Sure, the Steven Stamkos sweepstakes is a fun way to kill time this summer, but only one team is going to win his services. You have to get a back up plan in place to make sure that your team is ready for this fall. Luckily, this crop of right wingers is one of the better classes in the salary cap era. Which players should the Red Wings be targeting? What is the probability that they pick the Red Wings?
5. Lee Stempniak
Stempniak is the perfect option for a team that is cash strapped. He won’t cost a lot of money and his production is through the roof when given an opportunity. In 63 games with the Devils last year before being traded to the Bruins, Stempniak had 41 points on a 850k dollar contract. This is the type of value that teams need. The Red Wings are flush with cash and don’t necessarily need to be bargain shopping for Stempniak.
Likelihood of signing with Red Wings: 5 percent
If they swing and miss on some big time names I can see them returning with their tail between their legs asking if he would be interested in joining the team. I think the Wings land a big fish though and don’t look this far down the right wing rabbit hole.
4. Teddy Purcell
Purcell is a little bit more of a name player than Stempniak and is also a little bit younger. While he doesn’t match the point output of his counterpart that appears lower on the list, he has a chance to be a steal. After coming off of a 4+ million dollar contract, Purcell is going to be taking a hefty pay cut. His time in Edmonton obviously through off his numbers and could provide a bounce back year. More under the radar than Stempniak but I believe just as likely to succeed if signed.
Liklihood he signs with Red Wings: 15 percent
He isn’t the 50-60 point scorer that he once was, he doesn’t need to be on the Red Wings though, who are likely to bolster the lineup in different ways. He could be a great complimentary player for a team looking to add the final piece to the puzzle.
3. Radim Vrbata
Like Purcell, Vrbata is coming off of an underwhelming year and is due for a pay decrease. He loved his time with the Sedin twins but is going to need to find another center to feed him the puck. Vrbata and Zetterberg doesn’t sound too bad in the short term, no? Last year was his worst year offensively since 2003-2004 when he played with the Carolina Hurricanes and only scored 25 points that year. He will need to improve upon his 27 points from this year but that shouldn’t be tough as injuries ravaged his season last year.
Liklihood he signs with Red Wings: 20 percent
Low risk and high reward is the name of the game with Vrbata. He still has a great shot and can still make plays when you need him to. He just needs the right place to fine tune his game. Detroit could be that place.
2. Loui Eriksson
One of the crown jewels in this year’s class. Getting a 60+ point scorer on the open market is a tough thing to do and he is going to command a lot of money. At the age of 30, it is going to be hard to commit any sort of term to him. In a short term deal, wearing the Winged Wheel would be an ideal fit. He can play either wing and is versatile on special teams. He is a throwback to a bygone player. He will fit in with the other finesse players on the team as well.
Liklihood he signs with Red Wings: 25 percent
He would most likely by the prize if Kyle Okposo isn’t signed by the Red Wings. They could probably pick up both if they wanted to, the amount of money it would take would be astronomical. He would be much further down their list than people anticipate.
1. Kyle Okposo
After Steven Stamkos, everyone has turned their eyes to Kyle Okposo. At 27, he is hitting the market at just the right time. He still has a few peak years left and is able to create on his own without an elite center. Playing with Tavares helps but he also has shown when Tavares was injured that he can do some of the creating himself. He will have his choice of clubs and it won’t come easy.
What will the Red Wings offer that other teams won’t? Maybe, the opportunity to be the “man” of the club. Face of the franchise. After Zetterberg leaves, Okposo could fill that role. Still, it remains to be seen.
Liklihood he signs with Red Wings: 40 percent
This is the player they are going after. They want to name a big player and he would be it. I don’t know whether or not he fancies the Wings but he will get the pitch. The money should be right and the term could be too.
What is stopping Okposo from signing with them?