Friday, July 6, 2012

Doan, Semin or Both?

This is the question that has been rising in the minds of Red Wings fans since we lost out on the PariSuter Sweepstakes. I've brought up the point that the Red Wings have to make a choice - continue to bring in outside talent to try to compete or give the young prospects a chance to get some serious NHL time - and a lot of people are pro-Bring In Talent. We're going to ignore the defensive side for now, because there are still a couple of forward UFAs that have Red Wings fans abuzz: Phoenix's Shane Doan and Washington's Alexander Semin. Let's take a look at the Red Wings' forward situation.

This is based on assumptions and extrapolations. The 1st and 2nd lines are based off the lines we saw last season. and with the exit of Jiri Hudler there's an opening with Zetterberg and Filppula. The extra spot on Datsyuk's line is left open because it felt like a revolving door by the end of the season. 3rd line has a good chance looking like it did last season. The 4th line has a right wing spot open, and I left the center spot open because Justin Abdelkader* is a restricted free agent who has yet to sign. 

Patrick Eaves** is an unknown because he's still on injury reserve. While he expects to be ready come regular season time, and we hope he is, we just don't know. 

For the most part I listed the extra players in their officially position, with the exception of Abdelkader. Technically he's a left wing but he usually centered the 4th line. . What we can assume is that there are openings on the wing on the 1st, 2nd and 4th lines as well as 4th line center. 

If you wanted to go the "let's use what we've got" train of thought, it's just a matter of filling spots. Samuelsson is Jiri Hudler without the love of hookers, and is a right handed shot. So he'd fill the slot on Zetterberg's line. Babcock has said that Brunner is breaking the top 6. Fans want it to be Tatar or Nyquist. Tootoo is a shoe in for that bottom right wing position, and the 4th line center can be done by Abdelkader (if we resign him) or Emmerton (if we don't). But let's look at what Doan and Semin could bring to the Red Wings.

Just stat wise from 2008 to this season, here's how the two stack up.

Some details jump out. Semin missed some games due to some injuries, although nothing that screams massive white flag. His offensive numbers are impressive, but he's been playing with Ovechkin and Backstrom. You're going to be on the ice for a lot of goals, but his +/- bolsters his two way credentials a bit. Although along with his scoring, his plus minus took a hit this season too.

Conversely, Doan has been a very solid 50+ point guy, with 20-30 goals and 30+ assists. This production coming from a Shane Doan who has never gotten to play with guys like Datsyuk or Ovechkin. His plus minus has been less than stellar, but a lot of that was because he had to play on the Phoenix Coyotes in front of Ilya Bryzgolov. He comes with the added advantage of being a right handed winger and despite his gritty, physical play style he somehow managed to tally fewer penalty minutes in the past 5 years than Semin. Although he has been suspended.

Break down of the pro's and con's after the break.

"KHAAAAAAN will hopefully break out of his depression
if I sign in Detroit"
Pro-Doan: Coming to Detroit, Doan could be slotted alongside either Datsyuk or Zetterberg. The kind of hard work Doan does would prove to be really useful. He can fight for pucks behind the net and in the corners and judging by his assists, he has no problem dishing the puck off. He does have a solid scoring touch and can score those dirty goals in front of the net. This also would allow him to be a power play guy for Detroit.

He's shown a ton of leadership in Phoenix and brings that anywhere he plays.

No-Doan: He's 35 years old. While we just watched Nicklas Lidstrom skate past age 40 like a boss, there's some doubt as to whether Shane Doan can continue to be the powerful, physical scoring threat that he has been all these years. His physical play style can lead to penalties, and as mentioned before, he was suspended in 2010. The Wings saw their first suspensions in years with Brendan Smith and Kyle Quincey this season. I don't expect Detroit to turn into a suspension factory, but it's something to be aware of. 

Contract Hypothetical: Doan wrapped up a 5 year contract worth 4.55 million a season with Phoenix. I have a hard time imaging he would command much more than that. Rumor has it that Doan would like to stay in Phoenix if and only if they can figure out their ownership issues. If they can't, Doan may leave to make sure he has a team to play for. I would expect Doan is looking for a place to round out his career that'll give him serious chances for his name on the Stanley Cup. I imagine after tasting Conference Finals this season, he's not going to want to back track. I've heard that Doan may be seeking a longer contract, and with offers coming in from several teams, it may come down to the Red Wings making a heavier pitch.

Red Wings Hypothetically Sign Doan: 4 years, 5.55 million/year ($11,282,955 cap space remains)

Anyone else feel like Semin looks like
Channing Tatum in this photo?
Pro-Semin: Coming to Detroit, Alexander Semin would bring another dynamic Russian forward, which has worked out pretty well for us historically. The assumption is he would be placed along side Pavel Datsyuk because of their amazing chemistry in the 2012 World's Competition. Semin has amazing scoring talent and arguably is very underrated as a two way forward. Semin alongside Datsyuk would give us two fast, talented forwards alongside the bigger, grittier Johan Franzen. With the loss of Jiri Hudler, and the Wings' occasional scoring issues, Semin could be a nice shot of adrenalin. 

