The Athletic posts its daily crop of articles around 7 AM each morning, so I’m probably going to post whatever they discuss regarding the Red Wings in a single post most mornings. I don’t want to lean on their paywalls too heavily, and I simply feel that posting separate entries for multiple articles is a little…Spammy.
- This morning, Red Wings beat writer Max Bultman examines the possible “fits” of this year’s unrestricted free agents on defense (click for CapFriendly’s list of UFA defensemen), including Livonia native Torey Krug, who’s been linked to the Red Wings by every Red Wings fan and every Red Wings pundit as a possible Hometown Hero:
The Red Wings will have plenty of cap space to make it work with Krug if they want to. That part won’t be an issue. But Steve Yzerman has been careful in saying that while he’s open to being more aggressive on the free-agent market, “that doesn’t mean going out and spending seven-year max contracts, just to get a player.”
Krug, though, has every bit the pedigree needed to command that kind of deal. At 29, he’d also be in his 30s by the time the Red Wings are real contenders. He was eighth among NHL defensemen in scoring last season, though, and while aging curves eventually come for everybody, that high starting point helps the odds of him remaining a valuable player for the duration of his contract.
The flip side: Krug’s value is significantly helped by his prowess on the power play, where he registered more than half his points this season (28 of 49). It’s fair to wonder if that productivity would dip outside of the dynamic Bruins unit of which he is a part. At the price and term Krug would command, finding out could be a pricey gamble.
This blogger doesn’t believe that Krug has any intention of stepping backward in terms of his chances of winning a Stanley Cup for the sake of coming to Detroit, so I see him as a long shot to head home to play for a rebuilding team.
Add in the fact that the “wining and dining” period no longer exists under the new CBA, and you get a situation on or around November 1st where Krug is going to get at least a half-dozen appealing offers under the flat $82.5 million salary cap, and he’s going to make a quick decision as to where he can best fit on a team whose championship window is open.
IF (and Bultman points out that it’s a BIG “if”) the Red Wings choose to sign a free agent on defense, I look toward the second tier of defensemen, where someone like Carolina’s Sami Vatanen might be a good fit at a much more reasonable cap hit and/or duration of contract. As Bultman suggests, we don’t really know whether
Steve Yzerman and the Red Wings’ management team feel that the team needs to add anyone to their defense given the state of the Wings’ rebuilding effort, and the same could be said for their forward position. If the Wings truly embrace the “play the kids” route, we may only see the Wings add a goaltender, assuming that Jimmy Howard is toast at that position (and I’m not so sure that he won’t be brought back on a cheap 1-year deal).
2. Our other article from The Athletic comes from the ever-inventive Down Goes Brown (a.k.a. Sean McIndoe), who plays “NHL Sudoku” with 10 teams’ all-time best rosters.
There is an official-ish Sudoku website which explains the rules of the game, and here’s what DGB comes up with for the Wings’ best all-time roster under the constraints of Detroit’s preference for low-number players.
Here’s DGB’s assessment of the rules of the game…
Among other rules, the point of sudoku is that you have to fit all the numbers into the grid without any duplicates along any line. So here’s my hockey version: What’s the best six-man starting lineup you can make for a given team out of players whose jersey numbers combine to use each digit once and only once?
It should be simple, right? We’ve got 10 digits to work with, zero through nine, and six positions to fill. You need three forwards, two defensemen and a goalie, and you only get credit for what the player did on that team while wearing that number.
And here are his results for the Red Wings:
Forwards: Gordie Howe (9), Henrik Zetterberg (40), Ray Sheppard (26)
Defense: Nicklas Lidstrom (5), Bryan Watson (18)
Goalie: Vincent Riendeau (37)
McIndoe’s rationale for picking said players follows (paywall), and I suppose his discussion would be more fun if my high school calculus teacher didn’t give me math anxiety.