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 Red Wings and Free Agency 
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Post Red Wings and Free Agency
The Wings have about $16M to play with, so I expect to see a couple of big signings or trades. Unfortunately, they started things off with a huge over-payment for Ericsson:
Mlive wrote:
Red Wings sign Jonathan Ericsson for three years, $9.75 million

Published: Thursday, June 30, 2011, 11:30 PM Updated: Friday, July 01, 2011, 2:43 AM

By Ansar Khan MLive.com

DETROIT -- Jonathan Ericsson wants to be a top-four defenseman. Now he’s going to be paid like one.

The Detroit Red Wings on Thursday signed Ericsson to a three-year contract worth $3.25 million a season, a source told Booth Newspapers.

That’s a huge raise from Ericsson’s salary of $1.25 million in 2010-11, which was the final year of a three-year deal that had a salary-cap hit of $900,000. But the Red Wings felt it was necessary to keep the 27-year-old, who likely could have commanded that much or more if he explored the free-agent market, which opens today at noon.

Ericsson, the final pick in the 2002 entry draft (291st overall), entered the NHL with a lot of promise late in the 2008-09 season. The Red Wings like his size (6-foot-4, 220 pounds), skill set and potential.

But after a strong playoff run in 2009, Ericsson struggled mightily in 2000-10, finishing with 13 points (four goals, nine assists) and a minus-15 rating. He showed some improvement this past season, with 15 points (three goals, 12 assists) and a plus-8 rating. He still has been mistake-prone and has lacked consistency.

Unless the Red Wings sign a top-four defenseman in free agency -- the options are limited -- it appears Ericsson will have a greater role next season, after being their fifth defenseman in 2010-11.

Ericsson has a higher cap hit than defenseman Niklas Kronwall ($3 million hit, $3.75 million salary for 2011-12), who enters the final year of his contract. The Red Wings likely will start contract talks during training camp on an extension for Kronwall.

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, who told Booth Newspapers last Friday that he and Ericsson's agent were "in the same ballpark'' in contract talks, could not be reached for comment.

Holland earlier on Thursday said that he was making progress in contract talks with right wing Patrick Eaves.

Eaves, 27, also would like the opportunity for a greater role after two seasons as a grinder and penalty killer who also has contributed offensively (25 goals combined in the past two seasons). A source said the team offered Eaves slightly more than $1 million per season. He made $750,000 in 2010-11.

The Red Wings also are trying to re-sign forward Drew Miller, but are not close. Miller realizes his role as a fourth-line grinder would continue, but he doesn’t want to be in the same predicament as last season, when he was a healthy scratch in 15 games.

"Just had a philosophical conversation (with his agent)," Holland said. "I made an offer. Can’t say we’re making a lot of progress."

Miller’s agent, former Red Wings defenseman Jason Woolley, did not return a call seeking comment.

Jagr offer won’t increase
Holland talked again Thursday with the agent for Jaromir Jagr and said: "Nothing’s changed. We’re still staying in contact."

Holland said his initial offer of a one-year deal to Jagr, made several weeks ago, hasn’t changed. He said he doesn’t necessarily need an answer from Jagr by noon today, but then the player runs the risk of the team signing other players and not having space for him.

"If he calls July 2 and we haven’t signed anybody ... it all depends on which way the dominoes fall (in free agency)," Holland said.

Jagr’s agent, Petr Svoboda, said earlier in the day he’s still talking to the Pittsburgh Penguins and other teams.

Free-agent options limited
The NHL’s 2011 free-agent class wasn’t strong to begin with, and now it’s even thinner, after several players signed this week with the clubs that owned their rights.

Still, the Red Wings are determined to sign a defenseman and a back-up goaltender -- and maybe a forward, too.

"What happens with some of our own guys impacts our thinking (Friday)," Holland said. "There’s a number of players we have interest in at forward, defense and in goal.

"We got quite a bit of cap space. We’ll see if we use it all or not."

The Red Wings aren’t likely to exhaust the roughly $12 million they have under the $64.3 million cap, saving some money for potential trade deadline deals.

They aren’t infatuated with any of the remaining free agents and won’t get into any bidding wars for their services. They had the opportunity to acquire the negotiating rights to several of them but didn’t want to part with a draft pick.

