Misconduct

On Free Agent Splashes

With about fourteen hours before NHL free agency opens up, Hockeytown anxiously awaits what Red Wings' general manager Ken Holland will do to address the holes in the team's lineup.

Holland has gone on the record saying that he's looking for a defenseman to help offset the loss of Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart, possibly a top-six forward (especially if Jiri Hudler bolts) and possibly a goaltender (either to back up Jimmy Howard in Detroit or to take Joey MacDonald's spot in Grand Rapids, with MacDonald as Howard's backup).

There is an expectation that the Red Wings will make a "splash" given those holes to fill and approximately $20 million of cap space to use. The primary targets are expected to be Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter and New Jersey forward Zach Parise.

Here's what terrifies me: Considering who Detroit has already lost this summer, would signing Suter even be a splash?

That move seems more like signing Brian Rafalski when Mathieu Schneider left the team, or Curtis Joseph to replace Dominik Hasek when he retired the first time.

As much as we talk about the Red Wings being big spenders, aside from Marian Hossa in 2009, those are the kind of moves they've made since the last lockout. Their big signings are still somewhat lateral overall.

To make a splash, the Wings can do no less than sign both Suter and Parise. I'd love to see it but I'm less and less convinced that it's possible,

I've decided to lower my expectations. There's no replacing Lidstrom and it's hard to replace Stuart, but it's impossible to do that by promoting from within given the Red Wings' current blueline. That means that Suter is a must.

Parise? I hope so but it's not enough without Suter. I'd rather Suter and Alex Semin or Shane Doan than Parise without Suter.

Of course, 24 hours from now I might be saying something else entirely. We'll see what Holland does for us.

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