Unclip the Wings

I decided to take over Ken Holland’s duties for a while. I found that fixing the Wings isn’t that tough after all.They’re already set in goal with Joseph and Legace in Detroit, and Joey MacDonald, Logan Koopmans, Stephan Liv, Jimmy Howard, and Drew MacIntyre waiting in the minors/juniors/Europe/college. The future is definetly bright, since Liv was the best goalie in Sweden last year, and Howard nearly won the NCAA Championship as a sophmore. MacDonald’s play single-handedly sent Marc Lamothe to Russia. MacIntyre didn’t play much last year, but was good when needed. Koopmans had a great season in the WHL to rebound from injury, but who knows what the future will hold for him.




Defense isn’t as bad as some make it out to be, but there still need to be changes. First, I think they gave up too much to get Mathieu Schneider in the first place. Don’t make the same mistake again, let him go!! He is a very good defenseman, but playing with Lidstrom will make anyone look better than they really are. When they’ve already got alot of money committed to Lidstrom and Hatcher, Schneider is a luxury that they don’t really need. Nicklas Kronwall was playing extremely well before he broke his leg. He may be a little inexperienced, but let’s not forget that he went from Grand Rapids to the Wings starting lineup in his first season in North America. In a few more years he will more than replace Schneider anyway, why not expedite the process and save some money at the same time? Next, resign Chelios. Sure, he’s old, but he still does a hell of a job defensively. Pair him with Jamie Rivers, who did a great job defensively when they let him into the lineup this year. That leaves Fischer, Hatcher, and Woolley. Woolley has his moments, but he’s really not that good defensively. I say put Fischer and Hatcher together and see if Hatcher can get Fischer’s career back on track. Hatcher was the example the Wings used for what they wanted out of Fischer when they drafted him. Why not let Hatcher teach Fischer how its done? Plus, two guys that size on a pair should do a nice job of clogging up the defensive zone. Chelios and Woolley will doubtless be gone before too long, and the farm isn’t as good here as it is at other positions. Derek Meech, Danny Groulx, Kyle Quincey, Miroslav Blatak, and possibly Dmitri Bykov all have a shot at being regulars, but for the most part, it will take some time. Fortunately, Lidstrom, Hatcher, and Rivers have some time left. Therefore:




Woolley-Anders Myrvold?

Offense gets a little more difficult. This is where I think the real problems are. As everyone realizes, they have too much skill and not enough grind. They need to clean up the mess at center first. Lang, Yzerman, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Draper, Mowers, and Williams are all natural centers. Obviously, someone is going to have to move. The obvious first choice is to put Zetterberg on the left side with Datsyuk since they work so well together. Williams isn’t really an everyday player, so that clears up a second spot. I think most people would say that Mowers is not an everyday guy either, but I disagree. When he played, he was extremely effective. He has decent speed, and spent some time on the penalty kill when Draper got hurt. Every once in a while he also shows some offensive flash too. I say put him in the lineup, but not as a center. That leaves four centers, Datsyuk, Draper, Lang, and Yzerman. Only three of those make the cut, though. My Detroit team does not include Robert Lang. He is a good player, but I really don’t think he fits with this team. First off, he’s already 33, and he’s only been a regular in the NHL for seven seasons. Second, the impression he gave me during the playoffs was that he can be awesome when he wants to, but he is a lazy player. Yzerman, bum knee and all, outdid him on faceoffs, work, and defense. I would trade him to the Kings for Sean Avery and Mike Cammaleri. This gives the team the irritator they need (McCarty is more of a peacekeeper) and a very good prospect. Avery then becomes the fourth line center.

With things set down the middle, I don’t really need to add anyone to the team, but I can stand to clean house a little. On the left side, I resign Shanahan to play on a line with Yzerman. There are only a handful of players who can do what he does (Roberts, Nash, Iginla), and none of them are going to come cheap. Zetterberg stays with Datsyuk and Maltby with Draper. Mowers takes the left side on the fourth line with Avery.

