Waiting for the Left Overs - Detroit Red Wings

Known as one of the best teams in the NHL over the past 5 or 6 years, and on the verge of being called a "dynasty" the Detroit Red Wings have taken a hit in the past three weeks in terms of returning players. Granted, they are still a popular pick to finish first in the Western Conference, but remain extremely close to the ceiling in terms of salary cap, which can't bode well for a team looking to stay on top.

The loss of Marian Hossa, (possibly) Jiri Hudler and Mikael Samuelsson is bound to cause offensive depth issues for a team widely known as the deepest in hockey and the loss of a proven back-up goalie in Ty Conklin leaves way for a team of netminders that is questionable. (we say this knowing that Osgood has proven how valueable he is, but never seems to get a fair shake).

Detroit seems to have a variety of contracts that are not advantageous to move. Superstars like Zetterberg and Datsyuk are not going anywhere no matter what you offer Detroit. Both players are the cornerstone of that team and have contracts that will see them stay Wings until 2013 at the earliest. Neither player makes $7 million which shouldn't concern the Red Wings even when the cap falls. Good position to be in concerning your superstars.

Franzen and Fillpula are growing steadily in value and decent cap hits for what they bring. While neither might be considered untouchable, they might be close. Franzen has established himself as the next true power forward for the Red Wings and Fillpula is no joke at $3 million per season.

Lidstrom and Rafalksi make-up the backbone of their blueline, with Kronwall a close second and likely the future on their top pair when a Lidstrom chooses to reduce his role, take a paycut or move on at the end of this season. (I see the second of those three options as more likely).

The rest of the team seems to either play distinct roles on the team or make under $1 million each and it will have to stay that way to Detroit to remain under the cap. Both factors are extremely important to the team considering what they lost in terms of free agency this summer and wanting to keep the depth. Daniel Cleary is the perfect example having been invited to the 2010 Olympic tryouts.

For me however, a name that peaks my interest in a guy like Tomas Holmstrom. For the right swap, Detroit might be willing to move him knowing that Franzen has helped reduce both his role and importance to the team and is quickly taking over as the go-to power forward.

As reported by MrNorrisTrophy from Winging It In Mowtown, "far be it from me asserting that Holmstrom has hit the end of the road, rather an assertion that he has been out performed by his country mate and will likely see a reduced role in the future because of Franzen's performance. Holmstrom has fallen off slightly in recent seasons from injury and lack of production but could be ushering the way for the new big threat in Hockeytown. "

This could be a perfect opportunity for the Oilers. Holmstrom finds his strength in the style of game a Ryan Smyth used to play. Hard nosed, irritating in front of the net hockey contributing garbage goals. Edmonton has missed that type of player since Smyth was traded at the deadline for what seems to be the exact opposite in a Robert Nilsson.

Holmstrom has been hit by the injury bug as of late, but when healthy he's a shoe in for 20-30 goals on the left wing, contributes significantly to the powerplay and can add that team toughness the Oilers are looking for. So too, with one year left on this current deal and a $2.25 million dollar cap hit, he provides a lot of what Smyth did at about 1/3 the price tag.

This allows Edmonton to take a risk on a first line LW (he can always move in and out of that role with Penner), split or take most of the PP time, and the Oilers are not locked in to a contract past a year that the cap might decrease significantly.

If I'm Edmonton and waiting for the left overs, I'm making a phone call to Ken Holland in Detroit to see if they have any interest in some cap relief and moving Mr. Holmstrom.


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