Wild Firesale Could Mean Wings Benefit

I’ll be looking at some teams whose salary cap situations, place in the standings, or any other variety of reasons will cause them to part with some pieces over the summer, and how the Red Wings may benefit from their misfortunes. Click here for my look at the Philadelphia Flyers. Up next are the Minnesota Wild!

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Wings to Add Top 6 Forward? Jagr in the Mix

When Brian Rafalski announced his retirement in late May, it threw a gigantic wrench into what otherwise would have been a fairly quite offseason for the Detroit Red Wings. They were planning on returning essentially the same forward corps, with possibly the retirements of Mike Modano and Kris Draper creating room for Cory Emmerton and Jan Mursak. On defense, the only real question was whether or not Nick Lidstrom would be returning or not. With Rafalski’s unexpected departure from the lineup, there is now a $6M hole for the Wings to fill. General Manager Ken Holland said that he will explore the trade market, as well as free agency, to find Rafalski’s replacement. Coach Mike Babcock has also asked that Holland add a top 6 forward to his group up front.

So with that in mind, who are the Wings top 6 forwards?

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Player Profile: Benjamin Conz

Leading up to the draft, I’ve introduced you to a handful of players who could find themselves taken with the 24th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, when the Detroit Red Wings are scheduled to make their first selection.

Joe Morrow, the puck-moving defenseman from Portland.

Rickard Rakell, the skilled Swedish import playing for the nearby Plymouth Whalers.

Joel Armia, the ‘Finnish Ace’ who plays for Porin Assat of the SM-Liiga.

Tomas Jurco, the Slovakian forward who recently won the Memorial Cup with the Saint John Seadogs.

And of course, Vladislav Namestnikov, the Russian with all those connections to Red Wings past and present.

With this player profile, however, I’ll be looking at a player you won’t see coming off the board in the first round of the draft.

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Flyers, Wings Trade Partners?

We are just over three weeks away from the start of free agency, when all of the teams that were unsuccessful in their bid to capture the Stanley Cup try to improve their team for the following season, and the team that was successful tries to keep it’s group intact.

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Player Profile: Vladislav Namestnikov

In preparation for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, I have been profiling players who may be available when the Red Wings make their first selection at 24th overall. I’ve hit most of the nationalities that make up the Red Wings roster so far, including a Canadian, a Swede, and a Finn. The other day, I profiled Tomas Jurco, and while there are no current Red Wings from Slovakia, his hometown is just a four hour drive from that of prospect Tomas Tatar.

While there is currently only one Russian on the Red Wings, and none necessarily coming up the pipeline, the past and present of the Wings franchise has been shaped by enormous contributions from players who hail from the former Soviet Union. From Pavel Datsyuk now, to the famous Russian 5 of the mid-ninties, they all have a connection to this next player.

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Player Profile: Tomas Jurco

In preparation for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, which is now less than two weeks away, I will be profiling several players who the Wings could target with their first pick, the 24th overall selection in the first round. I have already covered a handful of players who should be available at this stage of the draft, including Joseph Morrow, Joel Armia and Rickard Rakell.

Captain Nicklas Lidstrom is expected to let the team know his plans for next season before the draft, which takes place in Minnesota on June 24th-25th. There is a cautious optimism surrounding the Wings that Lidstrom will return for his 20th season in the D. If he opts to retire, though, everything changes, and the Wings may decide to try to move up the draft board and take a future franchise defenseman. For now, though, let’s assume that Lidstrom and the Wings both stay put and they use their 24th overall selection.

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Stanley Cup Finals Preview: Canucks v. Bruins

Three long, grueling rounds of playoff hockey have built up to this moment. Tonight, at 8 pm EST, the Boston Bruins, representing the NHL’s Eastern Conference, and the Vancouver Canucks, the NHL’s top regular season team, will square off in Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals.

But it is more than just the last two months of playoff hockey that have allowed us to reach this point. Seven months, a marathon regular season, saw the Canucks finish with a league-high 117 points. No one else was within 10 points of them.

The Boston Bruins, on the other hand, were kind of an afterthought in the East playoff race. They finished with the third seed, by virtue of winning the weak Northeast division. This is despite the fact that they finished in a tie with Tampa Bay for the 4th most points in their conference, behind Washington, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

But, more than this past regular season has helped shape this Stanley Cup Final series.

Roberto Luongo and the Canucks have overcome years of personal and organizational demons to get to this point.

The Bruins have been minus their best forward for the better part of the last calendar year from a cheap shot from Matt Cooke in last year’s playoffs.

So who has the edge coming into the final two weeks of the 2010-2011 NHL season? That’s what Cody and I are here to tell you!

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Campbell Out; Shanahan In as NHL Disciplinarian

Future Hall of Famer Brendan Shanahan has continued his climb up the ranks of the National Hockey League’s Head Office. With the news of Colin Campbell’s resignation from his post as principal disciplinarian, Brendan Shanahan has been elevated to the position. He previously held the title of Vice President of Hockey and Business Operations.

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