The right side, as always, is the least talented of the Wings forwards. The four I have picked are by no means bad players, but they’re certainly not Hall of Famers. I put Holmstrom on the first line just because it is where he seemed to fit best. I move Ray Whitney to right wing to play with Datsyuk and Zetterberg. He’s proved in the past that he comes up big when he’s given the ice time, and with those two, we get to see how creative he can be. McCarty remains where he belongs on the Grind Line. It’d be hard to picture anyone else there. The last right wing spot goes to Mathieu Dandenault (thought I forgot him?). He was drafted as a right wing, and it’s time they let him play that position. Their defense is deep enough now that they don’t really need him there, and with Avery and Mowers, he might impress. Yzerman and Shanahan will be gone before too long, but Igor Grigorienko and Jiri Hudler could be in the lineup within a season or two, and Valterri Filppula and Nathan Robinson, and possibly Todd Jackson aren’t too far behind. Draft picks Evan McGrath and Trevor Haskins also have alot of upside. So…





Williams-Cammaleri-Jiri Hudler?

I cut the salaries of Schneider, Hull, Thomas, and Lang, which adds up to nearly 15 million. There’s also the money they save from not having Hasek (about 3 mil) and Boyd Devereaux (1.6 mil). I do have to add Avery’s pay in, but that shouldn’t be a whole lot more than Devereaux’s, so I end up saving 18 million. In doing so, the talent level isn’t depleted so much that it will cause the team to spiral into oblivion. Maybe, just maybe, it gives them a better chance to win. Avery and Kronwall aren’t afraid to get mean, and Dandenault and Mowers are rarely seen giving less than 100%. Greatest team ever? NO! They might just get it done, though.

26 Responses to Unclip the Wings

  1. cgolding says:


    fix? what’s to fix, you had 109 pts last year… there is nothing to “fix.”

    oh yeah… get a coach that doesn’t suck come playoff time, that would be good.

  2. LeafyMcLeaf says:

    I have said it once and I’ll say it again the key to succeeding with a high salary team is a good coach I mean match the records of Scotty Bowman and Bob Hartley against Deve Lewis and Tony Granato. Good thing for the Avs is they got Quenneville now. Toronto get a clue and a good coach. FIRE QUINN FIRE QUINN.

  3. seinfeld says:

    Not putting Jason Williams in the lineup would be foolish. He is a complete player, with great offensive flash, he’s a grinder, and he has speed. He just needs to get his chance. If anything, put him in the lineup as a RW on the 3rd or 4th line, and give him a chance.

    If Detroit were smart, they’d keep him in there.

  4. 19Yzerman says:

    I liked Sean Avery as a Wing.That guy is one agitating player. His down side is being the 2003-2004 league leading in PIM’s.

    I would like to keep Schneider unless Bykov actually returns.

    I would also like to see how Lang would fit in through a full NHL season rather then to write him off because of a poor playoff run due wrist injury.

    I would love to have Cammaleri. You see I live in Ann Arbor and he is one of my personal U of M Favorites. Can you get Morrison also for me PLEASE???

  5. HC16 says:

    The regular season means nothing if you can’t get the job done in the playoffs.

  6. HC16 says:

    Agreed. I was going to say something about getting a new coach, but they’ve already made that decision. I just don’t think Lewis has the common sense to lead this team. How do you expect to win by playing defense when you’re already losing?!

  7. HC16 says:

    I too would like to see Williams in the lineup, but it seems like he’s never able to do anything the first half of the year. He needs to have a good preseason and start putting pucks in the net right out of the gate.

  8. HC16 says:

    Avery does take alot of penalties, but I think that part of that comes from how the team wants him to play. It’s pretty obvious that he can score if he concentrates on it, as shown by his junior and minor careers, and even the season before he was traded. I think LA got him for the sole purpose of putting on some hurt, so he doesn’t work as hard offensively. With the line I put him on, he’s got a good chance of 10-15 goals, maybe more.

  9. HC16 says:

    I just realized that he did score 9 last year, I guess I should pay better attention. Anyway, he’s gonna take penalties, but he also does a pretty good job of getting others to take them.

  10. NYRules says:

    first off…. Lundqvist was the best Swedish goalie last year… at least i would assume since he was the starter for the World Cup or whatever it was

  11. Wills says:

    Goaltending: They are set for sure, especially after what a great playoffs Cujo had. Legace is also one of the best backups in the league. The goalie you have to watch out for is Howard who broke a few NCAA records in only his second year. Howard is going to be the next star goalie for the Wings.

    Defense: They look good here as well. I would keep Lidstrom and Hatcher as their top 2, and then put Chelios with Fisher, and finally have Kronwall with Rivers or Woolley.

