Saturday, June 26, 2004

Contract Updates

Brendan Shanahan The Wings have officially told him that they will not exercise their option on his contract next year, a fact which makes him an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. The Wings would like to bring Shanny back if he takes a considerable pay cut and they have had "talks trying to find common ground to keep Brendan in a Red Wings uniform," as Ken Holland said Friday. As much as I'd hate to see Shanahan leave, I have to admit he didn't do a whole lot in the playoffs to warrant being brought back. He has been huge for the Wings since coming to the team during the 96-97 season and was one of the major reasons they won the Cup that year but lately, his play has declined and it's becoming harder and harder to justify keeping him around at his current salary. I do hope he takes a pay cut and stays with the team but I'm not too confident that will happen. Kris Draper Ken Holland and Draper's agent, Don Meehan, have met recently but the Wings GM is remaining mum on the issue other than to say "We've obviously made an offer. We'll continue to talk." Draper has always said he wants to stay with the Wings but their new policy in preparation for the likely coming salary cap will put a big bump in any discussions between the two sides. He will want a raise from the $1,475,000 he earned last year after the career season he had and it's doubtful the Wings will be willing to give him much more. They are concerned with getting their pay roll closer to the ceiling expected to come with the new CBA and are going to be very tight with their money. They had a situation much like this in the summer of 2001 when Martin Lapointe became a free agent after a career year of his own. They lost him to the Bruins and he hasn't been the same player since. Draper is one of the most likely candidates for the captaincy and the Wings do not want to lose him, though if he demands too much, they'll have to let him go. If both Draper and Shanahan leave the team this off-season, it truly will be the end of an era. Pavel Datsyuk Talks with the Wings' young star have not gone well, if this Ken Holland quote is any indication: "We're miles apart." The two sides met Friday to discuss a deal and a qualifying offer has been made to Pavel. Pavel is another player who has repeatedly indicated his desire to continue playing for the Wings but it's obvious now that the offers from teams in Russia are playing on his loyalties. His agent is probably telling him it would be smarter to play in Russia because of the coming labor problems but that is only screwing the Wings over. The Wings' vaunted youth movement talent won't mean jack if they can't keep those players here. He probably wants a raise himself, after the great season he had but again, the organization will be loathe to shell out that extra money. Mathieu Schneider Ken Holland made an offer to Schneider about a week ago but said "I have not heard back." Schneider will become a free agent on July 1st. The Wings need Schneider back but again, probably don't want to pay anything more than the $3,750,000 he earned last year. Since he had a good season himself, he too will probably be asking for a raise which the Wings in turn will not be all that willing to give. Chris Chelios He is another potential free agent and the Wings have been talking to his agent about possibly bringing him back. Of course they are hoping he'll take a pay cut and they probably don't expect him to play a ton but they want his experience on the blue line and will likely make a reasonable effort to have him in a Red Wings uniform next season. It's pretty surprising considering his age but the Wings always bank on experience and this is no different. Boyd Devereaux The Wings will not make a qualifying offer to Devereaux, making him a free agent July 1st. They would like to bring him back next year but only if he takes a considerable amount less than the $1.6 million he made last year. That's perfectly understandable since, for a guy nicknamed Boyd "De-void" Devereaux, $1.6 million is a bit too much. I wouldn't be too sad if he wasn't with the Wings next year but if he is, I'd be okay with it. He just needs to step it up and contribute. (Above from the Freep) Dave Lewis It was announced today at the draft that Lewis finally signed that contract and will officially be the Wings' head coach next year. It was a mere "formality," according to Ken Holland, since they two sides had agreed on terms more than week ago. The contract is for one year and as per the Wings' standard policy, the financial aspects were not disclosed. I can't say I'm too thrilled with the prospect of Lewie returning as coach but the Wings know what they're doing, as wrong as it may seem to me. Although, he has been coaching a team built for Scotty Bowman and maybe it's time for the organization to build for Dave Lewis. The fact that it was only a one year contract is interesting and doesn't show a much of a vote of confidence from the team. Bowman used to be on a year-by-year basis but that was health related and that doesn't apply here. Oh well. We'll see how he does this time around. He's lucky he works for the Wings, otherwise he'd have been gone last year.


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