Tuesday, June 29, 2010

There's a Reason Modano ends with NO: Go Young!!

Alright, I've been seeing this everywhere for the last 24 hours or so, and I'm finally at the point where I can't not say anything. It seems the rumors are spreading that the Red Wings MAY make a pitch to bring in the geriatric Mike Modano from the Dallas Stars, who have opted to refuse to resign him. Mike has had an excellent career, and will surely go into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a legend in the minds of hockey fans in both Minnesota and Dallas, as well as many other fans worldwide. He's been one of the best, and I think it would be a cool thing to see him wearing the Winged Wheel.

Except I don't think now is the time for it.

Mike Modano, as great a player as he's been, is just too far gone from what he was in his prime. For the amount of production he could bring to the Wings (30 points in 59 games in 2009-2010), we could be bringing up a young buck who could possibly put up comparable numbers while getting MUCH needed NHL experience on the way to becoming a more complete player. Darren Helm pocketed 26 points in 75 games last season, and he's still just starting out in his NHL career. You can also argue that the more physical element Helm can bring to his game and the speed his youthful legs grant him make him a more threatening element on the ice in both aspects of offense and defense. This more than makes up for the slight gap in point production between himself and Modano.

I know it sounds like I'm arguing like I would never EVER want Modano here, but again I will say that I give the man props for what he's accomplished and he would have been a great player to add to the roster. If this same situation had come up last year, I'd have jumped on it and would've been the first one on the pile. We lost Jiri Hudler, we lost Mike Samuelsson, we lost Marian Hossa. Losing all that in one shot, had you told me last year that the exact situation we see with Modano NOW was happening THEN, I would've flown out to knock no Kenny's door and demand he make the deal myself!!

But this is not last year, and we are not facing last year's problems.

This year, we begin what front office has already called a transition period. This is the year where I feel we are obligated to get some of these young guys who are chomping at the bit down in Grand Rapids some quality NHL playing time. Everytime we bring in someone who MIGHT pan out because of what they have accomplished in the past, we risk stunting the growth of a prospect who could come up and have a brilliant, breakout season.

Datsyuk? 3 years in the RSL after being drafted and before coming up to the Red Wings roster, no time in Grand Rapids. Zetterberg? 4 years playing in Sweden after drafting and before making the Wings, also no time spent with the Griffins. Helm? 4 years playing in the WHL and AHL before making the permanent roster in Detroit, only 2 years spent with the Griffins. My point here is not to bash Grand Rapids, contrary to what some of you might be thinking. What I'm saying is the talent that Detroit brings in can't be kept waiting in Grand Rapids because another has-been (and I use that term lightly) has been brought in to hopefully give us a gloriously successful last gasp of a season. A lot of guys that have sat around in the AHL have not been able to grow past a certain point. I believe it's necessary at some time to give those young guys a good dose of NHL hockey to remind them of how they still need to evolve themselves and step it up to a level that will be able to endure NHL play on a full-time basis. The Kindls and the Mursaks waiting in the Wings' wings need that experience, or their potential may, and I believe will, be lost.

If you want to preach transition period, stop resorting to the old tricks that worked in the old NHL. Our old guys are getting older, but more importantly...our young guys aren't getting any younger.