be bias as much as I can in making this list.

1. Alexander Ovechkin

AO combines size, speed, agility, toughness, scoring touch, and playmaking ability, making him the obvious number 1. I doubt anyone out there would disagree with this pick. What I like about Ovechkin is that he has the soft hands and creativity to beat a defensman one on one, but he's so hard to play because his preference is to typically freeze the defensman and take a shot. His shot is unreal. He can also skate right through an opposing player, a la Eric Lindros circa 1994.

2. Jarome Iginla

Might have put him a bit lower before these playoffs, but he's reminded me of how great he is. I didn't get a chance to watch a lot of Iggy this season, but when you watch a Flames game you realize how truly unbelievable this man is. He, like Ovechkin can change a game with a big hit or a big goal. He's rugged, but also has the speed and soft hands to walk out of the corner. Jarome Iginla has the make up of a blue collar kind of grinder, who scraps, with the talent of an NHL scoring champ. I love Jarome Iginla.

3. Niklas Lidstrom

Who should win the Norris trophy this year? Well a lot of people would argue Mike Green of Washington deserves it with his 30+ goals and 70+ points. But come playoff time, Green has been almost a non factor in the New York series, while the always amazing Niklas Lidstrom continues to run the show and control every game he plays in. Lidstrom could be argued as the #1 most valuable player in the league. His instincts are something that can't be taught and his skill is world class.

4. Roberto Luongo

First off, this guy is amazing. Second, he is consistant. There are lots of NHL goalies who have the ability to steal a game, but Luongo can do it almost nightly. Don't kid yourself, he is the reason Vancouver went on that unlikely run from playoff fringe team, to division champs. When he's on his game, which is pretty much always, he only gives up tip ins, or cross ice one-timers. His rebounds are controlled, and he blocks a lot of passes. He is a game changer.

5. Pavel Datsyuk

Consistant 90-100 point player. Consistant nominee for the Selke trophy as the games best defensive forward. How valuable is Datsyuk? Skill wise I would argue that he is the #1 most skilled player in the NHL. His hands and creativity are unmatched. And remarkably, for all his fanciness, he throws big hits! Unbelievable talent and unreal player, with the heart and drive of a champion. Who ever said Russian's don't care like Canadians do, hasn't seen Datsyuk.

6. Evgeni Malkin

Another Russian snipe show. When you lead the NHL in scoring, a year after finishing 2nd, its kind of hard to not be considered a top 10 guy in the league. Malkin combines size, speed, and skill to make him a threat to score all the time. To become a champion we'll need to see his compete level stay up when the going gets tough, as last year the defensive abilities of Datsyuk and Zetterberg turned Malkin into a non-factor in the Stanley Cup final. This years playoff will be a big test for the Russian, who has all the tools to be a champion.

7. Henrik Zetterberg

I can't believe I have to put him as low as 7th. This guy won the Conn Smythe trophy last year, and most people agree that even if Pittsburgh would have come back to beat Detroit, Zetterberg still would have been the playoffs MVP, he was just that much better than everyone else. Zetts had an off-year offensively this season (73 points, most players would kill to have that be an "off year"), and like his brother Datsyuk, Zetterberg is an elite defensive forward and Selke trophy winner, and consistant Selke nominee every year. He might just be the games best all around forward.

8. Sidney Crosby

Unreal playmaker and puck control guy. Crosby uses his speed, quick hands, and vision to accumulate points. He is a stats machine and is tough on the puck. He's a threat to score whenever he's on the ice. To become a champion he'll need to take a page out of the Steve Yzerman book and become a more complete player (see Zetterberg and Datsyuk). Crosby has all the tools to do it.

9. Henrik Lunqvist

Lunqvist doesn't buckle under pressure and makes unreal saves on a nightly basis. He's a human highlight reel in goal, and is steady as a rock. He gives a New York team a chance to win every night, despite the fact that they didn't have even one player reach 60 points this season (shout out to NYR's leading scorer Nik Antropov with 59 points). Lunqvist alone makes the Rangers a Stanley Cup dark horse this year.

10. Zdeno Chara

The big man! Zdeno's Bruins finished at the top of the Eastern conference and were nearly impossible to beat all season long. Chara logs huge minutes and combines offensive ability and great passing with sound defensive positioning and pure force on the back end. Hard to argue Zdeno Chara's place among the NHL elite has he leads his team deeper into the playoffs.