The Detroit Red Wings have been one of the model NHL franchises over the last 20 or so years, making the NHL post season in each of the last 21 seasons. Along the way winning four Stanley Cup titles and before the days of the NHL salary cap spending whatever payroll dollars need to be spent to insure the team would compete for titles year in and year out. Today, July 5, 2013, The Detroit Red Wings made a big push to rebuild on the fly as they look to remake their team into an Eastern Conference powerhouse.
The moves made by the Wings today clearly show a team getting ready to play a different style of hockey. The team signed long time Ottawa Senator Center and Captain Daniel Alfredsson to a one year deal while also landing former Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss. The team also lost Center Valtteri Flippula to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It seems clear that these two men were brought to the roster to teach the rest of the team how to play Eastern Conference hockey. While the Wings have had a lot of success signing veterans to short term deals late in their careers the real splash here is landing Weiss. Weis joins Pavel Datsuyk and Henrik Zetterberg as well as Alfredsson at center for the Wings. How the lines will eventually be built will depend a lot on what else happens in free agency.
There had been rumors the Wings were interested in veteran forward Vincent Lecavalier but it looks like the Wings were not willing to go as high or as long as the Philadelphia Flyers were when they signed the 33 year old to a five year 22.5 million dollar deal.
Since the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Wings top minor League affiliate, won their league's championship these free agent moves could be paired with an influx of young talent for the team starting later this fall. We shall see how the Wings go about building out their rest of their roster.