    Forwards: This is where I disagree with you. Lang had a great playoff until he broke his hand, and was one of the few Wings forwards that actually went to the net. I wouldn’t even dream of moving this guy. I also like your idea of Dandeault upfront to add some speed. Right now I would have four pairs of forwards Datsyuk with Zetterberg, Lang with Shanny, Draper with Maltby and Mowers with Dandeault. That leaves four spots open, which Holmstrom, McCarty, Yzerman and Whitney can fill in, in whatever order. If the Wings sign a free-agent it will be a forward. They need some size or speed. From the list I like Murray because of his size, Palffy because of his speed and he could make up for Hull’s depature, but one player I’m surprised no one has mentioned is Kovalev who had great chemistry with Lang when they played with each other on the Pens. Right now their salary is at 46 million, but you add on Chelios and Shanny, then the 3 restricted free-agents they still have to sign, your looking at around 54 or 55 million, which leaves 5 million to sign a free-agent.

  12. 19Yzerman says:

    I liked having Avery on the wings and did notice the spark he brings to the bench. He drove my friends wife CRAZY by taking penalties. I used to try and defend his actions by pointing out when he caused touble for opposing players by causing them to take bad penalties and getting them off their game. He can fight too. Unfortunately for Avery his reputation will preceed him and he will wind up get calls he doesn’t even deserve.

  13. Wills says:

    Ludqvist put up slightly better numbers during the regular season, but Liv stole the playoffs away and broke the shutout record while winning the Championship, so I would say Liv had the better all around season, but Ludqvist as a prospect is rated higher then Liv because he is still two years younger then Liv. Ludqvist will also be starting at the World Cup come this fall for Sweden from what I heard.

  14. cgolding says:

    exactly… get a coach who doesn’t get housed come playoff time… nothign wrong with the roster.

  15. Kraut182 says:

    When the Wings picked up Lang they got him for cheap… Why? Because it was a salary dump. I can’t remember the specifics of Lang’s contract but I”m pretty sure he’s is making a pretty penny ($5-6 M) for another long while (3-4 years) and as you pointed out he is 33. This makes him pretty tough to move, for anybody

  16. desertdog says:

    here is what you the wings need to do…sign kovalev instead of shannahan (also save the money and don’t sign schneider) and trade for straka…it wasn’t too long ago these three guys tore it up on the pens…

    here’s what it looks like


    straka-lang-kovalev (boom)

    datsyuk-zetterberg-whitney (agreed)

    maltby-draper-mccarty (of course)

    yzerman-holmstrum- and dandenault if he wouldn’t have to be included to get straka which he probably would in which case insert mowers or williams or whoever


    mix and match them








    i like avery and was sad to see him go, but he just takes way to many bad penalties, rarely takes a player with him to the box, and doesn’t have the offensive ability or size to back it up.

  17. desertdog says:

    right on about kovalev

  18. desertdog says:

    one other final thought: if there is money left over, maybe try to sign sandy mccarthy just to add some serious toughness

  19. wingsrock34 says:

    in the net i think the wings are good now and set for some time

    on the D, part of me wants to sign Schneider cuz the wings gave up alot to get him but if he asks for too much $ i guess i cant blame them for not signing him also i would not mind if Bykov came back i thought he had a good year when he played for the wings

    on the forwards if the wings dont sign shanny the only person i would want them to get is glen murrey but i think nthey will get a deal done with shanny. This is a move i havent seen anyone talk about but i think would fit the wings needs well sign Jason Wiemer ( I WANT SOME WINGS FANS TO COMMENT AND GIVE SOME THOUGHTS ON THE WIEMER PART IF ANYTHING) he can score some, hes physical, and can play good D and I SAY NO CHANCE IN HELL THEY TRADE LANG im not goin to bash u but dude i dont think theres a chance in hell they would do that after they got him that cheap and the short time they had him and he got hurt in the playoffs i think they will give him more time to show what he can do

  20. Wills says:

    Wiemer would look good with Draper and Maltby.

  21. Freeze says:

    Your Red Wing lineup is a recipe for more playoff mediocrity.

    The Red Wings are not built for the playoffs. There are too many small forwards who are easy to manhandle (i.e., hold, tackle, obstruct, interfere with, elbow, hook, trip, board, and slash) without penalty, of course, in the playoffs. We’re talking about hockey with Canadian refs. Now do we all understand the “rules” for the playoffs?

