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Detroit GM: “I’d rather go with our kids”

Jul 5, 2012, 11:01 AM EDT

Ken Holland Getty Images

Yesterday, we asked what the Detroit Red Wings could do to address their defense after failing to land Ryan Suter. Our conclusion? The options are limited.

On top of that, one of those options was Matt Carle, who’s since signed with Tampa Bay. The two others we mentioned were Jay Bouwmeester and Shea Weber, both of whom would take considerable assets to pry them away from their respective teams. Particularly the latter.

A disappointed Wings GM Ken Holland addressed his team’s conundrum.

“Our focus going back to last year was to be positioned for this summer,” he said, as per the Detroit Free Press. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to add a high-profile player or two. But I think we have a lot of good pieces in place, and we have some players ready to take bigger roles. We’ll explore the marketplace. We’ll explore trading. We’ll move on.”

On his reluctance to pay a guy like Carle $33 million over six years: “I’d rather go with our kids. I think we can compete. Are we going to win the Presidents’ Trophy? No, but you don’t have to anymore.”

True, but you still have to have good players to win the Stanley Cup, and on paper the Wings don’t have enough of them on the back end.

Holland knows that, which is why he went hard after Suter with a reported $90 million offer. Would Wings fans feel better if the GM had signed Carle to a contract with a $5.5 million cap hit? Maybe some, but certainly not all.

“This is the NHL of today,” Holland said. “I keep telling people and they don’t want to believe it: It’s a level playing field.”

Related: Columnist claims Red Wings are “no longer the chosen ones” in NHL

  1. dangle13x - Jul 5, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    Semin. Put him with Pav and look out.

    • mickeyb21 - Jul 5, 2012 at 11:20 AM

      Even if that happens (big if for him coming and playing well), wings lost 2 big time D-men. Haven’t been replaced yet. Wings did not do well replacing Lidstrom last year when he was hurt, how will he be replaced now? Not high contenders at this point in the off-season.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 5, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      That would be a scary idea. It would help bring the Wings back into relevance too. Maybe Holland could make a bid for Weber’s services?

  2. 3yardsandacloud - Jul 5, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    This is not a real tough situation. Sure, you need to improve the defense. I like Brendan Smith to step up and take a big role this year. I also like the possibility of trading for Jay Boumeester and if you can send Ericsson to Calgary in that deal, we will greatly improve our back end.

    I think signing Semin would be a great move and I think Datsyuk would keep him motivated and teach him how to play DRW hockey. Washington was a pretty toxic environment, so I’m not sure Semin can be ruled a bust. I doubt Columbus would deal Nash to Detroit, regardless of what they say. I also doubt Nashville would deal Weber to Detroit. That said, unless he signs an extension, Weber is a free agent next off-season, just go hard after him them. Alternatively, sign him to an offer sheet and force Nashville’s hand. I’d give up 3 picks for Weber.

    • mickeyb21 - Jul 5, 2012 at 12:01 PM

      I heard that Nashville wants teams to offer sheet Weber. If he signs it (and it is worth multiple years), Nashville will match it no matter the price. This will ensure that Weber stays in Nashville and cannot test the market.

    • mattj2524 - Jul 5, 2012 at 12:06 PM

      What wouldn’t you give up for Weber? 27 (in August), a Captain, a leader, a top 3 defenseman in the NHL, 6’4″, 230+, eats minutes like meals…dude’s the total package right now as far as blueliners are concerned. I don’t care who you’re a fan of – you have to want this guy on your team.

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 5, 2012 at 12:46 PM

        If Poile is disappointed now with Suter leaving, can you imagine the blind rage he’d be in if Weber left too? That team would be in utter shambles. Still, making an outrageous offer for an RFA is rather frowned upon (google Lowe/Burke) and I doubt Holland, or anyone else would do such a thing.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jul 5, 2012 at 2:09 PM

        Nashville still needs to make a qualifying offer to Weber. With his cap hit already 7.5 the qualifying offer will be north of that. Weber just signes the offer plays in Nashville for the year, then joins Suter in Minnesota.

