UFA Options: Detroit Red Wings

Jonathan Willis
June 03 2009 02:29PM

hossa

UFA Options is a continuing series that gives a brief run-down of the unrestricted free agent market this summer, team-by-team. Our next team for consideration is the Detroit Red Wings.

Easily the best-run team in the NHL, the Detroit Red Wings don’t have a lot of unrestricted free agents (just five in total) but Marian Hossa’s contract is going to be a big-ticket item and it will be interesting to see if Ken Holland elects to keep him – and if so, how he fits him in under the salary cap. Aside from Hossa, some decent depth players are coming up for free agency as well. I would guess that the Red Wings retain whoever they want to; probably at a discount to boot.

Marian Hossa

Marian Hossa’s scoring goals like he used to (40 this past season) but his point totals have dropped a ton since leaving the Atlanta Thrashers and the Southeast Division – further reinforcing the fact that shiny 100-point seasons playing the easiest schedule in the NHL need to be taken with a grain of salt.

It isn’t just his offense that appeals to teams though. Aside from his goal-scoring touch, Hossa is a responsible two-way forward with good size. He’s among the best forwards entering unrestricted free agency, and if he decides to wait until July 1st he’ll get a ton of interest from a variety of suitors.

Mikael Samuelsson

Mikael Samuelsson bounced around the league for a long time before finding a home in Detroit. Originally drafted by San Jose in 1998, he played for the Sharks, Rangers and Penguins at the NHL level, never topping 24 points. After the lockout he was grabbed by Detroit, and he’s scored 40 points or better in three of four seasons since the lockout.

He’s got decent size and a bit of an edge, but he’s undoubtedly benefitted from playing in Detroit and it’s a fair question whether he could repeat his performance elsewhere. He probably doesn’t have enough offense to regularly play in the top six, and he’s been plagued by inconsistency throughout his career. A great option for the third line.

Tomas Kopecky

The 27-year old Kopecky plays a reserve role in Detroit. He’s a good-sized forward who plays a clean but physical game and while he had some success scoring in the AHL so far the points haven’t come at the NHL level. He’s been sheltered in Detroit but he’s struggled against even fourth-line competition on one of the better teams in the league; I can’t imagine that he’ll be an overly sought-after commodity on the free agent market this summer.

Chris Chelios

Injured for much of this season, the 47-year old Chelios was sheltered this past year but didn’t struggle in the 6th/7th defenseman role. He was an NHL rookie in 1983, meaning that he’s been playing NHL hockey for longer than many players have been alive – in Edmonton alone 19 players were born after Chelios first put on an NHL uniform. He’s shown no indication that he wants to stop any time soon, although the Red Wings are unlikely to re-sign him.

In a recent interview he put it this way: “I don't believe in that theory you go out on top," Chelios said. "I want to make sure when I retire there's nothing left and I've spent everything." There are a few teams that could probably use him as a 7th or even 8th defenseman (assuming he’d be willing to accept a two-way contract in the latter case).

Ty Conklin

Ty Conklin has enjoyed a career resurgence since leaving Edmonton. Initially he struggled in stints with Buffalo and Columbus, but last season he passed everyone on the roster and solidified the Pittsburgh goaltending position while Marc-Andre Fleury was injured, posting a .923 SV% over 33 games. This year he was clearly the best goaltender in Detroit during the regular season, although coach Mike Babcock elected to go with Chris Osgood during the playoffs (a move which has paid off).

At this point he’s one of the best backups in the league; a player who can comfortably step in if the starter goes down to injury.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Chris
June 03 2009, 02:36PM
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I'm gonna go out on a limb here... How about Hossa?

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#2 dyckster
June 03 2009, 02:47PM
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I love these UFA updates, but I HATE how they venture off in to a Horcoff this and/or Hemsky that discussion. Let's try to stay on topic people! As far as the available DRW's, only one excites me, and my guess is since he wouldn't come here last season he ain't this season either. Next team Mr. Willis!

