The Mike Modano watch continues and is expected to continue for at least a couple more weeks, but Red Wings coach Mike Babcock thinks the 20-year veteran will sign with Detroit when all is said and done.
"This is a no brainer for Mike Modano -- the highest scoring American player of all time to come back to your hometown, play in Hockeytown," Babcock told NHL.com Friday. "It's not about the cash, it's about the legacy and the fit. He'll fit and he'll be excited to play. I look forward to him signing. I think that's inevitable. I think that's what is going to happen."
Although Babcock sounds extremely confident that Modano will end up in Detroit, he isn't 100% sure.
"I think this is all going to work out; I'm pretty certain of that for us, but I've been around before and if you would have told me Jiri Hudler was leaving for Russia, I wouldn't have believed it," he said. "I've been wrong. Some people think I have the market cornered on being wrong."
Babcock went on to say that he isn't expecting a decision from Modano until August 1 at the earliest, but if Modano does sign with the Wings, he will likely play on the third line with Dan Cleary and Jiri Hudler. That would end up putting Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom on the first line; Valtteri Filppula, Johan Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi on the second line; and three of Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller and Kris Draper on the fourth line. Considering how good the team was in the second part of the season last year, I'd say a team with that lineup would be competing for first place in the Western Conference rather than fighting for a playoff spot.
Anyways, back to Modano. Here are some other notes on him:
- According to Ansar Khan, the Red Wings offered Modano a one-year, $1.25 million deal. With what cap space they will have left after re-signing Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader, that is just about as high as they can go. Then again, Mike Babcock said it wasn't about the money, but rather the legacy, so perhaps what he would make is not that important to Modano.
- Modano shot down a rumor that he and the Blackhawks were talking about a possible deal, saying that right now only the Red Wings, Wild and Sharks are "in the mix" for his services.