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Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings: Out With The Old And In With The…er, Older

Detroit Red Wings

Nick Lidstrom is unstoppable. He’ll be 42 next season, and yet has signed up for another year of physical exertion, puck-flying danger, and a summer of working out in the gym, forcing the body to work harder than it probably should, and being the captain and leader of the Detroit Red Wings.

I know we have a history of taking on veterans (some even refer to the rink as the Joe Louis Retirement Home!), which doesn’t seem a bad thing when you look at Hasek, Drake, Hull, Robitaille and the likes, so older players must feel like they still have a chance at a cup with the Wings. We seem to have a nice little mix of both youth and experience right now, since Abdelkader, Tatar, Mursak, Emmerton and Helm are all pushing for permanent roster spots alongside Holmstrom, Franzen, Cleary, Datsyuk, Kronwall, Stuart, Bertuzzi and Zetterberg, who are all over 30.

However, trying to get that mix is tough. Who do you keep on as your nominated veterans, and who do you let go to give the younger players their chances?

Obviously, Lidstrom is in for as long as he wants to keep playing. The man is a machine. There was a comment last year about him being the perfect hockey player, and it’s difficult to dispute that. The rest however, are a bit touch and go.

Kris Draper (40)

Drapes had a decent season last year. His career has been exceptional. His first 22 NHL games were with the Winnipeg Jets, and the other 1,357 have been all in a Wings uniform. With 4 Stanley Cups and a Selke Trophy to his name, Draper has been Mr Reliable for many seasons. He is a Free Agent this year, and Ken Holland has already said he doesn’t think there’s a contract on its way to Draper. Much as though I’d be sad to lose him, I think it’s time to go. What I will say though, is that I hope he retires, rather than drifts down into the AHL and ECHL etc. The man has bled the Winged Wheel for 18 years, and needs to go out with dignity.

VERDICT – FREE AGENCY (HOPEFULLY RETIREMENT)

Mike Modano (41)

Modano arrived during last summer, with much pomp and circumstance. His return to Michigan was much heralded, but Mike played only half a season. 40 games, 15 points, and Wings fans were feeling a little deflated. Make no mistake, Modano is a class act. Every shift he takes, he just oozes experience. He collects the puck a lot, since he seems to know where it will be at any time, and although the slashed wrist shortened his season considerably, I still think we could get some results if he was kept on. However, with other forwards pushing into the bottom 6 forwards, Modano is likely to be shown the door.

VERDICT – FREE AGENCY (BUT I WOULDN’T COMPLAIN IF HE WAS KEPT ON)

Chris Osgood (38)

Ozzie’s season was good, bad, and ugly. From reaching his personal milestone of 400 wins, to his poor form surrounding that time, to the injuries that kept him to just 10 games started, Osgood’s season was one to forget. The injuries take longer to heal as you get older, and Osgood is struggling to get himself fit again. In the last couple of seasons, Osgood form has struggled, and he’s become the butt of many jokes. Although he’s stated his intention to return, I know Holland has made it clear that Howard is the no.1, and either MacDonald or a Free Agent will take the backup slot. Osgood will forever be remembered by the Red Wings faithfully, particularly for his playoff performances, but I honestly think it’s time to go. Take your 3 Cups, 2 Jennings, and record of one of few goalies to have scored a legitimate goal, and ride off into the sunset.

VERDICT – FREE AGENCY (HOPEFULLY RETIREMENT)

Ruslan Salei (36)

Rusty is one player I had my doubts about, but really came good. The physical defenceman is a big guy at 6’2” and 215lbs. His play this year was much better than I’d anticipated. Salei dressed for 75 games last season, and with 10 points, as the 6th D-man, that’s not bad going, considering the amount of ice-time he would get in between Lidstrom, Rafalski, Kronwall, Stuart and Ericsson. He has a lot of heart and was visibly upset when he and Jakub Kindl started alternating games near the end of the season.

VERDICT – RETAIN (1 YEAR DEAL)

Now that I’ve carefully and logically decided the fates of these players I’m starting to warm to the theme. If only I had a team to be GM of…anyway, got to go, there’s a guy from Winnipeg on the phone…

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Discussion

2 comments for “Detroit Red Wings: Out With The Old And In With The…er, Older”

  1. Interested in adding a 39-year old Jaromir Jagr?!

    Posted by adminNo Gravatar | June 22, 2011, 10:17 am
  2. Well quite! I guess if we’re sacking off both Draper and Modano then we promote up Mursak and bring in Jagr. The cap space freed by Rafalski could be useful. Plus there’s still the trades to be completed at the draft.

    Exciting times!

    Posted by rocknrollnobodyNo Gravatar | June 22, 2011, 3:38 pm

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