Yesterday, Alexander Semin signed a one year, $7 million deal with Carolina, dealing the Wings yet another free agent loss. Except they never really wanted him, so that’s debatable. Can you lose a fight for a guy you didn’t want? I guess it’s a loss if you were a fan clinging to the thought of Alexander Semin coasting in Red and White.
Then last night, the story broke that Shane Doan has been priced out of the Wings’ market by Eastern Conference teams going all out. One team supposedly offered him four years and a cap hit of $7.5 million a season. This is, mind you, for a guy who has cracked 30 goals exactly twice and who made $4.55 million last year. The Wings were looking at something like 3 years, $5 million per.
Not a paycheck that would make Shane Doan the highest paid forward on a team with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk (Update: … who are well underpaid. But even if they were making whatever they’d earn if given a new contract today, $7.5 million for a player of Doan’s lesser calibre would be overpayment).
Yeah, you may say, the Wings have neither the met needs nor the lack of cap space to afford to be picky. I get that. There’s no denying that it is very frustrating to see desirable player after desirable player go elsewhere.
But let’s consider some of the history of this off-season.
You’ve got the Parise/Suter situation, where Parise was only ever considering New Jersey and Minnesota, and Suter was this close to signing with the Wings. If Suter doesn’t leave it all up Parise to push him over the edge to Minnesota, it’s probable he signs here, mitigating much of the anxiety now circulating Hockeytown’s citizenry. The Wings failed to land either guy, but not for lack of trying. Mike Ilitch doesn’t show up at a player’s front door every day.
Then we had the Weber situation. The Wings talked to the Predators about a trade as well as to his camp. Weber made it clear he wasn’t interested in Detroit. If he had been interested, they would have considered doing what the Flyers did. That would have meant an automatic match by Nashville, but the important thing to Ken Holland’s critics is that he appear to be going through the motions to their satisfaction.
On the trade front, there was Rick Nash. But the Wings had no way of trading with a Columbus team that flatly refused to deal with them.
Yesterday, they officially missed on Semin, a player who may have admittedly been an asset for this team, but one who stood a decent chance of becoming a big source of frustration. However overblown his poor reputation may or may not be, I can’t think he and Mike Babcock would have seen eye-to-eye. I wonder if the Wings maybe considered that?
As for Doan, at a reasonable price (read: not $7.5 million), he would be a strong addition. I hate the guy, but he would add something to this team. The Wings, however, don’t need to be getting tied into a guaranteed four-year cap hit of $7.5 million with an over-35 player. Not with Filppula and Howard up in one year, Datsyuk up in two years and a possible cap reduction coming.
It’s time to recognize that this isn’t about Ken Holland losing his touch or losing interest or losing sight of the situation or whatever. It’s about a League that is more competitive than ever, both on the ice and in the financial ledger. And this market sucks.
There are still options out there, such as Bobby Ryan or Keith Yandle. Not the first choice of a lot of people (except maybe in the case of Ryan), but that’s the situation.