Craig Remsburg column: Red Wings will undergo changes
Detroit Red Wings fans coming to grips with the team’s first-round exit in the Stanley Cup playoffs know one thing for sure:
There will be roster changes for next season.
How many changes and whether they will make the team better remains to be seen.
But General Manager Ken Holland will be a busy man during the offseason, for sure.
There are three restricted free agents the Wings would like to keep: forwards Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar, and defenseman Danny DeKeyser.
But there are also several unrestricted free agents the Wings won’t likely bring back: forwards David Legwand, Mikael Samuelsson, Danny Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi; defenseman Kyle Quincy; and goaltender Jonas Gustavsson.
They’re either too old, too costly or injury-prone – or a combination of all three – that makes each expendable.
Veteran Daniel Alfredsson is also a UFA, but the Wings would like to have him back – at the right price – for his leadership and power-play skills should he decide to play another year.
Letting the UFAs go would save the Wings a reported $21 million in salary. That would go a long way in luring a free agent or two beginning July 1.
It’s no secret the team could use a top-four defenseman who shoots righthanded. That kind of player is hard to come by, so the Wings might have to settle for rookies Ryan Sproul and/or Alexey Marchenko in their farm system to bolster the blueline.
The Wings also need a goal scorer or two with some size. That would solve a lot of the team’s offensive woes, particularly on the power play.
Anthony Mantha, a 6-foot-4 right wing the club drafted No. 1 last June and the MVP of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League after scoring 57 goals and 120 points, will be given every chance to make the club in 2014-15.
There were times this past season when Detroit goaltenders Jimmy Howard, Gustavsson and even rookie Peter Mrzek knew they’d have to play a near-perfect game in order for the offensively challenged Wings to win.
Clearly, the team needs some offensive help.
The main thing for the Wings next season is to stay healthy. If Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Stephen Weiss can avoid injuries that sidelined them much of 2013-14, the Wings should be better offensively.
But the team still needs to make some moves to make sure it makes the playoffs again next season and go further than the first round.
Not just any moves, but the right ones.