Players We Need to Keep and Let Go

Now that the offseason is here, let’s take a look at whose contract is up and who needs to be bought out. This will be an interesting summer, to say the least. We’ve got a superstar to keep, the cap is going down, a bunch of UFAs, RFAs and some possible buyouts. The UFA market seems poor right now, but a few compliance buyouts would liven things right up.

More after the jump:

I won’t make many suggestions, if any, about how much so and so is worth, because I can never guess that accurately. Mostly because I never get raises where I work, so I’m surprised when other people do. Then again, my job is meaningless and I don’t do much. If I didn’t show up, no one would even know I was gone.

Restricted Free Agents:

But enough about me! Let’s talk about the Wings. The RFAs are the easiest, in my opinion. Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith all need to be resigned. Nyquist will likely cost the most of those four, but he’s also the best player on that list. Smith sucked almost all year, but he has way too much talent to let go of. It would be funny if Smith and the Wings couldn’t agree on a deal and he asked for an arbitrator to decide. Holland would show a 45 minute highlight video of Smith in his own zone and the arbitrator would order Smith to play for the Toledo Walleye.

Unrestricted Free Agents:

Valtteri Filppula wants $5,000,000 a year. Since he wants that money in exchange for playing hockey and not modeling hair products, I’d say that’s too much. In reality, I wouldn’t be willing to offer him what he was making before. Having Nyquist on the third line while Val played in the top 6 was a mistake. Nyquist is better than Filppula, so letting someone else overpay Val would be the way to go.

Damien Brunner was on pace for 40 goals (in an 82 game season) early on, but struggled later. He was good in the playoffs, though, despite being hurt. He’s another guy that I think belongs in the top 6 and will certainly be there if he’s strong enough. His salary is the biggest question this offseason. Is he content to take on a small raise to prove he can be consistent, or does he want the big bucks now?

Dan Cleary gave it his all in the playoffs. He hustled as best he could and put up points at a much better rate than I could have imagined, so I think he’ll be an asset wherever he ends up. I just don’t think that place will be Detroit. Tatar, Nyquist and Andersson need to be in Detroit next year and there just aren’t enough spots for everyone. If a spot does open up for Cleary, great. Just let that spot be on the third or fourth line.

Drew Miller is probably gone, too. He was great for this team in every game he played, but just like with Cleary, there just aren’t enough spots. He’ll contribute wherever he goes, though.

Ian White is the only UFA defenseman we have and I’d say it’s pretty much written in stone that he’s leaving. Even if he was offered a contract, why sign it? No one wants to get paid to just watch hockey. That’s a lie. I want to be paid to just watch hockey. In a way I already am. Great, now I’m Corey Emmerton and Ian White. Kill me. So yeah, White is gone.

Players needing an extension:

That would be Pavel Datsyuk. Lately he’s been saying that he wants to stay here for many more years. Since I want him to stay for many more years, this news thrills me. However, until a contract has been signed, I will not celebrate.


Ken Holland seems like the kind of guy who will go out of his way to be loyal to players who have been loyal to him. He’s even been loyal to players who have turned his back on him. But hockey is a business and the salary cap demands that some players must be taken off the books.

Mikael Samuelsson has to be the top target for a buyout. His salary of $3,000,000 is too high, especially when you consider that he was constantly injured and barely produced any points when he did play.

Todd Bertuzzi’s name has come up a time or two. Bert would be great to have in the shootout and not having him out there probably cost Detroit a few points in the standings. But $2,075,000 is a lot of money for shootouts. I say keep him, though.

Jordin Tootoo? He doesn’t make that much and I think we’ll need more guys like him in the east, not fewer. Keep him.

We already discussed Mule. He stays.

Kyle Quincey’s cap hit will be $3,775,000 next season. His salary and Sammy’s combined is slightly higher than Pavel Datsyuk’s. If Smith and Kindl are kept, the Wings have eight defensemen under contract. Considering all the injuries they tend to have, having all eight might be smart, but at $3,775,000 it’s tempting to cut ties.

Speaking of injuries, Carlo Colaiacovo will have a cap hit of $2,500,000. I think he’s worth that when he’s playing. The key is him staying healthy. If Holland isn’t confident that he’ll stay in one piece for 82 games, buying him out might be smart.

What about Ericsson? $3,250,000 next season, but I think he’s worth that. Durable, big and he’s gotten better over the years. I think he fits well with Kronwall. Keep him.

Another option is buying out Jonas Gustavsson. I liked his signing, but he gives me a 60 minute heart attack when he plays. If Howard struggles or he’s hurt, Gustavsson has to save our season. FML…

But at just $1,500,000 there wouldn’t be much as far as cap savings goes. If he’s truly terrible, put him in GR like they did to Conklin and bring someone else up (Not Mrazek).

Other buyouts we could snipe:

Until players have actually been bought out, this is all speculation, of course, but I think the writing is on the wall for some of these guys.

Marian Hossa could be one. Still have that #81 hiding in the closet, collecting dust? Chicago might have to buy him out just because of the penalty they’ll face when he inevitably retires early. Maybe not this year, but certainly by next year, Chicago has to buy him out or his retirement would cripple their franchise. Which would be awesome. Keep him, Chicago! But if not, sign here, Marian!

Brad Richards will be making $6,666,667 until 2020. Damn. And he was a healthy scratch in the playoffs when his team was facing elimination. If he’s bought out, he could be brought in to replace Val, Cleary or Abby on the top 6.

Anyone else out there that could be bought out that you’d like on the team?

So to recap, Brunner, Nyquist, Andersson, Smith and Kindl need to stay. Filppula, Cleary, Miller and White are all but gone. Buy out Sammy and Quincey or Colaiacovo. Sign a bought out player or two.

What do you think?