Tag Archives: Dan Cleary

Eaves inks a one year deal with Wings


TOTALLY late to the party, but the Red Wings finally got off the sidelines and landed a free agent when they signed forward Patrick Eaves to a one year deal yesterday. Mad props to George Malik over at MLive’s Snapshots who basically called this one on July 25th:

I look at someone like the player the B’s are buying out in Patrick Eaves, a 25-year-old who made $1.4 million last season and will receive a buyout of $933,333.34 spread out over the next four seasons (he had two years remaining on his contract), as someone that the Red Wings might take a stab at if he’s willing to play for a highly discounted rate. The 5’11," 190-lb. winger came into the league as a highly-heralded prospect for the Ottawa Senators, but he topped out at 20 goals during his first season and 34 points in his second, with his speed, skill, and forechecking producing very little since his trade to Carolina.

The Patrick Eaveses and Taylor Pyatts of the hockey world offer the kind of, "We’ll sign you to an entry-level deal if you do well in camp, and then we’ll see what you can do" punch that the Wings are looking for, with Dan Cleary serving as the best example of a player counted down and out of the NHL delivering on his promise, and Brent Sopel’s decision to turn down a contract from the Wings to head to Chicago and fade into the background as a non-playing millstone as the worst result.

Nicely done sir. However, since I never miss a chance to toot my own horn, I had a similar prediction over at WIM two days afterwards, albeit buried deep in the article.

I’d prefer to turn my attention to someone like Patrick Eaves or Taylor Pyatt, who both need to really prove that they belong at this level and would be willing to work through camp to land an entry level type deal, a la Dan Cleary.

Final move: Land Pyatt or Eaves to an entry-level deal worth between $500K and 750K.

Anyways, to the winner go the spoils and GJM upped me by two days. No hard feelings though, as I think all of us agree that this was the right move for the Wings. Here’s to hoping that Eaves pans out and gets it done next season.


Leave a comment

Filed under Hooray!, I (Kinda) See the Future (Maybe), If you didn't know now you know

Who’s Staying and Who’s Going In Motown?

*I’m reposting this from over at “Winging It”, as this is a topic I have been bugged about like crazy today and I want to give all readers a chance to weigh in…even those without memberships at SB Nation (GET ONE!!!).


(Photo courtesy of Julian H. Gonzalez/Detroit Free Press)

Before we move forward and look at who might not be around, let’s take a look at who is already locked up. Up front, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula, Dan Cleary, Tomas Holmstrom, Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper, Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader are all taken care fo for next season. Defensively, the Wings have already secured the services of Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski, Niklas Kronwall, Brad Stuart, Jonathan Ericsson, Andreas Lilja, Derek Meech and Brett Lebda. In net, Chris Osgood will be back as the starter and Jimmy Howard is signed for the next two years.

Which leaves us with the following question marks and probable results (which of course are all IMO):

Marian Hossa

  • Hossa is an unrestricted free agent entering the off-season, but it is widely believed that he will be back in the winged wheel next season, and for quite a few seasons after that. Despite all but disappearing in this postseason, Hossa is still a superstar in the NHL and the Wings are a better team with him in the lineup. However, his price tag is guaranteed to be high, as he garnered 7.45 million this past season. Even if Ken Holland can work his magic and get Hossa to take less money over a long-term deal, his presence bodes pretty unfavorably for some of the other free agents on the Wings roster.
  • Staying or going? Staying.

Jiri Hudler

  • Here’s where things begin to get complicated. Hudler is a restricted free agent, so all the Wings have to do is offer him, and he stays with the team. However, as Hossa is widely expected to sign a long term deal with the Wings, Hudler becomes one of the players on the outside looking in. Normally, this wouldn’t be a major issue, as Hudler has enough NHL experience to receive a crop of offer sheets from other clubs. However, and unproductive playoff – three assists and zero goal in his last 12 playoff games – could lead some clubs to reconsider Hudler. In the end, though, someone should take a chance on him, and Hudler will be playing for someone else when the fall rolls around.
  • Staying or going? Going.

Mikael Samuelsson

  • Samuelsson, an unrestricted free agent, is expected to be another victim of a Marian Hossa re-signing. Despite being productive for the Wings early in the playoffs, Sammy fell of the map in the last 10 games, netting zero points. His contract is just over one million dollars, which is completely reasonable for a 20 goal scorer, so someone will scoop up Samuelsson off the market.
  • Staying or going? Very much gone.

Tomas Kopecky

  • Kopecky is another major question mark, as the Wings will likely need to shed one more salary, in addition to Hudler’s and Samuelsson’s, to keep Hossa in a Red Wings uniform for the foreseeable future. The likely answer appears to be Kopecky, who has been out since Game 5 of the Anaheim series after suffering a broken orbital bone. But it won’t be easy to cut ties with him, as Kopecky played 79 regular season games and is only 27 years old. But the reality is that Kopecky only put up 19 points over those 79 games, and with younger players like Leino, Abdelkader and Helm gaining experience and playing time, Kopecky’s lack of production might help to show him the door in Detroit. 
  • Staying or going? Probably going.

Ville Leino

  • No drama here. Leino is a restricted free agent, who hasn’t played in enough NHL games to really warrant an offer sheet from another team. Leino will be back and will probably get increased time with the big club, especially if Kopecky doesn’t get re-signed.
  • Staying or going. Staying.

Darren McCarty and Aaron Downey

  • With the young talent making its way up the ladder, I just don’t see both of these guys staying. McCarty played in 13 games this season to Downey’s four. Combine that with McCarty’s status as a fan favorite and someone who is willing to grind it out in the minors to get his shot, and he’s my pick to be back in a Wings uniform next season.
  • Staying or going? McCarty: Staying. Downey: Going.

