So says Ansar Khan, who notes that the team has made re-signing him a priority. That’s great news, as Mathieu Schneider is a very important piece of the defense and the loss of him would be huge.
Khan also mentions that it’s looking unlikely that Danny Markov will be back. The team wants him and he wants to return, but there may not be cap room. I’m okay with that. I like Danny and his presence makes the defense stronger, but I’m not all that attached to him. He doesn’t fit in with my picture of the 2007-2008 Wings anyway. That picture is pretty simple:
The same basic team, but with a few necessay changes
- Meech (as 7th D-man instead of Quincey because Kyle can return to the AHL without having to clear waivers whereas Derek cannot)
- Kopecky/Hudler (one of the two gets a regular role)
- Some upper-level free agent forward to replace Lang (probably not this guy – it isn’t the summer of 2001, after all; but possibly this guy – who hasn’t worn the Winged Wheel since that summer).
Those changes wouldn’t be all that big as far as team cohesion goes. The organization needs to do something about Meech or else they’ll lose him, so giving Lebda the bigger role that he’s earned and letting Markov go is the best way to hold on to Derek as a 7th defenseman. Kopecky can fill Calder’s role using his size and physical play, or Hudler could make a role for himself with his skill using that same roster spot. The biggest (and most looked-for) change, in this scenario, would be the swap-out of Lang for a forward of similar skills but hopefully better performance. If the team can nab someone who will light up the second line, the Wings will be an even harder team to stop next season.