Red Wings finally caught by salary cap face a long road to o

Red Wings finally caught by salary cap face a long road to o


Staring with, oh, lets say the 2011-12 season, theRed Wings had become a team that was able to do just enough to get into the playoffs, keep its streak of postseason appearances alive, and then not really do much else of consequence beyond that.

The core that had been the foundation of a roster that went to consecutive Stanley Cup Finals in 2007-08 and 2008-09 (winning one; losing the other in a one-goal Game 7) had been slowly broken up, and the players whodid remain Drew Lock T Shirts were not quite what they were when the Red Wings were one of the NHLs powerhouse teams.

This is not uncommon. Dynasties and great teams always go through cycles and nobody stays on top of the mountain forever.

Everybody, at some point, falls off.


But the Red Wings decline from that perch at the top of the NHL was not a sudden fall off of a cliff. It was a slow, gradual tumblethat finally resulted in them mi sing the playoffs this past season for the first time since the 1989-90 season (and only the second time since 1986-87).

You could see it inevitably coming each season, and now that it has happened the Red Wings led by general manager Ken Holland have to figure out how to start their climb back toward the top.

Given the makeup of the roster at this point, that is going to be easier said than done.

As long as the playoff streak was still alive the Red Wings showedabsolutely zero interest in rebuilding because there remained a standard in place that Jerry Jeudy T Shirts competing for a Stanley Cup every single season was the ultimate goal. It is an admirable goal, and given the standard the Red Wings had set for themselves during the playoff streak (six Stanley Cup Final appearances; four Stanley Cup wins) an understandable one. Nobody wants to tell their fans, whoare accustomed to winning, thatsuddenlyyou arent going to win anymore.


This was never a team that rebuilt. It reloaded. In the pre-salary cap era it was a little easier for them to do that. They could add big-ticket free agents, swing blockbuster trades and mix those new additions with a consistent pipeline of talent that was producing its own All-Star level players.It didnt matter if the contracts for those new additions were an overpay, or if the players were past their prime because the Red Wings had a bottomle s pit of money to pull from and nothing stopping them from doing so.

Those additions also allowed them to be, at times, painfully slow when it came to promoting their own talent from within the organization.

Things are a little different in a salary cap era.

Teams like the Red Wings no longer have the luxury of being able to overpay for an older player or two, or to fill their roster with big-ticket acquisitions from outside the organization. Every dollar spent comes with an opportunity cost. Every dollar needs to be spent wisely. There needs to be an enormous emphasis on not only producing young talent from within, but also getting it to the NHL as quickly Denver Broncos Polos as po sible to make an impact.


That brings us to the current version of the Red Wings, where there are a lot of short-and long-term problems.

When it comes to the more immediate outlook, it is a team that is coming off of a non-playoff season and has not been out of the first round in four years. It is a team that has not been out of the second round since the 2008-09 season. Other than adding Trevor Daley in free agency, they have not really done anything tochange the roster in any meaningful way, while their best returning player Henrik Zetterberg is one year older entering his age 37 season.

Even worse, they have one of the largest cap numbers in the league and a roster that is going Denver Broncos Pet Gear to feature as many as nine players over the age of 30 including six (Zetterberg, Daley, Jonathan Eric son, Jimmy Howard, Frans Nielsen, Niklas Kronwall) that are age 33 or older, all of whom are signed through at least next season.

Four of them (Zetterberg, Frans Nielsen, Jonathan Eric son, Daley) are signed for at least three more seasons.


They already have more than $62 million in salary committed to next years roster with only 16 players under contract, including the group of players mentioned above.

None of this is terribly encouraging. Not only are the Red Wings coming off of a non-playoff season with an older, expensive roster, but they are committed to a significant chunk of that roster for years down the line with some significant financial investments. All of that makes it difficult to see Baron Browning Jerseys a quick way for the Red Wings to get back in the right direction.

This is the problem with the Red Wings approach in recent seasons where they refused to acknowledge a declining team that was in need of a rebuild and kept trying to compete.

There is no middle ground in profe sional sports.

Youre either a contender, or youre rebuilding.

Teams that try to stay in the middle and simultaneously do both or try to do both or teams that are unaware of the fact they do need to rebuild, tend to get stuck in this no man's land a heck of a lot longer than teams that just tear it to the ground and start from scratch.


Thats not to say that a total rebuild is always going to work quickly or go according to plan. TheSabres arestill trying to climb out of the cellar after taking a scorched-earth approach to theirrebuild. But theyat least have a young cornerstone building block to show for it in Jack Eichel. They have a player to build around for the next decade and somebody whocould be a franchise-changing player.

The Red Wings, given their current path, dont seem likely to land in such a position unle s they get some incredibly good fortune in the draft lottery. They also do not seem to have one coming through their pipeline and they dont have anyone on the roster, either in terms of talent and production or contract status, that is going to bring a sizable return in a trade.

The team they have now has enough talent to at least remain somewhat competitive.

Zetterberg still has some miles left. Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyqvist and Dylan Larkin are decent enough top-six options, any one of whom could have a big year.

But there isnt anyonehere whois going to take over a game or be John Elway T Shirts an elite player in the NHL. Jimmy Howard or Petr Mrazek are both capable of getting hot and stealing some games for them, but probably not enough to make up for the lack of impact talent elsewhere on the roster. Put all of that together and you have a team that is probably going to win enough games to avoid a prime spot in the draft lottery, but not enough to get back in the playoffs.