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Jimmy Howard on free agents coming to Detroit: “If they want to be a Red Wing, they will be.”

Jun 17, 2012, 1:46 PM EDT

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Olli Jokinen, Jimmy Howard AP

For the first time in a long time the Wings have a lot of cap room and they’re looking at a few needs. Nicklas Lidstrom‘s retirement makes them weaker on defense and with the perpetual banged up nature of their forward unit, they could use some help there too.

Wings goalie Jimmy Howard tells Bob Duff of the Windsor Star GM Ken Holland’s approach to potential future Wings should be pretty simple.

Still, they must try, but Howard wasn’t interested in speculating on the route the team might take to do so. “That’s (GM) Kenny (Holland) and (assistant GM) Jim Nill’s department,” said Howard, who didn’t plan to become actively involved in the process by reaching out and calling any potential unrestricted free agents that the team might pursue. “I don’t feel like it’s up to somebody making phone calls. If they want to be a Red Wing, they will be.”

Must be nice to have that ace up your sleeve in negotiations.

“Would you like to join a team that’s made the playoffs every year for the last 20 or so years?”

The Wings will be in on guys like Ryan Suter and Zach Parise should they hit free agency on July 1. They’ll also have to navigate a minefield of potential free agents should they miss out on either or both of those guys. Maybe not sweating free agent summer is best for anyone’s sanity in Detroit.

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