    Lang – Keep him. He was Detroit’s best player in the playoffs until he started playing with a broken hand.

    Shanahan – I don’t care if the Wings sign him or not. I’m beginning to question his heart – a no-show for the playoffs. With 3 Cup rings, this guy is very satisfied.

    Dandenault – trade bait for a big, fast forward who can bang and score. He plays a lot of positions, but none of them well.

    Whitney – a perfect example of the undersized forward the Wings don’t need – a no-show for the playoffs. He has a no-trade clause that he would need to waive to move. The Wings are stuck with him.

    Williams – some folks think this kid has talent. Let’s cash it in for a big forward who can bang and score.

    Mowers – too small for the playoffs – trade him.

    McCarty – trade him. He’s outlived his usefulness in Detroit.

    Maltby, Draper, Holmstrom, Zetterbeg, Datsyuk – keep them.

    Schneider – will not resign with the Wings. He figures if Lidstrom is worth $10 million and he had better stats that Lidstrom last season, then he should easily be worth $5-6 million. Detroit’s offering $3.75 million. He’s gone.

    Woolley – Keep him. The Wings will need him after Schneider bolts.

    Kronwall – promote him to full time in Detroit.

    Fischer – Detroit’s most valuable trade bait. He’s big, strong, has all the tools. He just makes bad decisions. Constantly. Let’s trade him for a big, fast forward who can bang and score.

    Rivers – Keep him.

    Hatcher – will be better next year. He will train for more quickness instead of just strength.

    Chelios – Bring him back. You have to love his heart even if you personally hate him.

    Lidstrom – an icon in Detroit.

    Ditto Yzerman, even though his skills are fading.

    Bykov – a good depth defenseman, but why leave Europe now?

    Joseph, Legace, Howard, Liv, etc.. – Detroit’s strong point. Who needs Hasek? Joseph played well enough to be a champion. His teammates didn’t.

    Free Agent – sign Glen Murray, maybe Chris Simon if he’s still out there. There’s talk that Detroit will go after Matvichuk if Schneider leaves.

    Prospects – Grigorenko (small, fast forward who can score. Will he ever be 100%? Hudler (very small, fast forward who can make plays and score occassionally). It wouldn’t bother me if the Wings packaged these guys in a trade for……what else….a big, fast forward who can bang and score.

  22. Havlat_hasit says:

    I thought Zetterberg only played left wing. I agree with your assesment on schneider. still more grit needed.

  23. SabresAreCool says:

    good article….i could see the wings signing one free agent forward. whether it is a resigning of shanahan or a guy like glen Murray. Schneider will probably sign somwhere else unless he lowers his salary demands, but on another team he could be there stud defenseman but on detroit he’s just one of many awesome defenseman

  24. PuckMucker says:

    Not too bad…

    I agree, the Wings should keep Shanny, if they cannot, I think they should sign Murray AND Deadmarsh…Murray has the game that Shanny has lost…and Deadmarsh has a TON of upside IF he can overcome his concussion problems…

    I would like to see the Red Wings retain Schneider, at least on a one or two year deal…he had the best season of all the wings blueliners and displayed a mean streak in the playoffs like he had never shown before. But if they are unable to retain him, then it shouldn’t be catastrophic. I like him and I don’t agree that he is expendable. Wooley, on the other hand, should be cut loose…yes, he had a fine season before his injury, but I think that was a dying gasp. Rivers and Kronwall need to be worked into the lineup more regularly and Fischer needs to rebound from a HORRIBLE playoffs.

    I also expect Hatcher to be fully recovered and not appear to be trudging in mud, but actually skating on ice.

    Chelios has one year left.

    another addition up front that makes more sense than anyother and surprises me that no one has pointed it out already, is Segei Brylin. He is ultra-responsible defensively and capable on offense. he would fit well on the Datsyuk Zetterberg line and when Grigorenko is ready, could form a potent Russian 3, allowing Zetterberg to move to Center once Stevie Y retires…

  25. Freeze says:

    Brylin is a pretty decent player, but his 5’10” frame works against him on the Wings, who have too many small and talented players. I think the Wings need more size, speed and grit.

  26. Blue_Maverick71 says:

    all i have to say is this guy who wrote all this must not really pay too much attention to the team in whole and money. btw i know this is late but Cujo’s 8 mil a year isn’t really what the wings need so they will drop his ass.

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