by Chris Zadorozny (@Zads07)
In 2001, the average price of gas was $1.48, the top-grossing movie was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and the top song was Hanging by a Moment by Lifehouse. 20o1 was also the last time the Red Wings signed more than one top-6 player during the NHL offseason.
The Red Wings turned back the clock and did something they haven’t done since then; go out and sign two, top-6 forwards during free agency.
When the market officially opened at 12 p.m. on Friday, July 5, the Red Wings had more than a few players in mind to fill the holes they knew were going to come. They went out and signed longtime Ottawa Senators captain, Daniel Alfredsson (1-year, $5.5 million, $3.5 million of which is guaranteed) along with longtime Florida Panther forward and former Plymouth Whaler, Stephen Weiss (5-years, $24.5 million).
With the addition of Weiss and Alfredsson, the Red Wings now have two pieces puzzle, as they look to contend for the Stanley Cup in the new, realigned Eastern Conference next season.
Alfredsson had agreed to sign on July 4, late at night, while Weiss needed a bit more convincing after the Alfredsson deal was announced just after noon.
Originally, their first target was New Jersey forward Patrik Elias, who re-signed with the Devils earlier in the day. Second on their list was Weiss, just after they had a verbal agreement with Alfredsson the day before.
Not too long after Weiss signed, Valtteri Filppula signed a 5-year; $25 million deal with Tampa Bay. Weiss’ deal is at $4.9 million/year, while Filppula received $5 million/year.Alfredsson, 40, was the Steve Yzerman/Nicklas Lidstrom of the Senators, except for one thing; he’s never won a Stanley Cup. After 18 years in the league, he made the tough decision, not the easy one. It’s going to be a tough recovery for Senators fans, especially now that the Red Wings and Senators are division rivals.
“Alfie,” as he’s known around the league, has been the Senators captain since 1999, after they drafted him in 1994. In 1,178 career games, he has 426 goals, and 682 assists. He’s a playmaker who will go right on the second line, in Dan Cleary’s spot, as a right-handed shot on a heavy left-handed shot team.
Weiss on the other hand, will give Detroit a great scoring touch, something Filppula negated to do regularly. In 654 games, Weiss has 145 goals and 249 assists, and that was on a one-time playoff team, Florida Panthers. That’s slightly better than Filppula, who had 100 goals in 483 games. Weiss, in his career, has averaged .602 points per game, while Filppula has only averaged .519 points per game. It’s not much, but when you look at how many seasons Weiss has scoring goals, you’ll realize how important he will be.
In four of his 10 NHL seasons, he has scored 20 or more goals. In three other seasons, Weiss has scored more than 10 goals. Filppula only has one, 20-goal season in seven full seasons with the Red Wings.
Now that Detroit has Alfredsson and Weiss on the squad, which means the two other unrestricted free agents, Daniel Cleary and Damien Brunner could possibly be gone. Brunner almost for sure gone, but Cleary is still in the mix, according to multiple sources.
If Cleary doesn’t come back, expect Alfie to wear #11; while Weiss has worn #9 throughout his career, it’s also clear he’ll be switching numbers. The Red Wings are still looking to make some moves throughout the rest of the summer according to GM Ken Holland on a conference call.
Although the cost of two players was a tad expensive with extra bonuses, both additions will give the Red Wings some veteran leadership in both players, along with a playmaker in Alfredsson, a scorer in Weiss, and the ability to keep Datsyuk and Zetterberg together.
Here’s what the lines could possibly look like when the Red Wings start the season in the Eastern Conference next year.
Samuelsson, Tatar, Emmerton
The signings of Alfredsson and Weiss, along with the buyout of Colaiacovo and the Filppula and Brunner no longer in the picture, the Red Wings now around $2.3 million in cap space, with a comfortable availability of $1.5 million left to use. With 14 forwards in the fold, and the expected signings of Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist, and Brendan Smith, the Red Wings will be very close to the limit of 50 players on the roster, which means trades in the very near future.
Expect to see Mikael Samuelsson, Cory Emmerton, and Tomas Tatar on the trading block in the coming weeks.
To read the original post that appeared on Sports Radio Detroit on July 5, 2013, go to www.sportsradiodetroit.com