When the Detroit Red Wings lost to the Nashville Predators Friday night, it was the end of more than a playoff series. The Wings lost in the first round of the playoffs for only the fifth time in the last 21 seasons, and yes, they made the playoffs all 21 times. At the start of the next season this team will be five years removed from their most recent Stanley Cup, with the last three years being early exits from the playoffs. While many franchises would kill for this success, it is not enough, not in Detroit. I have a few offseason needs that I would love to see happen, and if they were to happen it would make the Red Wings one of the favorites next year. The team has cap space and GM Ken Holland decided against using it to make a move at the trade deadline this year. That move will now pay it’s dividends this offseason, allowing Holland, who is one of the best GM’s in all of sports, to work his magic. These are my needs in order of importance.
1. Sign Ryan Suter – Nick Lidstrom is aging and may only have one season left in him. Suter is in the prime of his career and is a physical defensmen who can immediately step in and take over the void Lidstrom leaves, if he does retire.
2. Nick Lidstrom paycut – He is without a doubt one of the best three defensemen to ever play the game and there is no arguing that. However, he turns 42 next week and although his production is still solid, he is no longer a $7 million player. I would over him one year at $3.5 million and if he doesn’t take it, I’d let him walk. Sports is a business and the extra money is absolutely necessary.
3. Sign Zach Parise – Holland will need that money here. It is no secret Parise and Suter want to sign in the same place, so why not Detroit? Parise is a skilled and tough forward who will add more punch to the offense that was exposed in the Nashville series. Parise needs to be a Wing next year.
4. Trade Hudler and Filppula – Don’t get me wrong, I like both of these players. They play both ways and are solid forwards who play well within the Wings system. The downside is they both make $3.5 million and $7 million is too much money for almost no production. They are relatively young so they will have good trade value and we can get some good draft picks for them.
5. More Gustav Nyquist – I came away very impressed with Nyquist’s performance this season and in the playoffs. He is, in my opinion, the best young guy the Wings have and should be a full time NHLer. He played very well and was extremely productive when he was paired up with Datsyuk this season and I want to see more of them together next year.
6. Less Tomas Holmstrom – I love Tomas Holmstrom. He has been a staple of Red Wings hockey for the entire length of his tenure in Detroit. He made his living taking abuse in front of the other teams net, and I still believe he can do that, but that is all he has left to contribute. He was never a skilled guy and he is always a step behind everyone on the ice. He isn’t getting any younger so, as much as it sucks to see, I would like to see his role reduced drastically again.
Author: Wil Hunter