Stick and Puck (Hockey)
Stick and Puck (Hockey)
"If you want to think that Detroit is no longer a destination for free agents, think again. This was a pure family decision."

Sports Editor

Last week, the Red Wings lost out on both of the top free agents to the Minnesota Wild. Forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter spurned their former teams as well as many others including the Red Wings to play on the same team, for family reasons.

It’s unfortunate because Detroit is still left with a gaping hole on the back-end, with the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom, and the loss of Brad Stuart to the San Jose Sharks.

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It is the first time in a long time the Red Wings were spurned for another team. In fact, I can’t think of the last time the Red Wings pursued one-two players so heavily and lost out.

Pre-salary cap era, General Manager Ken Holland and owner Mike Ilitch would throw out some money to big-name free agents, and they would come here because of the great ownership, the constant ability to be competitive and the chance to play for an Original Six team.

If you want to think that Detroit is no longer a destination for free agents, think again. This was a pure family decision. Parise is from Minnesota, so is the rest of his family.

Suter’s fiance is from Minnesota. Suter also lives in Madison, Wisconsin, a lot closer to St. Paul than Detroit.

“They were right there till the end,” said Suter. “Detroit is a great franchise. They’ve got a great thing going there, everybody knows how much success they’ve had.”


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Suter in fact almost signed here.

This is coming from a guy who just declined probably the best team in the past 20 years.

Holland was disappointed but understood.

“His wife is from Minny. Grandparents are nearby. We lost out to family. Can’t beat family,” said Holland.

In an interview with Mitch Albom, Holland was very calm in the outcome of what happened a week ago.

“We’re still Hockeytown. There’s still sex appeal to play here. I’m disappointed but there’s free agents in 2013, 2014, 2015.”

Read into that quote what you will, but the Red Wings still have plenty of options left in a very thin free agent market. They also have the trade market too.


So what is the first thing that needs to be done?

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It’s looking like they are making a push for Alexander Semin (bad attitude problems), and Shane Doan (old) in free agency.

In the trade market, the options include forwards Rick Nash, Bobby Ryan, and defensemen Keith Yandle and Jay Bouwmeester.

Detroit Red Wings Logo (From Wikimedia Commons)

It’s hard to believe that Semin would be in the Motor City come October. He is a decent player, but his attitude towards working hard dwindles from game-to-game. The thought is that his attitude would change if he plays alongside countryman Pavel Datsyuk.

Shane Doan is getting older and wants to stay in the desert with the Coyotes to finish his career, but with unstable ownership looming, he may want to play elsewhere. The Red Wings are very interested in his services, and he is the same with the Red Wings, but it is uncertain if they will come to an agreement.


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In the trade market, the Blue Jackets will try and bring a big package for Nash. The only teams on the approved trade list for Nash include not only the Red Wings, but the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, and San Jose Sharks. Columbus will be reluctant to trade him to the Sharks, and especially the Red Wings within the division, but if they get a good enough package, you never know what could happen. The asking price is believed to be one to two NHL ready players, a prospect and a draft pick.

Bobby Ryan wants out of Anaheim, although it is not clear why. The Ducks won’t give him up for cheap though. He wouldn’t cost as much as Nash, and would be a huge pickup for the Red Wings, although his list of teams he wants to be traded to hasn’t been released.

Yandle would be the best pickup if they can get him. The Coyotes don’t want to part with the All-Star defenseman, but if the right package comes along, there’s no reason to see why they don’t let him go, especially for some good prospects. The Flames and Bouwmeester haven’t worked out since he signed a few years ago. He has a fairly large contract and it’s believed it won’t cost much to get him, but the contract could be more than the Red Wings could handle.


These are the best options available to the Red Wings, and if they can’t get the guys they need now, they still have next year’s free agent pool, which is much deeper than this year. If they do decide to go hard after some players here, the team could look quite interesting heading into the start of the season.

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