He's also 28, so while his production could be expected to drop soon, he's still arguably got several years of goal scoring ahead of him.

No-Semin: Alexander Semin is the Washington Capital's equivalent of Johan Franzen. Washington fans have lamented for years about his seeming love to disappear from the score sheets for games on end, especially come playoff time. My belief is Semin is sick and tired of playing for the Alexander Ovechkin show, and with Backstrom and others seemingly more interested in towing the party line, Semin may just be looking for a way out. Putting him alongside Datsyuk may give him the motivation he needs.

That being said, he commanded a 6.7 million dollar contract from Washington this past season. Red Wings fans (and haters) are wondering whether or not the old "But we're the Red Wings" pitch is enough to get a guy like Semin to take a pay cut to come to Detroit. Also, rumor has it he's looking to lock up a 6 year contract from whomever he signs. Even assuming he's willing to round down to 6 million, a 6 year 6 million dollars a season is a bigger cap hit than Franzen. Semin is most likely going to pull in between 6-7 million, maybe more given this free agent market. 

That is a huge gamble on a player who could end up being a huge bust. If he disappears in Detroit, we've pissed away 6+ million dollars and the likelihood of trading him would be next to nil. 

P.S. Signing Semin and playing him with Datsyuk guarantees no Glorious Pavquist Master Race.

Red Wings Hypothetically Sign Semin: 6 years, 6-7 million/year ($9,832,955 to $10,832,955 cap space remains)

Red Wings Hypothetically Sign Both: $4,282,955 to $5,282, 955 in cap space remains. 

Keeping in mind Red Wing fans, we arguably still have to sign a 7th defenseman, we have to deal with Kyle Quincey going to arbitration - which says nothing negative about Kyle Quincey - and Justin Abdelkader's contract as well. 

What do you? Let me know in the comments below and Let's Go Red Wings


  1. Sign Doan, short term if possible, but take risk if necessary. Forget Semin. REALLY forget Nash.

    Sign Quincey. Trade for lesser talented D, preferably younger. Either that or trade Franzen and lesser prospect and/or picks for Yandle. That makes 7. Likely the youngest D corps in the NHL, which is scary, but decent chance for it to go to the Playoffs. Need the goaltending here, bigtime. Need the vaunted left wing lock to reappear(another reason Franzen is expendable, we need young quicks on that side).

    Sign Abdelkader. Trim out the forward situation as necessary, adding Nyquist and another youngster if possible. I want Eaves as a penalty killer, if at all possible, good duo with Helm.

    May start slow next season, due to young D and continuing PP issues, but if the goaltending holds up, team'll improve slowly and could be ready for a Playoff run by end of next season.

    I see offensive goalscoring punch as better with the above, due to a potentially quicker and more dynamic forward set, but somewhat worse on the backline, although with headroom for considerable improvement. Gustavsson a potential big improver as well.

    These are my views. If you don't like them I have others. ;-)

    1. I think that's a completely legitimate perspective, although without further explanation I think you could be wrong to want to forget Semin. And I disagree with your assessment that we need goaltending.

      Eaves can be a part of the team if his concussion symptoms are gone and don't come back. If he's healthy, he's a great option for your bottom pairings.

      I don't know what we'd have to give up to get Yandle, but it may be in the ballpark of what Howson is asking for Nash, which may make it in an impossibility. But it's definitely an option.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Mike,

    I don't think we need to find more goaltending, as I'm quite pleased that Holland picked up Gustavsson, to go along with a good Jimmy Howard. That's not an issue for me, and I'm glad Holland is fixing the issue proactively. Conklin and McDonald were no-go's as far as I'm concerned.

    But I do want the goaltending to excel and be at the peak of their games, with Lidstrom/Stuart gone and young D about. It's a point of attention, and I'm pleased to see Renney come on board to give it that attention. The goaltending cannot be allowed to falter in any fashion next season. If the Wings repeat last season's trainwreck, either through injuries/poor play, they won't survive it, unlike last season.

    Semin is intriguing, but I'm just buying the negative twittering that's going around about him, and am hesitant about adding that to the Wings right now, particularly at big money. Doan's as good a bet, in my mind.

    I don't want to overpay for Yandle, but similar with the Suter thing, the Wings are in a box and may have to overtrade to get him, if they want him badly. I think Smith can do what Yandle does, or will soon, it's just a matter of do they want him to jump into it so early.

    Jut as a point of personal intellectual curiousity, I'd like to see the Wings go into it with a 26.5 year old average age defense, or younger, as is seemingly possible here. Babcock would lose his mind, but it'd be relatively exciting at times. ;-)

    1. The more people talk about Semin, the better he sounds to me. But I understand he's going to be a bigger risk v reward situation. A potential boom or bust. Doan is probably the more reliable option, although he's 35 so keep that in mind.

      I think the Wings are going to look younger this year no matter what they do. Thanks for the comment.