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#3 Bar Qu
June 03 2009, 02:55PM
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I know this isn't part of the discussion, but who are the RFA's on the Wings that could be poached for a 2nd, 3rd pick or even no compensation (<850,000)?

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#4 ScubaSteve
June 03 2009, 02:56PM
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Before we hired Quinn/Renney, we could've had Chelios as a player/coach, al a Reg Dunlop.

I agree w/ dyckster, only 1 player of interest and he's a long shot, but might be more available if the wings win the cup.

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#5 Ogden Brother
June 03 2009, 03:00PM
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Looking forward to the Wings announcing Hossa's extension so we can quit with that pipe dream around here.

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#6 Jonathan Willis
June 03 2009, 03:17PM
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@ Bar Qu:

Ville Leino and Jiri Hudler are the only RFA's of any note that I see, and someone (Matheson?) suggested recently that Hudler's likely to be dealt to Atlanta for a draft pick once the finals are over.

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#7 Souby
June 03 2009, 03:19PM
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@ Ogden Brother: Agreed. He is not leaving Motown, especially if they win the cup. Look for him to extend with the Wing to the tune of approx $7-$8 million for 7 years.

Now that is out of the way we can get serious about prospective free agents the Oil should go after....like say Jagr!! ;)

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#8 dyckster
June 03 2009, 03:35PM
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Souby wrote:

Now that is out of the way we can get serious about prospective free agents the Oil should go after….like say Jagr!!

Sorry dude but I could list 20 guys I'd rather sign (for the same or less $$) before I'd buck up for the mulleted one. IMHO anyway. But, blogs are about opinions right?

On sort of the same topic, Jonathan, does it sound like we're going to sign Ales Kotalik? I really hope so, he, in a way, could help us forget about Souray's power play effectiveness should he (Souray) happen to be moved.

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#9 Archaeologuy
June 03 2009, 03:41PM
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dyckster wrote:

I love these UFA updates, but I HATE how they venture off in to a Horcoff this and/or Hemsky that discussion. Let’s try to stay on topic people!

Never!

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#10 Souby
June 03 2009, 03:43PM
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@ dyckster: Sorry if you felt I was serious, but I thought the winky face would help indicate I was kidding.

I agree on Kotalik though. Cannon for a shot and has some size. Put in the right situations, he could be a good asset.

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#11 RossCreek
June 03 2009, 03:43PM
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I'm guessing Hossa signs for less than 7-8. Looks to me it'll be in the 6-7 range (prob closer to 6). If he leaves (not likely) he gets the 7-8 mil then.

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#12 Cam
June 03 2009, 03:45PM
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dyckster wrote:

Souby wrote: Now that is out of the way we can get serious about prospective free agents the Oil should go after….like say Jagr!! Sorry dude but I could list 20 guys I’d rather sign (for the same or less $$) before I’d buck up for the mulleted one. IMHO anyway. But, blogs are about opinions right? On sort of the same topic, Jonathan, does it sound like we’re going to sign Ales Kotalik? I really hope so, he, in a way, could help us forget about Souray’s power play effectiveness should he (Souray) happen to be moved.

I thought you wanted to stay on topic?!?

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#13 dyckster
June 03 2009, 03:46PM
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@ Souby:

My bad on the winky face thing. Shoulda caught that.

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#14 Souby
June 03 2009, 03:49PM
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@ RossCreek: You could be right. The reason I think it will be the 7-8 mil range is because the Oil were offering him 9 mil/year. I don't see why he would accept 3 mil less to stay, when I feel they are a few teams that would take a run at him this summer with offers near where Edmonton was. It is not supposed to be about the money, but if he wins his cup, I feel that the attraction of big money will lure him away.

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#15 dyckster
June 03 2009, 03:51PM
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@ Cam:

Tough crowd. I qualified it with a "sort of".

