Wings Wrapup

If one took a casual look at Hockeytown, they’d be forced to draw the conclusion that the wheels were falling off.

While this may be a premature, fatalistic way of looking at things, it is definately true that things so far this offseason are not going as well as usual within the Detroit organization.

Contract negotiations with Sergei Fedorov have stalled, and it now appears obvious that the Wings will let him test the free agent waters.

“We made what we feel was a good offer in November, an offer that would have put Sergei right with Nicklas Lidstrom ($10 million a season) and made Sergei one of the highest-paid players in the league,” Holland said. “He didn’t accept it. Things have changed dramatically. We didn’t win a playoff game. We all have to take the blame for that, the front office, the coaching staff, the players.

“We’re not going to cut payroll, but we’re not going to increase it.”

Holland said he and Brisson continue to talk, but there has been no progress regarding Fedorov’s contract.

“Nothing is going on,” Holland said.

I personally am not extraordinarily worried about Fedorov becoming a free agent, b/c I don’t think there’s a team out there that can afford to pay him more than 7-8 million dollars a year. And if there is, well, we just saved 10 million dollars we can spend on someone else. Sergei Fedorov will not make or break this organization.

Meanwhile, contract talks on Igor Larionov and Darren McCarty are also going absolutely nowhere.

Igor Larionov reportedly turned down the Wings latest offer, a one year deal for one million dollars. Larionov has decided that he would like to play one more season, and he would prefer it to be with the Wings, though he hasn’t ruled out leaving through free agency altogether. It is believed that if he would leave Detroit, his top destination would be Vancouver, where he put up 3 good seasons in the early 90’s.

Larionov put up 43 points last season playing on the 4th line and definately would be worth resigning at anything up to 1.25 million dollars or a valuable pickup for any team. He was one of our best players in the playoffs this year, short as they were.

McCarty’s agent has reportedly made a contact offer to the Red Wings, and the Wings have turned it down. Holland says the Wings have offered 3 contracts ranging from 2-4 years. They originally offered 2 million dollars per year and have raised their offer to 2.3 million. Morris, McCarty’s agent, is reportedly asking for 2.7-3 million dollars.

Personally, I don’t buy that McCarty is worth 3 million dollars. I’d love to see him back in Detroit, but that’s pushing things a bit. However, if we need to dish out an additional million dollars, so be it. He’s an integral part of the team, and we’re offering Fedorov about 4 million dollars per year more than he’s worth, so what’s a paltry million to keep a fan favorite like McCarty?

A new bit of information that disturbs me is that stand out rookie Dmitri Bykov has reportedly signed a contract with a club back in Russia for 2 years at 500,000 dollars a year. His agent says this contract is a fall back plan if a deal cannot be reached with the Red Wings, who have offered two possible contracts, a 1 year and 3 year, that Ken Holland reportedly called “fair”.

From the sounds of things, Bykov wants to return to Detroit, but if the two sides cannot reach an agreement before July 15th, then the contract w/ Russia takes precedent over any contract he signs with the Wings. Bykov’s agent, Don Meehan, is quoted as saying, “In his heart, he expects to play in Detroit next season and my instructions from him are to make that happen. It’s now up to me and Ken Holland to work out a deal.”

Bykov was an integral part of the Wings defense last year. He was rock steady and looks as if he will develop into a very solid NHL defenseman. He played well next to Nick Lidstrom, and it would be a tremendous blow to the Wings if they lost his services next season. This worries more than the other contract negotiations, as the Wings defense can hardly afford to lose a player like Bykov, whereas our forwards can survive an hit or two and still flourish.

Woolley is likely to test free agency, though I wouldn’t mind the Wings bringing him back. He played very well for us, though he reportedly will have to take a pay cut in order to stay. He likely will be able to make more money elsewhere, and would be a great pickup for any team.

The NHL draft is Saturday, so I guess Holland gets a day off. Alright, the Wings status going into the draft isn’t quite that bleak, but they have only one pick in the first three rounds of the deepest draft in years. With any luck, that depth will continue into the following rounds, where the Wings historically have had great success in securing tremendous players. Who will be this year’s Datsyuk/Bykov/Zetterburg/Holmstrom/etc/etc/etc? We won’t know for another couple of years.

That about wraps up the Wings offseason report thus far. Most of the information gathered comes from detnews.com. I’m normally not into these “let’s just quote a major news source”articles, but it seems like a plethora of new information about the Wings contract negotiations was all released at once, and it was worth compiling it into one article (and I’m getting sick to hell of reading about the draft). That is all.