  3. redwingsfan999 - Jul 5, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Holland couldn’t do anything different 2 try 2 get suter, “you can’t beat family”. And I’m glad we didn’t get Matt carle he is not a player who would fit well with r team. But I do think we should throw an offer 4 Shea weber but that probably won’t happen, we’ll probably get him in next years free agency where he will be a ufa. I also think we should look @ r trading options, maybe do a sign and trade with pavel kubina and trade him and someone else 4 Reghr or Seidenberg. We should also try 2 sign Shane Doan and Alex semin. We could use 2 more right handed shooters and Doan is a physical guy who still knows how do play the game which is what we need. Semin might be a risk but it’s risk that we should take, he could either be a big hit or a big bust but having him under the ownership and management of Ilitch and holland and coached by Babcock and on a line with datsyuk… I see that working out.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 5, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      Playing in Detroit tends to bring the most out of players. I don’t doubt Semin would be successful in red and white.

      • polegojim - Jul 5, 2012 at 12:50 PM

        That’s precisely the point. Detriot’s system brings out the best, even in role players.

        The ‘youth’ will be better than most think.

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 5, 2012 at 12:53 PM

        And they have the uncanny ability to make the most out of their draft choices. Again, look no further than Datsyuk and Zetterberg. Makes me sick…

  4. redwingsfan999 - Jul 5, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    I don’t like bouwmeester, he is over rated and won’t fit @ all with the wings

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 5, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      I doubt you have much to fear. Holland is too smart to throw away money like that.

    • 3yardsandacloud - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:14 PM

      I disagree. He’s fast and moves the puck. He’s also young and a 6.8M cap hit is manageable given Lidstrom was at 6.2M. I think he’s better than almost all options out there and would add speed to a team that needs it.

  5. tigers182 - Jul 5, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    Don’t you have to give up like 4 or 5 1st round picks to sign restricted free agents to “max” deals? No player is worth that.

    I like the idea of developing the young guys this year, then hit next years free agent class hard.

    • hockinj25 - Jul 5, 2012 at 12:43 PM

      Its 4 first rounders. The Red Wings rarely have 1st rounders anyway. We make a living in the late rounds. Weber would be worth it.

    • polegojim - Jul 5, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      Totally agree Tigers – even if we go through a couple ‘reloading’ years, we’ll be fine.

  6. theawesomersfranchise - Jul 5, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    I question Wings fans who suggest Semin. I mean have you just become Wings fans? What on earth has Semin ever done in his life to suggest that he fits this team and staff? Uncoachable with no regard to the defensive side of the game is the complete opposite of a Holland/Babcock type player.

    I wouldn’t touch that piece of garbage with a 10 foot pole. Desperate teams will chase Semin, I hope that the Wings are not one of them. Jeff Carter is more useful than Semin and that’s saying a lot. Semin and Carter are much alike, they do not create scoring chances, they finish while a great shot, but that’s all they offer.

    The Wings will be fine as long as the continue to scout well, draft well and develop well like they have for oh so long.

    • langforc - Jul 5, 2012 at 1:15 PM

      I question Wings’ fans that don’t want Semin. The guy has a bad rep but when you look at film and stats I don’t get it. He was +92 over the past 4 seasons, yeah you read that correctly +92. Don’t give me any garbage about him playing with Ovie and that is why. If you are +92 you are doing something right. People also don’t realize that Semin is willing to block shots which is why his +/- is so high. The media has dubbed him lazy so everyone else has followed suit.

      Also, over the past 4 seasons he has scored 123 goals, recorded 148 assists, and registered 86 points on the PP.

      Let’s not forget he would be on a line with Dats, if you watched worlds Semin really enjoyed playing on a line with Dats

      • theawesomersfranchise - Jul 5, 2012 at 1:28 PM

        I watch Hockey
        I don’t look at stats and take them at face value.

