Hockeytown Off-Season Recap: 7/1/13-7/6/13 “How Swede It Is”
It’s no secret that the Detroit Red Wings have long had an affinity with players from the Nordic country of Sweden. In fact, two of their core members hail from the country, Johan Franzen and the captain Henrik Zetterberg. However, the Red Wings have added one more prominent Swedish hockey player to their squad.
That’s correct. No need to even bring numbers to the discussion table; Daniel Alfredsson is leaving his storied Ottawa Senators career behind and joining the Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings signed Alfredsson to what is essentially a one year deal at $5 million.
The long time Ottawa captain shocked the hockey world by committing to the Detroit Red Wings for the 2013-2014 season. Some of his Ottawa teammates were taken aback by his decision. ”We all were pretty adamant that he was going to return because he is grounded in this city (Ottawa) and so well-loved that everyone figured something would work out,” said ex-teammate Mark Methot.
Alfredsson, who has had only one appearance in the Stanley Cup Final during his time in Ottawa (2007), wants to add some hardware to the cabinet before he formally calls it quits. “I had not won a Stanley Cup and that’s a big priority for me,” Alfredsson said.
This claim seems a bit strange. While Detroit has long been a destination for players seeking a Stanley Cup ring (see Marian Hossa), it is not even close to the team that it used to be. However speculative the public eye may be, Daniel Alfredsson has already put on the winged wheel.
Alfredsson brings a second line winger to Detroit that can allow Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg to play together on the top line. Alfredsson also will most likely share a line with Johan Franzen and newly acquired Stephen Weiss, arguably Val Filppula’s replacement.
Stephen Weiss will have to buy a winter coat when he makes the transition to the inconsistent and usually freezing Michigan winter weather, committing to the team at $24.5 million for five years. It shouldn’t be too hard, considering the fact that he played his junior hockey in suburban Plymouth, Michigan.
The Red Wings have 22 players signed for $65 million, just over the $64.3 million salary cap. They will have 25 players, two over the roster limit, once they sign restricted free agents Brendan Smith, Nyquist and Andersson. The team is permitted to be over the salary cap until the regular season starts, at which point they have to buy out players (against the cap) or make some trades.
The Red Wings lost long time center Valtteri Filppula to Tampa Bay and a lucrative contract offer, while they also lost their Swiss star in Damien Brunner. While Filppula has been replaced (and arguably Brunner, albeit for a short amount of time), Brunner has yet to find a new home, since most teams are citing his frequent fatigue and point production demise in an already shortened season.
Brunner never played more than 50 games while he was playing in Switzerland, and although he came alive again in his first NHL playoffs and found a second wind, teams do not want to take a long term chance on him. Kenny Holland has hinted about possibly re-signing him, but Brunner’s camp has rejected multiple offers from the Wings.
“I feel good about our nucleus,” Holland said to mlive.com. “I feel good that Pavel Datsyuk re-upped ( three years) and we have Pav around for four more years. We believe that we have a tremendous goaltender in Jimmy Howard (signed for six years). With the addition of Alfie and Stephen, we think we’re going to be a lot deeper up front.”
Indeed the Red Wings look like a stronger team on paper this season than last, now with a healthier and younger blue line anchored by Niklas Kronwall as well as higher hopes on newly acquired Danny DeKeyser. Their top six forwards definitely do not look to shabby.
The Red Wings will find a way to make something out of what is essentially rebuilding put on hold for one year and extend their legendary status among the sports community as a whole. Every player wants to go to the top of the podium.
“I made a very difficult decision to leave Ottawa after 18 years and 17 seasons,” Alfredsson told the Associated Press. “I had nothing but great times in Ottawa. I didn’t really see myself making a change a week ago, but as we got closer to free agency, thoughts started creeping in.”
Both Alfredsson and Weiss will be ironically moving to a Red Wings team that is now heading to the Eastern Conference. As if these stories weren’t extraordinary enough, both Florida and Ottawa will be a part of the “D” division of the East, the same division that Detroit will be joining at the beginning of this upcoming season. Long story short, that means the two players will be seeing their old teams quite a bit. Whether or not this move as a whole makes the quest to the Cup Final more difficult is up for grabs. However, the Wings are seen as favorites for the East this year.
Alfredsson continued, “I’m really excited to get this opportunity at this stage of my career to go for a Stanley Cup and fulfil a longtime dream.”
Hopefully, the Red Wings can make it 23 straight this upcoming season and give Alfredsson the silver prize he has long been awaiting.
*Feel free to follow along on Twitter @dmmm14
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