Roundtable: What’s the one question you’d ask Wings management?

Of all the components of the franchise right now to question… the Wings front office is arguably amongst the least favourable. 

In a twitter poll we conducted recently, the front office got 82% negative reviews which is… far from ideal.

So we posed the question to our writers (and friend of the blog, Shawn Reis)… What’s the one question you’d ask Wings management?

Kyle Krische

If I had the chance to ask Wings management anything, it would be what the thought process looks like in regards to the top-6 after trying to fill a hole like Datsyuk. I know they thought about the defensive side of what he brought to the table when they went out and got Frans Nielsen, but how will the top-6 look in terms of generating offence? Does his absence give Tatar and Nyqvist permanent top-6 roles from here on out? 

How does Larkin’s role change and what do you have to adjust about your expectations for his game by giving him more responsibility at centre? 

I would go this route for a few reasons. Scoring was a real issue last season, and I want to see how these 6 spots are going to be recalibrated after a full year under Blashill. 

I want to see from their perspective where they feel their new signings fit into the line up. I also want to see if any of these changes have to do with analytics and looking at what Pavel brought to this team apart from what was on the score sheet. 

They’re thankfully in a very weak division but there are teams on the rise and teams that are tweaking their mix of players from analytics to experience and back again. I just want to make sure the organization is not only focused on keeping up but staying ahead of their competitors.

Nick Seguin

If I could ask one question of Wings management, it would be about what they plan on doing with their logjam of defensemen. 

Xavier Ouellet, Nick Jensen, Ryan Sproul, and Bryan Lashoff are all waiver-eligible this year and the blueline is already facing some question marks when it comes to injury with the news of Niklas Kronwall’s knee keeping him out of the World Cup of Hockey tournament. 

How do we not lose one of our prospect defensemen to the waiver wire for nothing? As a follow-up, I would ask what their thoughts were on their defensive depth and the fact that they arguably have a team of bottom four defensemen without a bonafide top-2 blueliner. Are you going to give any of the young guys a shot to see if they can fill that role?

Scott Maxwell

If I could ask Ken Holland anything, it would be why Holland continues to give term to every UFA he sees. We already see that he’s in cap hell, because he has eight players locked up to contracts of at least four years, and with exception of maybe DeKeyser, almost none of them are players you want long term. Zetterberg, who has four more years of his contract, despite the fact that he’s already tailing off. Abdelkader, whose hit his peak already, and will only get worse from here, while is seven year contract is just about to start. 

Nielsen is a bit justifiable, since he was a FA signing, but six years is a lot for a 32 year old. Helm is locked up five years, because I don’t know why. Ericsson is HALFWAY through his eight year contract, and he’s already achieved pylon status. Glendening just got a four year extension after his contract ends next year, because you always give term to replaceable fourth line grinders. Oh, and Franzen, who will luckily be on LTIR to save Holland from being almost $5 million over the cap. It’s never a bad idea to lock a player long term, unless they’re either bad to begin with, or you lock them up long enough that they’ll be bad at the end, and Ken Holland has proven that he is god awful as the judge of that.

Adam Laskaris

If I could ask Red Wings management one question, it’d be “Who does what around here?”

Understanding and criticising the organization is a fair move that should be allotted to every fanbase.

But often, it’s unsure of where to put the criticism.

Is Ken Holland bad at his job, or his he just stuck with the guidance of owner Mike Illitch and forced to execute moves he doesn’t want to? 

Are people working for the team aware of the problems and the potential solutions, but forced to try to keep up a playoff streak to satisfy the owner?

Is is the billionaire Illitch only concerned about the relatively immediate future of this franchise and extending the playoff streak as a means of profit rather than the long-term growth? 

I’d like to really find out about the inner workings and responsibilities of the Wings front office and the power structure that it involves. It’s easy to point fingers at Ken Holland, but it’d be interesting to see how the entire organization operates as a whole and exactly what the causes are for many of the problems this team faces.

Shawn Reis

If I could
ask the Red Wings management team one question, it would be, “What are your
plans for the long-term future of this team?”. With Lidstrom long retired,
Datsyuk now gone, Zetterberg not getting any younger, and Kronwall on the
decline, the foundation of those unbelievable Wings teams is on the verge of
being a memory.

Any true Stanley Cup contender needs
a first line center, a number one defenseman, and some great if
not downright star-laden depth. The Wings don’t have that anymore , and while
Dylan Larkin can fill a star role on the team down the line, I don’t see any of
the other good young pieces in the organization being elite players.

With that in mind, the Wings need to
bring in more young front-end talent. But they also seem reluctant to accept
the reality of their situation – which is that the best course of action would
probably be to rebuild. All these things considered, I’m really curious to know
what the Wings are thinking about how they’re going to not only return to Cup
contention, but even remain a playoff team.