Monday, August 01, 2005

The Wings' first moves in free agency

Today, the Wings gave qualifying offers to their Group 2 free agents (Darryl Bootland, Matt Ellis, Tomas Kopecky, Niklas Kronvall, Joey MacDonald, Jason Williams, Henrik Zetterberg). The most important names on that list are obviously Kronvall, Williams and Zetterberg, three players the Wings hinge much of their future on. Starting today, the team will have to begin the process of fighting off other teams in the league who will now be able to make offers to those players. If Nick2 (hey, I have to call him something and "Nick"is already taken), Williams and Hank agree to terms with another team, the Wings will be able to match that offer to keep them from leaving (a la Sergei Fedorov in 98 with Carolina). If the Wings choose not to match another team's offer, they will receive, from that team draft-pick compensation, based on that offer's value:
Offer (Compensation) $660,000 or below (None) Over $660,000 to $1 million (Third-round choice) Over $1 million to $2.0 million (Second-round choice) Over $2.0 million to $3.0 million (First-round and third-round choice) Over $3.0 million to $4.0 million (First-round, second-round and third-round choice) Over $4.0 million to $5.0 million (Two first-round choices, one second- and one third-round choice) Over $5 million (Four first-round choices)
Given reports that have come up recently, I don't expect negotiations with Zetterberg to go all that smoothly. It sounds like he may have an inflated idea of his own worth and that will make it harder for the Wings to fit him under the cap. I don't know of any such troubles with Williams or Kronvall but given his great year in the AHL, Nick2 may be looking for more as well. Also, rumors are floating around that the Wings are in trade negotiations with the Boston Bruins. The player reportedly involved from the Boston end is Joe Thornton and the player on the Detroit end is supposed to be Pavel Datsyuk. The merits of such a trade, at any time, are debatable, but the situation is such that I can't really see it happening at this time. Thornton is a Group 6 UFA and is so is not signed by Boston. Pavel Datsyuk is a RFA and is not signed by the Wings. Instead, he is contemplating staying in Russia for next year. Given those facts, I find it unlikely that either team would risk losing their franchise players (current and prospective) to a trade when they could lose what they got to free agency. Besides, however much Pavel Datsyuk wants, it's not likely to be the $4.5 to $5+ million Joe Thornton is likely to get on the free market. Despite Pavel's age, they might be better served paying him that much if they are willing to pay Thornton it. Pavel's upside is pretty big. I would like to see Thornton in the Winged Wheel though. Have for years. UPDATE 8/1 8:45 pm (Brian) The Russian hockey federation might not sign the new NHL-IIHF agreement, which could be a problem if Datsyuk has signed with Moscow Dynamo for next season already. Escape clauses aren't as easy to use without an NHL-IIHF agreement.


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