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#16 Souby
June 03 2009, 03:55PM
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@ dyckster: Don't feel bad. I contradicted myself by saying Hossa will stay for 7-8 mil especially if they win the cup, but later I posted that he will leave for bigger money. I guess thats what you get for having beer and shooters for lunch!

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#17 Jonathan Willis
June 03 2009, 04:17PM
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RE: Kotalik

My next UFA post deals with Edmonton, so I'd like to leave that for a bit; besides, everything I've heard is of the public record variety. Maybe one of our MSM guys will indulge us with whatever they've heard.

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#18 Archaeologuy
June 03 2009, 04:18PM
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If Ty Conklin hadnt cost the Oilers the Cup in game 1 then i wouldnt mind seeing him back. When Doc Brown fixes the flux capacator I'll make sure to change that.

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#19 Cam
June 03 2009, 04:36PM
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dyckster wrote:

@ Cam: Tough crowd. I qualified it with a “sort of”.

i was just kidding around... it's very hard to keep on topic with this crowd.

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#20 Dyckster
June 03 2009, 05:28PM
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Sportsnet is reporting that Ray Emery is pretty much for sure going to sign with the Flyers. One less team for Roloson to go to.....doh. I know, off topic again, what can I say, I'm bored.

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#21 BigE57
June 03 2009, 11:08PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

If Ty Conklin hadnt cost the Oilers the Cup in game 1 then i wouldnt mind seeing him back. When Doc Brown fixes the flux capacator I’ll make sure to change that.

Too bad he is probably going to sign with whomever will be playing in the outdoor game this season.

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#22 Big Dave Semenko
June 04 2009, 01:25AM
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Brutal game 1 result in the SCF 05/06 aside, you have to give Conklin his due. How many other players have dressed in the Cup Finals three of the past four seasons? Just Conklin. He was solid with Pittsburgh, he has been solid with Detroit, I think that he should be considered an option as a 1A for next season, based on the available tenders. The question is, would he want to come back?

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#23 Heazues
June 04 2009, 08:27AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

If Ty Conklin hadnt cost the Oilers the Cup in game 1 then i wouldnt mind seeing him back. When Doc Brown fixes the flux capacator I’ll make sure to change that.

first, the team allowed a lead to slip. no telling if they would have won if roli didnt get hurt.

the team played like shizzat for the next 2 games after.

and that bad goal was just as much jason smiths fault as it was conks. in fact i would lay more blame on smith as he was the one calling for it and then he got so close he couldnt control the pass.

more over, i would blame bergeron for pushing ladd into roli and blowing out his knee. i still get weepy :(

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoZNiv6kysc

IMHO if roli didnt get hurt, they would have won at least ONE of games 2 or 3 and would have won it all in game 6. it was a HUGE moral crusher to see the guy that carried you there go down.

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#24 Ogden Brother
June 04 2009, 09:12AM
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Hey Willis, did you have a site that went over how AHL/CHL/Swedish elite etc scoring translated into NHL scoring?

Thanks

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#25 sittingatmydesk
June 04 2009, 10:18AM
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@ Souby: detroit cap for next season is $51 mill, for 16 players...they need 7 more to fill out the roster, how can they afford hossa?

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#26 dyckster
June 04 2009, 10:41AM
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sittingatmydesk wrote:

@ Souby: detroit cap for next season is $51 mill, for 16 players…they need 7 more to fill out the roster, how can they afford hossa?

As it stands right now, who's to say if they really decide they want to keep him they don't make some cap space through a trade(s)? Either way though, they'll have to get rid of one or more players. So in general, your point does have merit.

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#27 RossCreek
June 04 2009, 10:53AM
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They move a player or 2. They trade Hudler. They have guys like Helm and Lieno and Abdelkater signed cheap to replace the likes of Hudler, Samuelsson, etc. Maybe a Filpulla or a Stuart gets moved. They'll make it work.

