The first day of NHL free agency begins on July 1, which is just weeks away, and expect the Detroit Red Wings to be in the middle of it all. Without a doubt, this will be the most crucial off-season in some time. The last time that the Red Wings struck it rich was in the summer of 2001 and we all know what happened.
The Red Wings added more talent to their already star-ladened squad when they went “Stanley Cup or Bust,” trading for All-World goalie Dominik Hasek and signing free agents Brett Hull and Luc Robitalle. The end result: the 2001-02 Red Wings, who are among the greatest teams in NHL history, skated their way to their third Cup in six seasons.
Now I’m not saying that they they will go for players that have the talent of Hull and Robitaille, whom are both Hall of Famers (Hasek will be elected in his first year of eligibility). Times have changed since 2001, especially with all 30 teams under the salary cap. The Red Wings have plenty of cap room and are in line to land two or three key free agents.
New Jersey Devils forward and team captain, Zach Parise, should also be on the Red Wings’ radar. Parise will be the head of the 2012 free agent class as he will be on the open market July 1. He would be a more-than welcomed addition to any NHL club. Besides, imagine Parise playing on a line with Pavel Datsyuk; not a bad one-two punch, eh?
As much as I want to think that Parise will come to Detroit and play for the Red Wings, there is a red flag. The problem is that his Devils are in the Eastern Conference Finals against the New York Rangers. His stock has risen dramatically in the playoffs, especially against the Philadelphia Flyers, where he excelled on both sides of the ice. If he leads the Devils to the Stanley Cup, I see the chances of him signing with the Red Wings between slim and none. Slim will leave the building if Commissioner Gary Bettman tells Parise to come and get the Cup. If the Devils are eliminated by the Rangers, expect the Red Wings’ front office to open up the checkbook and say to Camp Parise, “How much?”.
This will be a crucial off-season for Red Wings’ general manager Ken Holland. Team Captain Nicklas Lidstrom remains undecided if he will return for his 21st NHL season and it’s Holland’s job to not start a domino effect if Lidstrom retires. Whenter or not Lidstrom comes back, if Holland signs Parise and makes serious pitches to Ryan Suter and maybe Alexander Semin, the Red Wings are back in business to make a run at another Stanley Cup. What do you think?
About the Author: Alex lives in Hockeytown, USA. He is a huge Red Wings fan going back to the 1985-86 season when they were dead last with 40 points. He has seen the transition from the 'Dead Wings' to one of the top franchises in sports. You can also follow him at twitter.com/alexmuscat73.