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Detroit’s summer of free agency missed opportunities

Jul 20, 2012, 2:02 PM EDT

Ryan Suter, Zach Parise Getty Images

The Red Wings headed into free agency with oodles of salary cap space and tons of cash to spend. They set their sights high thinking they could pull off the daily double landing both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Instead, it was the Minnesota Wild who pulled off the feat thanks to their desire to play at home and leading to columnists declaring that Detroit were no longer the chosen ones in the NHL.

With all that money and a need to add a scorer and a blue liner, the Red Wings then missed out on Matt Carle who landed in Tampa Bay with Steve Yzerman. Detroit even missed out on getting in the Shea Weber derby thanks to Philly’s offer sheet but were believed to be investigating a possible trade. Hoo boy.

Instead of addressing needs they went in a different direction adding agitator Jordin Tootoo and bringing back Mikael Samuelsson, two not-so headliners. Is that enough? Not hardly. Sure they’ve still got Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Jimmy Howard, and Niklas Kronwall and those are great players to have, but they fell short in the playoffs last year and that was when they had Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart. They’re both gone and Detroit’s free agent whiffs stand out even more.

GM Ken Holland says he’d rather go with his kids and unless Detroit works out a deal with Alexander Semin or Shane Doan, that’s just what they’ll have to do. Are guys like Gustav Nyqvist, Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl, and Tomas Tatar ready to be prime time players? Holland and the Wings faithful will have to hope so.

  1. theawesomersfranchise - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    I must say it is funny to read the lamentation Wings problems so much this of-season. We are still talking about a team that is going to make the playoffs that nobody in the West wants to face in the 1st round.

    And do not get it twisted, the Wings were never getting Weber, it would have been a cold day in hell before the Preds accepted a Wings offer for Weber. And the Preds were never going to allow him to leave as a UFA before trading him to again…anyone but the Wings.

    There are 20 teams at least in the NHL that wish they had the Wings “problems”. Im not sure if this will make much sense but….Holland, Nill and the Wings scouting staff are they best in the league. So even if the Wings had the Blue Jackets roster, they would be in good hands.

    • hagigun - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:40 PM

      I would never bet that the WIngs don’t make the playoffs. The track record says they will.

      But I don’t find it “funny” or absurd to see people doubting that they will make the playoffs or have a chance at winning the cup. Lots of pieces have changed, retired, or left. Yet hardly anything came in to replace those pieces.

      If I understand you correctly, you say “No one wants to play the Wings in round 1.” Well that to me doesn’t sound like a fan confident his team has a shot to win the cup. It sounds like a fan desperately trying to hang on to some post-season streak. Because if you aren’t competing for a cup, you are in a sense, going backwards in Detroit and that is why all these stories and questions are coming about the Wings in 2012.

      • theawesomersfranchise - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:05 PM

        Even when the Wings were rolling a decade ago I was never “confident”. Winning the Cup is the hardest thing to do in sports. And no I am not confident this team or last years was reaching the finals. But I wasn’t confident that the Devils or Kings would either.

        What I am saying is they will be a play-off team, and still has the potential to go on a run. Just like any other team that makes the play-offs.

        And Sorry Im trying to wrap my brain around “It sounds like a fan desperately trying to hang on to some post-season streak”
        Huh? What?
        I could care how little about some streak? Cups is what I care about. Why would any fan be desperate about some play-off streak that they have no part in or control of?

        And finally, you respond to your foolish reply. Any team that is capable of making the play-offs is competing for a cup and not in any sense going backwards.

        Being favoured to win a cup, expectations are absolutely meaningless.

        I think you’re done

  2. hockinj25 - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    The players they did get addressed some of their needs. The only thing they didn’t get was a d-man. Tootoo adds grit we didn’t have, Gustavson is a much needed upgrade as a backup goalie, and Samuelsson and Brunner are can be top 6 forwards. With the talent we have coming up, the Wings will be just fine.

    • polegojim - Jul 20, 2012 at 7:40 PM

      “Sure they’ve still got Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Jimmy Howard, and Niklas Kronwall…”
      Joe – that almost sounds like an apology???

