Friday, July 29, 2005

Trouble Signing Zetterberg and Datsyuk

GM Ken Holland gave a general outline of who he's looking for in the free agent market:
"In addition to trying to bring some of our guys back, we need another goalie and probably a defenseman or two. I'm going to talk to some general managers about some trades because in this system, you're really going to make more moves in the summer because it will be difficult during the season to make trades for players with similar salaries."
And then there's word from Holland that talks with Datsyuk are basically going nowhere:
"I've talked to his agent and we're still a long, long way apart. He has a chance to play in Russia, but I can't overpay him no matter how good he is. I want to get it done with him, but it doesn't make sense to throw your cap out of whack to do it."
My guess is that the Wings aren't comfortable with Datsyuk making more than $1.5-2 million, and he's asking for $3 million or more. He has a significant offer from Moscow Dynamo in hand, and I'm sure it's much better than the $1 million tax-free Bykov pulled in. Any tax-free offer in Russia for $1.5-2 million would kill the Wings' chances of bringing Pavel back. Expect the worst. And while reports in the Free Press and Detroit News have suggested things were going ok with talks with Zetterberg, not exactly so. According to Swedish newspaper AftonBladet, Zetterberg is also demanding a significant raise. Visit LetsGoWings for a translation. Says Gunnar Svensson, Zetterberg's agent:
"We'll need more than a 10% raise. We don't intend to comment further on any contract figures during the negotiations. He's a vital part of the future of this team."
The 10% raise refers to the required qualifying offer, which would be $710,600 after rollback. In the AftonBladet article, the rumored amount Zetterberg is seeking is $2.6 million. While this number is high, I figured in Henrik getting a significant raise in my payroll analysis. I pegged Zata at $1.75 million, so hopefully Holland is willing to give him a raise but not more than that. In other Wings news, Jim Nill announced today that the Wings have signed Ryan Oulahen and Kyle Quincey to three-year, entry-level contracts. I don't really follow prospects other than when I read about them from training camp reports, so I'll reserve till then to comment. Red Wings Central is always the best place for year-round prospects coverage.


At 7/29/2005 06:54:00 PM, Blogger Matt Saler said...

Just think, last season, we could have signed those two to whatever they wanted. It wouldn't have been very smart but there wouldn't be any worries about losing them. Now there is a very real chance we could lose hold of both. Wonderful. I know the owners bought into this unanimously but it has to kill Illitch to have his hands tied like this.

I really wish people, myself included, hadn't played up their role as "the foundation of the franchise in the future." That obviously got to their heads. So much for loyalty for team over selfish conceit.

At 7/30/2005 12:19:00 AM, Blogger Brian List said...

I really wish people, myself included, hadn't played up their role as "the foundation of the franchise in the future." That obviously got to their heads. So much for loyalty for team over selfish conceit.

You're right. I expected this from Pavel, not quite this bad but he did have a breakout season. But from Henrik? Does he expect to get all-star salary for all-star potential? He needs a breakout year first. I don't think many teams will throw him that bone. The bad part about Henrik is that he'd likely leave for another NHL team, while Pavel will just be in Russia so we'll retain rights to him.

I think Red Wings fans always exaggerate players' loyalty to the team and how we think every NHLer wants to be on the Wings and would take a pay-cut to be here. It's more of an illusion of loyalty how we keep a solid core of players around. We do it with money. Why else was McCarty making so much this season? Not saying guys like Mac weren't loyal but Ilitch has given them plenty of reasons to be loyal with generous salaries. We don't have a bunch of volunteer players. And those days of sentimental, fraternity salaries are over. It's time for business. As sad as it is to cut Mac, it's a smart move in the new age. And I struggle with getting over it myself...


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