Originally written on Nightmare on Helm Street  |  Last updated 2/12/13
I know it's early, but its always fun to speculate. What will the Red Wings look like in 13-14? There are some questions that need to be answered, mainly how can they upgrade on defense, and can they keep both Filppula and Brunner? Who's out, and who's in? Take the jump for more speculation. Looking at CapGeek we can see that Kenny will have to make a few decisions on how to proceed with a few internal moves. Currently they have 17 players signed at a total of $46.4M. With the cap expected to be at $64.3M that gives them roughly $17.9M to sign 2-3 defensemen, 2-3 forwards and 1 goalie. Lets start with the goalie spot since its the easiest of them all. Jimmy needs a new deal and it would be highly unlikely that he won't get a new one before the season ends. As excited as I am about Mrazek he's still very young and most likely will be Jimmy's backup in a few years. Jimmy isn't going anywhere. When we get to the forwards that's where things start to get a bit tricky. So lets look at what we have internally first. Filppula, Brunner, Miller and Cleary are UFA's. as much as Cleary has given us over the last half decade is commendable, and KH is loyal, but I don't see him being brought back so knock that one off the list. Miller is one of our best on the PK and is solid 4th liner, but space is limited and Eaves has one more year on his deal and is basically the same player only with a better offensive game. Now we get to the high end skill forwards. Filppula is amazing when he's on his game, and is one of my favorite players on the team, not to mention his hair is worth a contract all on its own. If he were to test the waters it's highly likely that many teams would be interested at a substantially higher cap hit than the Wings would like to pay. I think he's a loyal guy and would rather stay with the Wings if he can get around $4M. Brunner is a big question mark. It would be a huge surprise to me if he didn't want to stay seeing as he has had success playing with Z and most likely can be one of our top performers as he has been already. He has a $1.35M hit right now, and will likely demand a large raise. What will that figure be? Defense is a major concern. Smith, Kindl and Lashoff are all RFA's who will all be brought back. Lashoff has proven he can hang with the big boys but would likely be the 7th or 8th man on a fully healthy roster. White and Huskins are UFA's, the latter will probably be a one and done leaving White as the only true question. He's good, but was better when TPH was his partner. Does he get brought back? Probably. The UFA market for defensemen is pretty weak. Which brings me to whos available? Ill stick with defense since thats probably the main concern at this point. Some of the top guys are also very close to the ends of their careers, I don't see Gonchar, Zidlicky or Hamrlik as options. There are a few that could help, but none are 1/2 guys. Ryan Whitney, Robyn Regehr or Visnovsky could be upgrades, but would they be worth the price in a tapped out market? I'm not sure we would need to add to the forward crop if Brunner and Fil are back. We have a strong list of prospects waiting their turn as well, but there are some big names. Iginla, Semin, Getzlaf, Perry, Clowe, Antropov, Gagne and Weiss to name a few. There's options. To sum it up, Detroit doesn't look like it will change much and they may be able to lose some dead weight to go along with having a nice chunk of cap space as well. Follow me on Twitter Jordan_Reis
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