Chris Chelios

  • Unfortunately, Cheli’s time in Motown is up. With young defensive talent like Jon Ericsson and Niklas Kronwall leading the charge, Chelios’ minutes just aren’t there anymore.
  • Staying or going? Gone.

Ty Conklin

  • So this is one situation that has managed to stay under the radar for the most part, but Conks finds himself as a free agent and the Wings potentially find themselves with an untested backup goaltender in Jimmy Howard. At this point, things get really tricky, and Ken Holland is going to earn his paycheck when this is all said and done. Conklin made $750,000 last season, but happened to turn in 25 wins while Osgood was interested, and will most likely ask for more money. But Jimmy Howard is making $717,000 a season, and also can’t be sent back down to the minors without being waived. And if Howard got claimed off waivers and  called back up from the minors, half of his salary would be on the shoulders of the Red Wings. It’s a predicament, for sure. However, I don’t think that the Wings staff is 100 percent confident in Howard’s ability to succeed in the NHL, and surely don’t consider him a full time backup at this point. Combine that with the fact that there isn’t a huge demand for starting goaltenders this off-season and, in the end, I think it looks something like this: Howard gets a few more chances to prove himself during the regular season, but…
  • Staying or going? Conklin is staying, at least until the trade deadline.

That covers off on all of our free agent action, but there is one more area of concern:

Andreas Lilja

  • Lilja is signed to play this year, but after getting his block knocked off during the regular season last year, he hasn’t been able to return to the ice because of persistent headaches. For awhile, it looked as if he was turning the corner, but now he claims that the pain is worse than ever. I hate to say it (and I hope it’s not true), but Lilja sounds like a player who might possibly have played his last game in the NHL. I may very well be wrong about this, but he doesn’t sound like he is making a ton of improvement here and I, for one, do not expect him to be ready for the start of next season.
  • However, if he does somehow make it back to the lineup, it puts Derek Meech in a really tough position. Meech has had a really tough time cracking the starting lineup over the last two years, and if Lilja can return, Meech finds himself squarely on the trade block. However, if Lilja can’t return, then Meech finds himself on more secure footing, as long as he isn’t passed by another guy from the minors.

All in all, it’s going to be a tricky off-season in terms of roster movement. Without a doubt, there will be changes, but the Wings remain in good shape since their core players have all been taken care of. With young, playoff proven talent ready to step up for anyone who leaves town, the Wings should find themselves in a pretty good position when the playoffs fire up again next season.

Leave a comment

Filed under If you didn't know now you know, State of the State

Finding the Way

*Reposted from Winging It In Motown, where you can check out all kinds of great content on the Red Wings and which is also my new home for Wings coverage.
After catching the San Jose Sharks in points last month, the Red Wings have struggled to put together complete performances down the stretch. Will this trend carry over into the playoffs?

(Paul Sancya – AP)

Following last night’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Nashville Predators, it has quickly become apparent that our beloved Red Wings might not be competing as hard as they should be with the playoffs right around the corner. Granted, these guys play and incredibly tough and grueling regular season and will naturally relax late in the year, but last night’s lack of effort late in the game only served to further highlight where the Wings need to improve before the playoffs start. With a pair of games this weekend against those “tradition changers” across Lake Michigan, here are a few things I would like to see happen before the march for the Cup begins.

Intensity – Remember back in February after the Wings beat the Sharks? Everyone was talking about how our intensity was up and we were readying ourselves to make a huge run at them for the West crown. Well, we made that run, caught them, and then pretty much closed up shop. Yes, there were some wins after that, but quite a few of those can be chalked up to the superior scoring talent that the Wings posses, as opposed to the hustle and grind that usually defines this team. Want more proof? How about those 8 goal performances from our division foes Nashville and Columbus? Or the third period meltdown against Calgary? And then, when they have a chance to exact some revenge for the Nashville pounding in February, the Wings play a lackluster game and wind up losing.

It’s time for guys like Kris Draper and Dan Cleary to step up and ramp up the intensity. You better believe that Chicago will bring it and bring it hard this weekend, and the grinders need to find a way to match the intensity of the ‘Hawks. Honestly, I would love to see some good hard hits and some cheap, dirty goals by the Wings. It would serve as a great reminder to these guys on how playoff games are played and won.

Distributed Scoring – Over the last 10 games, Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Henrik Zetterberg, Marian Hossa and Nick Lidstrom have scored 21 of the Wings 32 goals. That’s almost 66%. If the Wings want to win another Cup, they are going to have to distribute the scoring a bit more evenly come playoff time. Guys like Valtteri Filppula, Mikael Samuelsson and Tomas Holmstrom need to step up and find a way to get pucks on net and behind goaltenders.

Defense/Goaltending – Well, duh. This is the no-brainer. We know Chris Osgood will get the start in net, but questions remain about his inconsistent play and whether he can be good enough to lead the Wings to the repeat. The answer: he’s much better when his defense steps it up. When the Wings are hard on the forecheck and forcing neutral zone turnovers, they are probably the best team in the league. But it’s been difficult to stomach some of their recent efforts, where lazy passes and sloppy positioning have left the goalies on an island. If  this doesn’t get shored up, and quickly, a grinding, physical team could find chinks in the armor and potentially break through.

In the end, I would love to see two hard fought games against Chicago this weekend, if for nothing more than to prove that this team still cares and can get themselves motivated when needed. It’s time to set the tone for the playoffs. It’s time to start grinding and imposing our will. The only question that remains is if we will do it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Random Thoughts