Update (5:10 PM): I’ve been sneaking reads about the deal all day, and the more I read, the more I like it, for a few reasons.
First of all, Hossa’s offensive upside is huge. The guy’s a great skater with great hands and solid hockey sense on the attack. That much was obvious from the Finals as well as the game in which he had a hat trick against the Wings while with Atlanta. He gives the Wings a real finisher like they’ve been lacking really since Brendan Shanahan left. The idea of a potential Hossa-Datsyuk-Zetterberg power play, or even strength unit, is incredible.
Second, the more I read, the more I see that my comment below about Hossa not being a defensive stalwart was uninformed at best. While the guy is not Selke material, I keep reading about his solid two-way game and that’s great. The last thing the Wings need is someone to cherry pick and shirk defensive responsibilities. As long as he’s responsible in his own end, he should be in good shape in Detroit.
Third, I love that he came here to win. Obviously, he’s being compensated very well, but he rejected more lucrative offers in order to have the best shot at playing for the Cup. That should mean he’ll have the right attitude while he’s here, though I’m still a little unsure about his lockerroom presence. If anyone has input on that, I’d love to hear it. That remains my only qualm at this point.
As addressed briefly below, the deal does of course open the Wings up to the poaching of Valtteri Filppula by some nutso GM because their ability to match a potential offer sheet is now much more limited. However, given the fact that Fil seems to remain a well-kept secret, I doubt we’ll see any $5 million-a-year offers for the kid. So there shouldn’t be much of a problem there unless a GM gets vindictive.
Make no mistake about it, at this point, this looks like an incredible move by Ken Holland. There’s obviously a lot that can go wrong with bringing a big star into the lockerroom, but here’s hoping this becomes more of a Brett Hull/Luc Robitaille signing than a Curtis Joseph one. If it’s the former, we’re in for one heck of a season.
For a few more takes on the deal, see
Update (1:43 PM): Okay, this really is the last thing until I get home: the effect this deal has on the Wings’ other free agents, most notably Valtteri Filppula.
The Wings have $4 million or so left now under the cap and still have Filppula, Chris Chelios, Aaron Downey, Darren McCarty, Kyle Quincey, Jimmy Howard, and Jonathan Ericsson unsigned. Aside from Fil, those players come cheap, but they do add up.
Jimmy and Ericsson can be sent to Grand Rapids next season and thus not count against the cap. Howard isn’t the AHL-dominant goalie the Wings want him to be, so that’s not a bad route. Ericsson’s development may be hurt, or he could pull a Kronwall and have an AHL-best year as a defenseman.
Downey or McCarty will have to accept a two-way contract or go elsewhere since there just isn’t space on the roster for both of them. It’s pretty obvious that Kyle Quincey’s days as a Red Wing are over. And Chelios will have to decide if he really wants to stick around now that the Wings have six seven signed NHL defensemen.
As for Filppula, he’s not going to break the bank, but any contract he signs will bring the Wings uncomfortably close to their self-imposed cap of $2 million below the League one if they bring back Chelios, Mac, or Downey as well.
As George Malik points out, the Wings will have to be quick to lock Fil up as other teams will probably try to poach him as the UFA market dries up. – Matt
Update (1:08 PM): One more thing while I’m still here at work: aside from the fact that it’s Marian Hossa, the best part about this deal is the fact that it’s just for one year. That leaves the Wings with a lot of room to deal with Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen now that they can begin contract talks as of yesterday.
On the downside, it could bring Zetterberg’s price up. No real worries there, though. Hank’s not going to drive a hard bargain and the Wings will give him the raise he deserves. – Matt
Via TSN: one year, $7.4 million.
I’m at work, so I can’t say much now, but wow. This is obviously a huge signing. I just hope Hossa can fit in the system without disrupting chemistry. He’s not exactly a stalwart two-way guy like just about all the Wings’ forwards.
On paper, though, this makes puts the Wings yet another step above the rest. The best defense in hockey with some of the most dangerous forwards in the game. Wow.
More to come.