The list of available defensemen includes James Wisniewski (Columbus), Ian White (San Jose), Ed Jovanovski (Phoenix), Tomas Kaberle (Boston), Anton Babchuk (Calgary), Andy Greene (New Jersey), Jan Hejda (Columbus) and Shane O’Brien (Nashville).

"On defense, we’d like to do something," Holland said. "The market is getting picked over. It’s an expensive market."

Center Brad Richards is by far this year’s premier free agent and likely will command in excess of $6 million per season. The Red Wings have enough cap space to sign him, but a top-tier forward is not their biggest need.

"Up front, we’ll see what goes on with Jagr," Holland said. "We got 10-11-12 forwards signed, just looking for the right fit."

As for finding a backup to Jimmy Howard, Holland said, "We’re not going to spend a lot on a backup (goalie). Chris Osgood is an option, but we want to explore what’s out there."

Coaching search winds down
Holland said coach Mike Babcock continues to talk to assistant coaching candidates and hopes to have his staff in place early next week. The team has two vacancies.

"We’ve narrowed it down to a few guys," Holland said


I should add that I think James Wisniewski will be a Red Wing in a couple of hours. I could be wrong, though.

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July 1st, 2011, 9:49 am
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Post Re: Red Wings and Free Agency
Now, this is a great re-signing:
Mlive wrote:
Red Wings sign Patrick Eaves for three years, $3.6 million

Published: Friday, July 01, 2011, 10:57 AM Updated: Friday, July 01, 2011, 11:21 AM

By Ansar Khan MLive.com

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings have re-signed forward Patrick Eaves to a three-year contract that averages $1.2 million a season.

Eaves, 27, had contemplated exploring at the free-agent market today at noon, but general manager Ken Holland said Thursday night that a deal was close.

Eaves is a valuable checker and one of the team's top penalty-killing forwards with his willingness to block shots. He has some offensive upside, scoring 13 and 12 goals in each of the past two seasons with a strong wrist shot.

He earned $750,000 last season.



Also, Drew Miller appears close to re-signing. Unfortunately though, Wiz just re-signed with Columbus after they traded for his rights earlier this week. The odds of the Wings landing a top 4 d-man have diminished greatly this week with many of them re-signing with their current teams.

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July 1st, 2011, 11:28 am
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Post Re: Red Wings and Free Agency
I doubt Miller will be resigned. He's the worst of the bunch and not worth a raise. Go after mediocrity elsewhere for much cheaper.

The Ericsson deal was too much, but he would have gotten more elsewhere, shockingly.

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July 1st, 2011, 11:50 am
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Post Re: Red Wings and Free Agency
Miller's back at a decent price:
Mlive wrote:
Red Wings sign Drew Miller for two years
Published: Friday, July 01, 2011, 11:14 AM Updated: Friday, July 01, 2011, 12:09 PM

By Ansar Khan

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings have signed forward Drew Miller to a two-year deal worth a total of $1.65 million, a source told Booth Newspapers.

Miller, 27, will earn $800,000 next season and $850,000 in 2012-13 for a salary-cap hit of $825,000.

Miller (Michigan State) is another valued role player and penalty killer. He has chipped in 10 goals in each of the past two seasons.

He earned $650,000 last season.


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July 1st, 2011, 12:29 pm
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Post Re: Red Wings and Free Agency
Wow, a pretty good price. I'm surprised. Either way, he's good for the price, but there's upgrades out there.

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July 1st, 2011, 2:09 pm
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Post Re: Red Wings and Free Agency
Not really excited about this, but....
Mlive wrote:
Red Wings sign defenseman Mike Commodore to one-year deal
Published: Friday, July 01, 2011, 3:06 PM Updated: Friday, July 01, 2011, 3:48 PM

By Ansar Khan MLive.com

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings have signed defenseman Mike Commodore to a one-year deal for $1 million.

He was recently bought out of his contract by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Interesting signing, since Commodore had issues with Red Wings coach Mike Babcock when they were together in the Anaheim organization in 2003, publicly ripping him in January 2009, when he played for the Blue Jackets.


"Mike Babcock was without a doubt an obstacle in my career," Commodore told the Columbus Post-Dispatch at the time. "I wanted to prove him wrong, I'm not going to lie. I used him as big-time motivation. I thought he put his best foot forward to bury me."

