Another soul-crushing playoff exit for the Red Wings means two things in Hockeytown: 1) that baseball season is officially here. Go Tigers. And 2) that it’s time for 5 months of debating the Red Wings roster for next October. Since we here at D4L have been giving you hard-hitting Tigers coverage for the past 2 months already, we’ll skip straight to #2.
It’s simple, really: who goes and who stays? Keep reading to find out.
Jonathan Ericsson – STAY
Yeah, you read that right. Ericsson is… inconsistent, to put it nicely. But he’s also 6’5″, 220 lbs. and still in his 20s. Guys that big don’t just grow on trees, even in Sweden. He’s not going to be a top-flight defenseman, and with the talent in the Red Wings system already he doesn’t have to be. Add in the fact that he can do this without sacrificing a roster spot for a Brad May-type player, and his value skyrockets.
Jiri Hudler – GO
Yes, Hudler is also in his 20s, but unlike Ericsson, Hudler isn’t very big. He also doesn’t bring anything special to the Wings that isn’t already sitting on the bench or waiting patiently in Grand Rapids. He can do some nice things when he’s playing well, but Hudler disappears too much for weeks at a time for my liking. Not to mention, he’s owed almost $3 million next year, not exactly cheap for a 3rd line player.
Jimmy Howard – GO
Just kidding. Howard is the reason I’m writing this on Friday instead of last Monday. Lock him up, Kenny.
Valtteri Filppula – STAY
Of all the names mentioned around the Red Wings blogosphere, this one confuses me the most. Fil is young, versatile and good. He has his lapses, but he’s closer to his Pavel Datsyuk Lite stereotype than some think. That, and apparently he’s attractive or something… you know, for a 16-year old.
Ruslan Salei – GO
If you’re questioning why Salei should stay, good. He was solid this year for the Wings, but the fact that he was only signed to a one-year deal indicates exactly what his role was: a rental. With Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith sitting on their hands in Grand Rapids, Salei needs to be let go.
Mike Babcock – STAY
Yes, there are people out there questioning whether Babcock deserves to be behind the bench again next season. No amount of psychobabble bullshit was going to get the Wings “more ready” to play last night. He’s already won one Cup and was [pick your reason] away from another. And if you think that he’s lost the team, I think Games 4-6 answered that question perfectly.
Of course, this should all be taken with a giant, “I trust Ken Holland”-sized grain of salt. I expect that we’ll see most of these guys, Salei excluded, back in Detroit next season. Until then… well, the Tigers start at 7.