Incentives appear to be the sticking point that has prevented goaltender Ed Belfour from becoming a Red Wing.
General manager Ken Holland said Saturday that he has made an offer to Belfour's agent, Ron Salcer, but hasn't heard back.
Salcer has not returned calls from the Free Press the last three days.
Holland wouldn't say what the offer is, but it's believed to be a base salary of around $500,000 with additional money attainable through performance bonuses. The collective bargaining agreement allows for bonuses for players who are 35 or older.
It appears that Belfour, 41, and his agent want more money in incentives than the Wings are willing to set aside.
If, for example, the Wings offered Belfour a $500,000 contract and a $1 million bonus if the Wings win the Stanley Cup next season, they would need $1.5 million set aside.
"I don't want to tie a whole bunch of money in something that might not happen," Holland said. "He feels he's taking a lot of the risk and wants to have some upside coverage, but me -- I'm tying up cap space."
Holland hasn't put a timetable on the Belfour negotiations, but he said, "At some point, both (of us) are going to have to fish or cut bait."
The team could defer some of the incentives to next season, but several Red Wings, including Pavel Datsyuk, Mathieu Schneider, Robert Lang, Kirk Maltby, Tomas Holmstrom and Chris Chelios, will be free agents and need new contracts. It's unlikely that Holland would defer a large amount of money against future salary caps for a player who isn't in the team's long-term future.
If the Wings can't agree on a deal with Belfour, Holland could trade for a goaltender. He has said that several teams have called with offers.
NOTEBOOK: Brendan Shanahan didn't take the Wings' $4-million offer, leaving for the New York Rangers instead. Now, the Wings are fielding calls from agents hoping to get their clients some of that money.
Although the Wings need to sign a couple of veteran forwards, Holland is unwilling to give long-term contracts to players who aren't going to be a part of the team's core. He said he would be patient and would not "tie our hands for 2007."
"If they're short-term fixes and you give them long-term deals, we're going to wake up and have a guy that we want to get rid of that we can't, because of his contract," Holland said. ...
Forward Jason Williams will go to arbitration at the end of the month unless he and the Wings reach a deal. "We've got almost two weeks before the case," Holland said. "At some point in time, I'm sure we'll have some conversations."
WASHINGTON: Steve Eminger, the third-leading scorer among Washington defensemen with 18 points last season, re-signed with the Capitals. Washington also re-signed forwards Boyd Gordon and Kris Beech.
DALLAS: Center Eric Lindros is expected to sign a one-year deal today, the Dallas Morning News reported.
MICHIGAN: Forward Trevor Lewis, 19, who was supposed to be an impact freshman for the Wolverines this season, signed a three-year contract with the L.A. Kings, who drafted him 17th overall in June.
Contact GEORGE SIPPLE at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 313-223-4796. Free Press News Services contributed to this report.