Detroit and the Free Agency market

By Zoran Manojlovic

Detroit and the Free Agency market

This years free agency market is probably the most talanted ever, and the most expensive. There are players that will get new contracts worth up to $10 million, like Joe Sakic, Rob Blake, Jeremy Roenick, Alexander Mogilny, Pierre Turgeon. But there are also solid players that are less expensive like Jason York, Mike Sillinger, Donald Audette, Martin Lapointe.

So what should Detroit do?

In my opinion they should sign a top line center (Jeremy Roenick), and a top 4 defenceman (Jason York), and try to trade some of their own guys like Aaron Ward, Steve Duchesne, and Slava Kozlov.

Jeremy Roenick is the most important signing, he wouldn`t cost any draft picks or players but the biggest reason is that Steve Yzerman will probably quit in 2003, and the contract of Sergei Fedorov will expire, and even if thay sign Fedorov to a new contract thay will only have one impact center and that is where Roenick comes into the picture. Roenick is very good both offensively and defensively, he plays a gritty and agressive game and is a huge leader that would fit great in the Red Wings organization. Roenick will probably get a contract worth $7.5, 8 millon and if Detroit makes the right moves they can afford that.

Next signing is the former Detroit Red Wings player Jason York, who`ll not be to expensive to sign, he`ll probably get a contract worth around $2 million. Jason is a good stay home defenceman who could be top 4 in Detroit. And last but not least thay should try to keep Martin Lapointe because he is a very important player for Detroit with his gritty style of play. Last year he also showed that he can score and pick up good numbers. But if Lapointe is seeking more than $3.5 millon, then in my opinion he is free to go. Detroit should also look to sign som young players to add some depth in the organization because thay don`t have many draft picks this year.

The idea of Wings trading some of there own players wouldn`t be too bad either. The one who has the biggest chance of getting traded is Aaron Ward, who earlier this year said that if Scotty Bowman returned to Detroit that he would NOT. Ward is a good stay home defenceman and he is not so old (28). Detroit should try to get some draft picks for Aaron in this years draft.

Slava Kozlov is a player who maybe will not be traded now, but if he continues to show inconstency through out the season than there is a possibility of him getting traded to. The Wings could get a good prospect or some draft picks for Kozlov or even a solid young NHL player.

Detroit could also try to trade the 36 year old defenceman, Steve Duchense. Duchesne will earn $1.6 millon next year and even though he had a very good playoff, I don`t think that he is worth the money and the fact that Detroit needs to give some younger players such as Fischer, Wallin and Kuznetsov more ice time. Wings could probably get a pick for Duchense.

Big Trade on the way?

The rumors about Detroit making a big deal for Eric Lindros, Alexei Yashin or Jaromir Jagr are heating up as the draft approaches. But such a deal would also probably include Sergei Fedorov or Brendan Shanahan and probably some younger players such as Jiri Fischer or top prospect Henrik Zetterberg.

But what do you win on trading, for example Fedorov and some other players for Yashin who isn`t better than Fedorov right now. The only difference is that Yashin is 28 and Fedorov 32. But is it worth to give up your best young prospects in such trade?

If Detroit is going to make a big trade, the best would be to get Eric Lindros. He would probably cost Fedorov or Shanahan plus Aaron Ward and a player or a draft pick. Fedorov is 32 and on a downhill, Shanahan is also 32, a scoring power-forward but if they get Lindros, I don`t think that Detroit will miss him, Ward is a good defenceman but since he doesn`t want to play under coach Scotty Bowman he`ll have to leave.

As you see, a thrilling time is on the way !

Here is my lineup for the next year.

1. 14 B. Shanahan 19 S. Yzerman 20 M. Lapointe*
2. 21 B. Devereaux 91 S. Fedorov 27 J. Roenick*
3. 25 D. McCarty 8 I. Larionov 29 J. Williams
4. 96 T. Holmstrom 33 K. Draper 22 Y. Butsayev
X. 18 K. Maltby 11. M. Dandenault*

1. 5 N. Lidstrom 24 C. Chelios
2. 2 J. Fischer 23 J. York*
3. 4 F. Olausson 32 M. Kuznetsov
X 3 J. Wallin*

1. 30 C. Osgood
2. 34 M. Legace

* unsigned players

Players with contract:

13 S. Kozlov, LW
28 S. Duchesne, D