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#28 RossCreek
June 04 2009, 10:55AM
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CHELIOS TO CHICAGO!

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#29 RossCreek
June 04 2009, 11:16AM
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Souray for Giguere? Then sign Beauchemin?

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#30 Jonathan Willis
June 04 2009, 11:53AM
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@ Ogden Brother:

Gabriel Desjardins put the only one that I know of together:

http://www.behindthenet.ca/translations.html

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#31 Jonathan Willis
June 04 2009, 11:54AM
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I've always liked Conklin; even in 2005-06 I didn't really blame him given the impossibility of the situation.

That said, I can't imagine him ever coming back to Edmonton. A team like COlorado might be well-advised to sign him, though.

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#32 RossCreek
June 04 2009, 12:01PM
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Ya I see Conks in Colorado. Perhaps they go with a new tandem in Conklin and Clemmensen. Wouldn't mind the Flames grabbing 1 of them. Or even Craig Anderson. Someone... anyone.

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#33 Ogden Brother
June 04 2009, 12:44PM
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RossCreek wrote:

Souray for Giguere? Then sign Beauchemin?

If Beauch was guaranteed to sign (and for 3 or less) then I'd probably do it.

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#34 Ogden Brother
June 04 2009, 12:45PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

Thanks man

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#35 Ogden Brother
June 04 2009, 12:47PM
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RossCreek wrote:

Ya I see Conks in Colorado. Perhaps they go with a new tandem in Conklin and Clemmensen. Wouldn’t mind the Flames grabbing 1 of them. Or even Craig Anderson. Someone… anyone.

If Florida is having $$ trouble, I could see them dealing Vokoun and going with Anderson.

*Hopes the Oil trade for Vokoun*

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#36 RossCreek
June 04 2009, 12:48PM
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Just guessing but I think Beauchemin signs moreso in the 3.75-4 range.

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#37 RossCreek
June 04 2009, 12:50PM
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Vokoun, Turco, or Giguere?

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#38 Ogden Brother
June 04 2009, 12:53PM
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Grabbed this off the site, just so I'm reading it right:

League Difficulty N NHL 1.00 WHA Final Year (1978-79) 0.89 59 Russian Elite League 0.83 101 Swedish Elite League 0.78 77 Czech Republic League 0.74 53 Finland SM-Liiga 0.54 76 Deutsche Eishockey League 0.52 74 WHA First Year (1972-73) 0.46 39 AHL 0.44 384 IHL 0.43 113 Switzerland National League 0.44 30 NCAA 0.41 295 Canadian Major Junior 0.29* 410 I would take this to mean that every point in the NHL is "worth" .44 points in the NHL, or in other words 100 point guy in the AHL would be expected to get 44 points in the NHL?

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#39 Ogden Brother
June 04 2009, 12:53PM
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RossCreek wrote:

Just guessing but I think Beauchemin signs moreso in the 3.75-4 range.

Ya that's what I'm thinking too and Souray's 5.4 out and Beauch/JSG 10 in is just too much.

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#40 Ogden Brother
June 04 2009, 12:54PM
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RossCreek wrote:

Vokoun, Turco, or Giguere?

Vokoun by a mile IMO anyways.

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#41 Jonathan Willis
June 04 2009, 01:19PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

I would take this to mean that every point in the NHL is “worth” .44 points in the NHL, or in other words 100 point guy in the AHL would be expected to get 44 points in the NHL?

As a ballpark figure, yes. Obviously there's a difference if the AHL guy is a 100-point player at 21 or 28; there's a curve that doesn't translate easily.

But for young players this is a fairly good rough guide; it has been very close and prety much every Oilers' rookie over the past three seasons.

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#42 misfit
June 04 2009, 01:32PM
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Yeah, there's really only one guy there I'm interested in and "longshot" just isn't a strong enough word. I think "no chance in hell" might be a better term for our chances of actually adding him to the roster.

...for the record, I'm talking about Hossa.

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