For the fifth straight season the Red Wings will not be in the Conference Finals. No logical fan should be surprised by their first round ouster by the Bruins. The Bruins were the worst possible team for the Wings to play against in the playoffs in my opinion. Now the question is where do the Wings go from here? Their UFA's are Legwand, Samuelsson, Bertuzzi, Cleary, Alfredsson, Quincey and Gustavsson. Their RFA's are Dekeyser, Tatar and Sheahan. Resigning their RFA's long term is a must. Cleary, Samuelsson, Bertuzzi for sure have to go no question about that.
The Legwand trade looks bad after giving up a 2nd round pick and Jarnkrok. I think with a healthy Weiss that means most likely Legwand is gone. Quincey for being the whipping boy for Red Wings fans did not play that bad this season and also was pretty solid in the playoffs but I think Quincey played himself to a bigger contract and will sign elsewhere. Alfredsson I believe will return IF he wants to continue playing. Gustavsson from what I have heard the Wings want him back because they for some reason still want Mrazek in the minors. My personal feeling is let the Monster sign elsewhere and bring Mrazek up full time or make a trade which I will discuss later.
On July 1st when free agency begins the Wings need to sign a defensemen my personal feeling is Matt Niskanen should be the Wings number 1 priority. The Wings should also sign either Ryan Callahan or Tomas Vanek although I think Vanek is staying in Montreal and will cost way to much. The Wings going to the offseason will have just under 20 million dollars in cap space. By signing Callahan and Niskanen for 5 million each that leaves the Wings with just under 10 million and also figuring in the RFA's new contracts most likely the Wings finish with about 2 million dollars left under the cap.
If Alfredsson decides to play again obviously the need for Callahan goes away but for sure the Wings need to get a top 4 defensemen. The trade route could also be used but as they say to get something you have to give up something. Sadly teams wont be asking for Cleary, Bertuzzi, etc. Teams want Nyquist, Dekeyser, Mantha, Tatar, etc. If the Wings are going to make a trade I feel they need to go after a defensemen. In conclusion assuming no trades are made this is what I hope the 2014-2015 Wings look like.
1st line- Zetterberg, Dats, Callahan/Alfredsson ; 2nd line- Franzen, Nyquist, Tatar; 3rd line- Abby, Weiss/Helm (whichever one is healthy for once) Jurco; 4th line- Sheahan, Andersson, Mantha.
Defense is Kronwall, Niskanen; Ericsson, Dekeyser; Smith, Sproul/Oulette.
Goaltenders- Howard, Mrazek
Weiss and Helm are too injury prone to commit to either one right now as the 3rd line center. I think Mantha could and will beat out Drew Miller to earn a spot on this team.
What do you guys think? Am I off the mark with my hopes? Feel free to comment and follow me on twitter @wingfan1987.