As the Detroit Red Wings head into a long offseason, one of the first areas to address is the future of their unrestricted free agents. The Wings were eliminated five games into their first-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins, an event that will spur significant change. There are seven Red Wings who are headed for UFA status, and of those, one or two are likely to be back, but most aren't. There's some dead weight to shed, some promises to keep, and one super smart Swede worth wooing. Daniel Alfredsson: Was a terrific offseason addition, bringing smart play and leadership and exemplifying why it's good to have a veteran on board. He had 18 goals and 31 assists in 68 games, with 18 of his 49 points coming on the power play. If he wants to play another season — he's 41 — the Red Wings will find a way to make it happen. Alfredsson said he won't start the process of deciding for a few weeks, because he first wants to decompress. "As a family, we had a fabulous time in Detroit, everybody liked it, so that's check one, I guess," he said. Ideally he doesn't play back-to-back games, sees most of his minutes on the power play and is fresh to make an impact in the playoffs. Todd Bertuzzi: He was pushed aside by the youth movement, but when he got into Game 4, he played big and screened on Detroit's first power play goal of the series. He had nine goals and seven assists in 59 games. He's in good health now, and will see if any teams come calling for his services this summer. Hard to see him returning to Detroit simply because of the excess forwards. Daniel Cleary: He had a verbal agreement to join the Philadelphia Flyers last September after rejecting a summer offer from the Red Wings. At the 11th hour, coach Mike Babcock pushed for Cleary to return, resulting in a one-year contract with promise of future employment. Cleary didn't have a good season — he had four goals and four assists in 52 games and had become a healthy scratch before a knee injury derailed him coming out of the Olympic break. The team does not see Cleary as a viable player any more, so look for the Red Wings to keep their word by offering Cleary a job in the front office, or maybe with the American Hockey League's Grand Rapid (Mich.) Griffins.
Most Red Wings free agents won't be back
USA Today | Apr 28