        It’s the Jeff Carter argument all over again
        You want a player who is a pain, a bad locker room guy, a guy that has been a flop his entire playoff career, because in the past when playing with players better than him, he put up pretty regular season stats.
        A guy that doesn’t create, and if isn’t playing on the top line with the top players, sulks and becomes disinterested.
        What is it now? 3 or 4 coaches that has bailed on him despite his only assets (his shot)
        Think about it, EVERY coach has bench him come playoff time and cut his icetime in half at some point.

        Maybe you care about regular season achievements, I however could not care less.
        He is a failure in the playoffs
        End of Story

      • rsl22 - Jul 5, 2012 at 2:19 PM

        Honestly. “theawesomersfranchise,” you clearly do not watch the Capitals.

        Playoffs? Semin’s icetime in the playoffs went UP in the playoffs because of how well he was playing, from 16:47 in the regular season to 17:28, despite having PP icetime decreased by over 10 seconds per game.

        Makes players better? Semin has never had a legit center. The centers that play with him have career years, i.e., see the fact that Mathieu Perreault just signed a $2MM contract after scoring 16 goals playing with Semin, up from 7 the year before without Semin. That would be the same MP who WAS benched in the playoffs because of how useless he was.

        Oh, and who is that scored a career-high 20 goals playing with Semin? That would be Jason Chimera, who’s previous high came with Rick Nash on his wing.

        Doesn’t compete? How about a +9 last year, compared to the Cap’s other top 6 forwards who registered: OV -8, Backstrom -4, Knuble -15, Brooks Laich -8, Marcus Johansson -5, Troy Brouwer -15.

        Per Japer’s Rink, Caps best Corsi ratings has Semin as the guy that creates the most offense and has the least number of chances against:

        Semin was the key to the Caps powerplay because he was such a great setup man. When they took him off the first powerplay to try to create two powerplays is exactly when the Caps went from having the best powerplay in the league to having the 20th ranked PP.

        I hear people say they can “watch” a player and they just know that he is terrible, a coach-killer, a cancer, whatever you want to label him as. But the fact is you have no idea, because you neither watch Caps games, nor do you hang out in the dressing room.

        The team that signs him will be getting a way more productive winger than Parise, for much, much less, and the GM is going to look like a genius to all the hockey world.

    • 3yardsandacloud - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:19 PM

      How about Yzerman? Or Federov? Or Datsyuk? Those guys were ALL one-way players before Bowman showed up and changed the Detroit system. Now guys that are great 1 way guys learn the system and play the system. There have been very few cases in which it hasn’t worked out.

      Semin isn’t perfect but his numbers are close to Parise’s and I can appreciate the motivation that can be created by playing wing with a great center that can dish the puck. Detroit needs a true finisher and Semin could be it. He’s not perfect, but for the right price? Absolutely.

      • theawesomersfranchise - Jul 5, 2012 at 9:36 PM

        Fedorov and Datsyuk?

        Are you kidding me?
        How old are you? seriously, Im 38, and Fedorov way an excellent 2 way forward from day 1, Of course in todays NHL he would get a hooking penalty every shift, when hitching a ride was legal, Fedorov was back checking from the get go.

  7. tmoore4075 - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    I believe about half of that. While he wants the youth to have a shot, especially guys like Smith or Nyquist, they aren’t done checking things out. In 2001 the day free agency began I read an article where Holland said he was happy with his goaltending. That was the same day they traded for Hasek. They will look at all options. I think the fact Illitch was one of the people flying to Wisconsin speaks a lot about what he wants to do this season. He might tell Holland, make a plash.

    As for Semin, short term doesn’t scare me, long term does. If he works out great. If he does what he’s been doing in Washington I don’t want him here 5+ years.

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  3. P. Datsyuk (1287)
  4. S. Matthias (1179)
  5. M. Richards (1130)