      “Ken Holland says he’d rather go with his kids and unless Detroit works out a deal with Alexander Semin or Shane Doan…”
      TOTALLY agree. Don’t need Semin… but Doan would be nice.

      “Are guys like Gustav Nyqvist, Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl, and Tomas Tatar ready to be prime time players?”
      No…. but they are ready to take the next step towards it…. and adding that to Dats, Hank, Jimmy, Kron… is a VERY scarey thought for any opponent.

      You left out Ericsson… I’m feeling some threat from the big man. He’s going to mentally grow into his body and toughen up this year. Why? TooToo! I believe MANY have underestimated the Value and Intent of bringing on TooToo.


  3. purpleguy - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    The Wings are a very talented team and a first-rate organization, but they are aging and free agents look not only to the present team prospects, but also the future. Combined with the desire of many free agents to stick closer to home (Parise, Suter and Shultz), Detroit’s winning tradition isn’t a big enough draw standing alone.

  4. theawesomersfranchise - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    The Wings could lose all their best players finish bottom 5 for 2-3 seasons and they still would have Holland, Nill and the scouting staff and would rebuild better and faster than any other team in the league.

    What me worry?
    Wings fans should have zero fear of rebuilding the Wings

  5. pistolpete31 - Jul 20, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Mike Madano is waiting for a call…

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jul 20, 2012 at 10:37 PM


  6. redwingsfan999 - Jul 20, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Although I am disappointed the wings didn’t get parise or suter I’m not worried bout the wings. In case no one remembers in February the wings were 1st in the west with most of the players that we still have now. And we went on a 23 home game win streak. Ya we may have lost lidstrom and Stuart but guys like Kronwall, Quincy, and smith can be very underrated @ times and I guarantee that they will all step up this season. And I love how people think just cuz Philly offered weber a contract that he’s either going 2 Philly or staying with Nashville. Weber doesnt want 2 stay with Nashville but they don’t wanna lose weber and suter 4 almost nothing, so they r going 2 match phillys offer and maybe trade him and u can bet the wings r gonna be all over that, I would give up franzen, nyquist, ericsson, and either smith or kindl 4 him. And if the wings do get Weber and then sign Doan they will be a great Stanley cup contending team. And even if we don’t get weber I have faith in the “wings kids” and I have faith in ken holland that he will sign a defensmen such as cam barker, pavel kubina, and mikael rosival, and if not that he will trade 4 one. No matter what the wings do they will still be a good team now and 4 years 2 come

  7. lloydpricessister - Jul 20, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    wow did this team peak in 2008. it was all downhill from then boys.

    • m1lla7 - Jul 22, 2012 at 11:22 AM

      Peaked in 2008? didn’t they make it to the Stanly Cup finals the following year? I think so. You’re just a typical wings hater. All you haters were saying the Wings were supposed to be “done” when Yzerman and shanahan left.

  8. charlesanakin - Jul 20, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    Thank goodness we missed out on Matt Carle. Weber was NEVER going to be traded to the Wings and the offer sheet Philly signed him to will only facilitate him re-signing in Nash. Det hasn’t done very well with the top part of this FA class but the #2 and #3 forwards (Doan and Semin) are still out there. I don’t see DET winning the Stanley Cup this year but all the young players will be a year better in 2013 and DET will still have tons of cap space for a very deep and talented 2013 FA class. This seasons whiffs on Suter and Parise could turn into next seasons Perry and Edler. Tell me who would you rather have??? DET always has and always will be a long term big picture organization. That’s why they are the model franchise in hockey (hell in sports). Every team has ups and downs but even in the salary cap era DET has never gone very far “down”.
    For all those who view DET as an “aging” franchise– 5 out of 6 D men are under 30, as are both goalies. 7 out 12 their 4 forward line players are under 30, next season that number will jump to 9 out of 12. Not so old any more huh?

    • getadealdonealready - Jul 21, 2012 at 5:13 PM

      I’d rather have Parise and Suter……oh wait I do!

      GO WILD!

  9. ray2013 - Jul 21, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    They should have combined some of these stories into one big article; Detroit Red Wings, brought to you by Ben-Gay. Or the Shea Weber situation, brought to you by Xanax.

  10. xjokerz - Jul 22, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    As a Wings fan …. We better get Nash

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