Saturday, July 6, 2013

Wings Make Waves On Day 1 of Free Agency

Hockeytown fans have woken up to a very different-feeling team.

With only a pair of moves and a pair of departures, the Red Wings have, in almost all eyes, become a much more legitimate playoff threat compared to last year.  They lost Valtteri Filppula who sought richer soil in which to plant his roots, which the under-achieving forward found in Tampa Bay.  The Wings also effectively lost Swiss forward Damien Brunner, who snubbed the Red Wings' 2 and 3-year offers, also looking for those greener pastures.  No deal has been signed for Brunner, but the writing is basically on the wall that he will land elsewhere.

What the Red Wings gained, however, far exceeded what they lost.

Detroit was targeting Florida forward Stephen Weiss from the very start as a potential replacement for Filppula should the team not be able to retain him.  Detroit sealed that deal and inked Weiss to a 5-year contract just under what Flip would have commanded.  At $24.5 Million over 5 years, the Wings get a better 2-way player and a somewhat more consistent scoring threat out of Weiss than what they had with Filppula.

The second acquisition for the Red Wings yesterday was much more of a surprise: Detroit, with promises of greater chances to win his first Stanley Cup, managed to lure away Daniel Alfredsson from the Ottawa Senators on a 1-year, bonus-laden $5.5 Million deal.  The former face of the Ottawa franchise and formerly the longest serving active NHL captain had told his former team on a call that he would not be rejoining them next season, which was as much a shock to them as it was the rest of the hockey world, but the Red Wings gladly welcome his leadership and skills into the locker room.

With RFAs left to sign and little cap space left still available, we may not see much more movement from Detroit this offseason, but what we HAVE seen has at least been very interesting and exciting to watch unfold.  Who knows? Maybe Kenny Holland has one more trick up his sleeve before next season...