Moving On In Motown
During last season, elsewhere on the internet I wrote that the Detroit Red Wings needed to be blown up. This was both before the home unbeaten streak, and the first round exit. More importantly it was also before the (official) announcement of the Red Wings facing off with the Maple Leafs at the Winter Classic. This of course assumes there is enough of a season to hold the Winter Classic.
I still believe the team is better off long term accepting a couple rebuilding years, and auctioning off the aging talent before the expiration date is passed on some good players. Datsyuk when healthy could be the key piece to push teams like Nashville, Toronto, or Florida to the next level. Zetterberg is another player who could fetch a lot of return even coming out of his worst season this side of the lockout. Those two alone could return enough young talent and picks to build a new core out of. Those are also about the only legitimate stars the team possess outside the crease.
Sadly, there is no way a sell off happens before the Winter Classic. Despite having lost forty four minutes of blueline time with retirement of Lidstrom and Brad Stuart moving on in free agency the team, largely thanks to Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Howard remain good enough to be competitive with any conceivable Maple Leafs roster come January. Given the disparity of talent between Jimmy Howard and well, any goalie in the Toronto system the Wings have a chance to cover for the fact that most exciting forward after the two mentioned above will be Jordin Tootoo, and that with Quincey or Wilson as their top defensemen Toronto has the advantage at every position not goalie or center.
The truth is simple, stark and unavoidable: The Red Wings need to retool. The city is not the greatest place to live, and they stand a better chance of success by drafting well with more and higher picks than by overpaying free agents. Without quality upgrades before the season starts or world beating seasons from three or four of the teams lead talents I’d only put the chances of Detroit making the playoffs at about 40%.
In the post Lidstrom era, and without the ability to fill the Joe because of economic concerns, now is the best time they could embark on a rebuild. Doing it right by wringing the maximum possible return from the commodities they have and doing it before they are injured or their market value slips because of poor play is the only sensible way to do things. There is no possible combination of free agents that could make this team a contender, and attempting to do so would be the equivalent of putting a bandaid on a broken arm.
Hockey This Week
@PuckSage never fear, hockey is coming. It might even be NHL hockey of the owners can stop squabbling and undermining each other to the point they are starting to look like Three Stooges understudies.