We’re all pissed.
We thought we were inline to snag a decade’s worth of service from a legit top-pairing blueliner this week. It didn’t happen…and then options B and C (or maybe F) fell through when Stevie Y jumped into the game and snagged Carle and Salo. A top-pairing of Ian White and Nik Kronwall doesn’t scare me, but a second pairing of Riggy Shitbox and The Q has even the most optimistic in these ranks shitting kittens.
…but here we are, in moment when most of us expected to be weighing how well Suter would be stepping into Nick’s role, groggily shaking off the hangover foisted upon ourselves yesterday that began after we got back from a 4-hour training ride and realizing we’d swung and missed (I can’t be alone in this regard).
We’re all asking the same question – where do we go from here? Here’s a few places I don’t think we’re reasonably going, no matter how many times Puck Daddy jerks us off about studs considering Detroit:
Rick Nash isn’t coming here.
We’re not moving the Mule.
Flip and some random smattering of fourth liners won’t yield Bobby Ryan.
Shea Weber isn’t coming here.
I would love for history to make an asshole out of me. It wouldn’t be the first time. I would scream like a little girl if the second this went up, Darren Dreger accurately cited a contract term or trade sheet we’d put together for those guys. If that happens, I’ll be the first guy inline to buy a metaphorical beer for all the lonely hearts who think we’re on the verge of pairing Flip, the Sak and a paper bag full of Red Coat Tavern burgers for a legitimate blue chip forward under the age of 30.
My outlook just isn’t that optimistic. Best case scenario has us somewhere lost in space, orbiting the planets of older grittier players or guys who have spent their careers under-delivering. The safe bets are off the table. It’s time to get creative and realistic.
Shane Doan and Alexander Semin are two names that, a week ago, would have been considered luxuries and experiments…players we tacked onto the already successful off-season pursuit of a premiere defenseman. Today, they look a bit different. We’re experiencing the “closing time effect” where prospects of the fairer sex who looked B-grade at 10 pm now look a hell of a lot more appealing because the bartender just yelled last call and the prime options already got scooped.
In isolation, Doan and Semin wouldn’t have a huge impact. I’m not saying they wouldn’t help, but they wouldn’t be transformative. Doan, my preference between the two, will help refill the Hudler scoring void and he’s a legitimate character guy who could give this team a boost in the grit department. With all the chatter about the Wings getting tougher this year, that move makes a lot of sense, and I’m onboard with Chief’s 3-year, $6 million per offer.
The issue is that Doan doesn’t get us much farther ahead than we were last season when we had a full roster of blueliners and enough firepower up front to be one of the better teams in the regular season. At best we’re holding serve, replacing blueline talent with up-front snarl. It’s a fair trade…or at least as fair as we can hope for right now…but we’re still in a position where the 2012 squad is looking up at 2011.
Coming out of last season, we were committed to getting BETTER, not just staying even, and with that in mind, we need to look seriously at some stretch plays. One name that’s been tossed around often, especially as a linemate for Datsyuk, is Alexander Semin. The big Russian winger’s story has been well-described: talented but not tenacious, skilled but soft.
In isolation, Semin or Doan put us right back where we started or even behind compared to last season. As a pair though, we could get a multiplier effect because of the intangibles that Doan brings to the table.
- Could Doan keep Semin inline?
- Could he recraft the culture on the Wings top two lines to be a “harder” style that Alex was forced to fall inline with?
- Is tethering Semin’s talent to Doan’s leadership the best we can do right now?
At a time when the Suters and Parises are off the market, it’s time to reasonably discuss how we pull this off.