Babcock said his only issue with Commodore back then was his conditioning.


Commodore, 31, is a big, stay-at-home defenseman (6-foot-4, 225) who shoots right-handed. He will be Detroit's only right-handed shot.

Commodore has played in 454 games over parts of nine NHL seasons with New Jersey, Calgary, Carolina, Ottawa and Columbus, picking up 23 goals, 81 assists and 645 penalty minutes. He was a regular on the Hurricanes' 2006 Stanley-Cup winning team.

He spent the last four months of the 2010-11 season with AHL Springfield after falling out of favor with coach Scott Arniel. The Blue Jackets bought him out of the final two years of his contract, having to pay two-thirds of his combined salary of $6.85 million, spread out over the next four seasons.


I was looking for a top 4 defenseman signing, but I guess Commodore can replace Salei on the third pairing.

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July 1st, 2011, 5:17 pm
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Post Re: Red Wings and Free Agency
If Commodore wears #64 its a win!


July 1st, 2011, 5:22 pm
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Post Re: Red Wings and Free Agency
HA! awsome!

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July 1st, 2011, 5:30 pm
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Post Re: Red Wings and Free Agency
The Wings finally signed someone I like:
Mlive wrote:
Red Wings sign defenseman Ian White to two-year deal (updated)
Published: Saturday, July 02, 2011, 4:18 PM Updated: Saturday, July 02, 2011, 5:34 PM

By Ansar Khan MLive.com

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings have signed free-agent defenseman Ian White to a two-year contract for $2.875 million per season.

The Red Wings needed a puck-moving defenseman who play the point on he power play after Brian Rafalski's retirement.

White, 27, played for three teams last season (Calgary, Carolina, San Jose), picking up four goals, 22 assists and 26 points in 77 games. He was a top-four defenseman for the Sharks in the playoffs, when he registered one goal and eight assists in 17 games.

He's small (5-foot-10, 195 pounds) but plays with a bit of an edge.

He actually took a slight pay cut, having made just under $3 million last season.


“We've seen him a lot in the San Jose series,'' general manager Ken Holland told Booth Newspapers. "He can play on the power play, he's a competitor. He's a guy that thinks the game. He's got the skills. We've got skilled defensemen in (Nicklas) Lidstrom, (Niklas) Kronwall, others, and he's comfortable playing with them.''

Holland added, "He's got some snarl in front of the net.''

They have added two of those types of players in two days, after signing Mike Commodore on Friday.

The Red Wings now have seven defensemen assured of a roster spot: Lidstrom, Kronwall, Brad Stuart, Jonathan Ericsson, White, Commodore and Jakub Kindl.
Holland said they are inclined to carry seven, but didn't rule out the possibility of carrying eight.

Top prospect Brendan Smith would need an outstanding training camp and preseason, coupled with an injury, to make the team at the start of the season. If he's not playing regularly in Detroit, he'll be in Grand Rapids. But, the Red Wings at some point next season want Smith to spend some time with the team, particularly Lidstrom.

Veteran Doug Janik has a one-way contract but, as it turns out, he is not subject to re-entry waivers because he didn't play in enough NHL games last season. So the Red Wings can send him down (if he clears waivers) and recall him without risking losing him on re-entry.

The Red Wings still need to sign a back-up goaltender. No move is imminent, but the club has been talking to Ty Conklin, one of the few remaining viable options.

“As far as skaters, we're probably done for now,'' Holland said. "We'll continue to explore the market.

"We're comfortable with our defense, but if something came up between now and training camp we'll definitely explore and look at it. We got nine guys that can play in the NHL. We got depth.''

Holland isn't necessarily looking to make a trade between now and camp, but he didn't rule out the possibility.

"Teams are calling with trade ideas,'' he said.

White was probably at the top of the 2nd tier defensemen list IMO. He should play as the 4th or 5th d-man and get some time on the 2nd power play unit. He's not flashy or big, but he plays the game hard and doesn't make many mistakes. Solid player at a decent price.

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July 2nd, 2011, 5:54 pm
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Post Re: Red Wings and Free Agency
Wiz a little mad he isn't in the wing wheel, don't got a video but I saw he was ripping the Red Wings for not signing him. Guess there still bad blood with the family and Red Wings..

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July 3rd, 2011, 12:15 am
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