Update 6:18 PM: Per the Free Press, “Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski is mulling retirement but has not yet told the team of a decision.”
Update #2 6:19 PM: Added at the bottom is a list of free agents the Wings might be looking at. Thanks to awould on KK.
Wow. Per Nick Kypreos and Darren Dreger, Wings D man Brian Rafalski will announce his retirement this Wednesday. Kypreos cites injuries as the main reason, notably his ACL problems (as he played the playoffs without an ACL.
I’m nothing short of stunned by this. Per the guys are The Production Line, this leaves the Wings with an extra six million in the bank for a total of around 21 million to spend next season. Perhaps this means a run at a big time FA (still don’t believe that Weber has any chance to become a winged wheel wearer next season, but I can dream), but notably, it is more important than ever that Mr. Lidstrom returns next season. Kronwall appears ready to step up to an even bigger role, but he’s not ready to run the #1 line alone.
Perhaps this means that the Wings can look at a trade for a big name as well. Either way, this is looking to be an important off-season for Mr. Holland.
Anyways, the Wings are losing a guy who scored 48 points in 63 games and appear to be a great team player. His defensive game slacked a bit in the past few seasons, but his offensive game, especially on the PP, never wavered. You could tell that in the playoffs something wasn’t quite right with him, as he only put up three points, but he still played solid.
I wish the man well and thank him for his time in the Red and White. Rafalski’s a stand up guy and the league is truely poorer without him.
As noted above, here’s a list of FA defensemen that the Wings could be interested in. Another guy who could be possible is Zach Parise…which would be incredible. Not only is he a hell of a player, I hit on his girlfriend my senior year of high school. Yup.
Anyone in particular strike your interest?