Zach Parise, and more importantly, Ryan Suter, chose Minnesota over Detroit. It's done. It's over. Can't change it. Time to move on. Regardless if the decisions were strictly based on family, or if Kenny low-balled them (Suter did get $8MM more from the Wild), or a combo meal, what's done is done. The Red Wings still have glaring holes in the lineup, especially on defense, that must be filled in order to even entertain thoughts of being a serious contender or, gulp, make the playoffs. Moves must be made. Ken Holland and Co. will make the necessary moves to keep the Red Wings among the elite...won't they?
It's obvious the Wings' brass were putting all of their eggs in Ryan Suter's basket. They must have been pretty confident he would sign. Well, he didn't and the plan B (Wideman), C (Garrison), and D (Carle) all signed elsewhere and it appears The Red Wings did not make any attempts to hedge their bets. According to all the internet rumors leading up to July 1, their name was rarely mentioned with anyone but Suter or Parise. Maybe it was because they felt Suter was the only player worthy of big time cash. Be it as it may, they have a boatload of cash to shop with and the store is picked over. They are indeed in a tough spot that will take creativity to get out of. Maybe the rumblings of possible trades for Yandle (preferred) or Bouwmeester (eh) are true. Perhaps they are working on a trade that will surprise us all. Whatever the case may be, something has to be done to bolster the once elite blue line that is now a black hole. Holland is normally very apprehensive to deal important roster players. He may no longer have a choice.
Parise was their secondary target and was probably a long shot to begin with. Fine. But the fact remains Babcock has screamed for help in the top 6 up front and he has not received it. He has made it obvious he craves a true scorer to play with Datsyuk. Sorry, Samuelsson and Tootoo are not going to cut it and Brunner is very much unproven. One of the teams biggest flaws last year was its inconsistent powerplay, scoring, and clutch goal scoring. Nothing has been done as of yet to say with any confidence this will not be the case next year. The competition will be heavy for Shane Doan (and some team will probably be willing to "overspend" unlike Holland) and Semin appears to be heading to Pittsburgh depending on what you read. After those two are gone there is really nothing left on the market via free agency. There have been rumors that the Wings may trade for Bobby Ryan or Rick Nash. Had they secured a top-pairing defenseman they may have had that luxury. I would think that if Kenny is going to part with big pieces of the roster, it will be for a defenseman. The best bet would be to "overspend" for Doan or Semin but that is not Kenny's style. Once again, is there really a choice here?
The last outcome could be that Ken Holland once again will hoard the cash and wait for the trade deadline and/or next summer's free agency. This will be tough to swallow because that is exactly what he did last year which did not sit very well with many fans. God only knows how people will react if that is what Kenny will try to sell to the media come late summer/fall. "There was not a fit" probably will not be acceptable this year.
The bottom line is the same team that got bounced in 5 games in the first round has gotten tangibly worse mostly because of the retirement of Nick Lidstrom. The team has more money available than they have had in years and failed to bring in the big fish. It is time to be creative, and above all aggressive. The perception is already that Holland is being too passive and has already had a disaster of an offseason. He definitely has time to change that perception with a couple of bold moves even if he must "overpay." From some of the comments he has recently said to the media, I am getting more and more nervous there will not be any bold moves. However, I keep telling myself that we should be patient and have faith in a GM that has been one of the most successful in all of sports. I keep saying that he will surprise us all and do what is necessary to keep the Wings among the elite. We have to believe he will do SOMETHING...right? If not, the Red Wings will truly be a mediocre hockey team for the first time in over two decades. Mediocre is not something that is accepted in Detroit. We may have to prepare ourselves to accept it for at least one year. Stay tuned...