With Brian Rafalski retiring and the possibility existing that Nicklas Lidstrom will do the same, the Detroit Red Wings will be in the market for defensemen this offseason. The perception is that this is a rather weak class of unrestricted free agents, so many have suggested the Red Wings go after restricted free agents like Shea Weber of Nashville or Drew Doughty of Los Angeles. Adding one of them would be outstanding, but it wouldn't be easy since they are both RFAs.â†µ
Until the free agency period comes and goes there will be people suggesting the Red Wings target these RFAs, but don't expect that to actually happen based on what general manager Ken Holland recently had to say about the subject.â†µ
"I think it's a bit of an effort in futility because if you sign an offer sheet to a restricted (free agent) at the going rate, the team's going to match,'' Holland said after the press conference announcing Brian Rafalski's retirement. "The only way you get these players is if you pay them way beyond what they're worth. That's really not what the cap world is all about. The cap world is about finding players that play beyond what you pay them.''â†µ
Holland didn't rule out making a trade, of course, but the Predators aren't going to deal a guy like Weber to a division rival, and the Kings aren't expected to trade a player like Doughty. The Thrashers' Zach Bogosian is a definite possibility given the financial state of the Atlanta franchise, but he is much more unproven than Weber and Doughty.