Originally posted on The Detroit Sports Site  |  Last updated 7/8/13
After signing Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss, the Detroit Red Wings are tight against the salary cap and maxed out on roster space. So, as GM Ken Holland openly admits, there are some moves on the horizon. The starting points for the rest of the Red Wings’ offseason are in the spotlight for our latest Roundtable: 1. Which players should the Red Wings move before the season starts? Max DeMara: The Red Wings should look to trade Kyle Quincey and a few fringe forwards, such as Joakim Andersson or Dick Axelsson, perhaps in a deal for defensive help. Quincey should be a straight salary dump, as he has an inflated contract for the low-quality game he brings, and a player like Brian Lashoff could provide better contributions for a much lower price. Andersson and Axelsson could be expendable, given Detroit’s full list of contributors up front, and either are skilled enough to bring a nice defensive return for a trade partner in desperation of skilled play makers up front. Rob Starrs: I will have to agree with Max and say that Kyle Quincey is a good candidate to try and move. He’s a big veteran defenseman that could do well elsewhere — he just hasn’t gotten on the right track since the Wings brought him back. They have the bench to fill his spot, and whomever they choose to fill the roster with will come at a much cheaper price. Another guy that could be more difficult to move, but should be looked at is Johan Franzen. It’s a polarizing topic, but he has been an underperforming player. Yes, I know all about his playoff stat line, but in my opinion he has been an utter disappointment in the last two years. The idea that Mike Babcock wants to get quicker only strengthens this thought. It’s not the most popular choice, he’s one of my favorites and it’s probably not going to happen. But it makes sense to me, and the return could be huge. Andrew Tomlinson: It is easy to just cast off the most expendable pieces like Patrick Eaves, but the real truth is the Red Wings are in a perfect spot, as they can use some of their better pieces to further improve their squad. Detroit is looking to acquire a defenseman and have yet to find one of value in either the free agent or trade market. That piece can come by giving up one of the better forwards on the roster, to sweeten the deal, to steal a body from another team’s roster. Sure, it would be easy to just dump players for draft picks, but if they use their forward depth to net them a new defenseman, they can kill two birds with one stone. People might not like the idea of giving up a top player like say, Justin Abdelkader, Andersson or Gustav Nyquist, but dealing a collection them will open the way for Tomas Tatar and a solid defeneman. While, personally I do not like the idea of dealing Nyquist, Abdelkader and Andersson are two guys I could easily part with for a player that can fill the role left by Brad Stuart. Chris Burke: I think we’re missing the obvious here. Ken Holland hinted before the draft that he might try to move Jordin Tootoo, and the Wings explored a buyout of Mikael Samuelsson. So, those are my top two options. Getting rid of Samuelsson would require the perfect trade partner: a team below the cap floor with a need for a veteran forward. But the Wings would deal him for next to nothing, should the opportunity arise. Beyond those two players, I think you have to look at the third- and fourth-liners up front. Cory Emmerton’s an option (even though he’s cheap), with Darren Helm coming back and Andersson excelling last year. So is either Eaves or Drew Miller, who play very similar roles. 2. Is re-signing Danny Cleary a good move or bad? AT: It is a terrible move. I mentioned opening the door for Tatar earlier, and all resigning Cleary does is close that door for him. The young forward was the best player in the Calder Cup Playoffs and, in all honesty, should have been on the Red Wings’ playoff squad. Clearly is a nice “leader”, but the Wings just added two of those in Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss. Cleary played well in the playoffs, but Babcock said he wanted a team that can play a faster, higher-tempo game, Cleary can’t do that. It is time to move on and open up the ice for younger, faster and ultimately better players. RS: Simply put: bad. I just don’t get why they are bringing him back. He is slow and hasn’t produced much of anything lately. I think Andrew said it best when he pointed out that Tatar will be hurt most by this. The farm system is stocked with quick, young forwards, so it is time to move on from Cleary. I hope he can have a great offseason of training and maybe come into camp a new man, but at his age what can he really change about his game? CB: I’ll play the devil’s advocate role here, I guess. For me, this all comes down to contract. If the Wings can get Cleary done for two years and something less than $3 million per year, I think it’s worth doing, just for what he can bring to the table in the playoffs alone. I might not want Cleary in the lineup during the regular season over Tatar or Nyquist or even Miller, but his game fits the postseason more than several current Wings, including Tootoo, Samuelsson and so on. MD: It’s a huge mistake to re-sign Cleary. As Andrew pointed out, if there were reportedly questions about Vincent Lecavalier’s pace, why don’t the same rules apply for one of the slowest Red Wings in 2013? With plenty of young talent in the system, Detroit should be looking to break in some rookies on their lower lines rather than keep Cleary. With a few new veterans in the fold, the Red Wings won’t be hurting for grit or leadership, especially in the playoffs with Alfredsson playing the Dallas Drake desperation role. There’s no role for Cleary himself on this particular roster, and Detroit would be better served to add a player like Brenden Morrow if they felt like they had to add some additional sandpaper up front.
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