July 6, 2012

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Free Agent Frenzy: Red Wings Search For Answers

By: Tyler Vespa

Coming into this offseason, the Detroit Red Wings were all smiles with enough cap room to make some significant changes. However, with both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signing with Minnesota, the Wings were left with more difficult decisions than the franchise anticipated.

Could this be a rebuilding year for the Red Wings?

The team needs haven’t changed even with the additions made in the past few weeks. They still need a top-pair defensemen and some scoring depth. As a result, the Wings may have to wait their turn to win the free agency lottery. Meaning, Ken Holland is more confident in being patient and inserting some young guys from the minor league system to give them some added time to develop.

So, does this officially mean rebuilding the franchise for a season, after not being able to reload with tremendous talent? I believe for once, Holland would agree.

The Wings will still be a playoff team and possible Cup contender, but we may not see the same consistency we’ve seen in the past 5 years. The Wings will need a lot more things to go there way on a night-to-night basis.

Now, this doesn’t guarantee the Wings are done making changes this offseason. The problem is, the deal has to make sense with the team’s chemistry. Some talented names still available are ColumbusRick Nash, Washington’s Alexander Semin, Phoenix’s Shane Doan, Nashville’s Shea Weber, and Washington’s Mike Green. Another great option is Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan. He is not on the free-agent market, but desperately wants out of Anaheim.

To me, aside from Shane Doan and Bobby Ryan, none of the other marquee names really fit the style the Wings like to play. The only thing that gives Ryan a small edge is his youth, being just 25, while Doan is already 35. Other than that, I’m more intrigued with some other solid names that will better fit the Wings’ style of play. I think players like Sam Gagner from Edmonton, and Evander Kane from Winnipeg are some good two-way forwards that would really answer the Wings’ issue of scoring depth.

Defensively, the Wings should concentrate on re-signing Kyle Quincey, and maybe seeking a return of a former Red Wing in Brett Lebda.

Defensively, I believe Ken Holland’s theory of breeding some younger players now is fine. However, the Wings may have a harder time filling all of their offensive roster spots with players already in the system. So, I’m expecting the Wings to go hard after Shane Doan and Bobby Ryan.