Tuzz, seen here molesting an eventual-teammate
Gather 'round, boys and girls, it's story time.
It started on a Tuesday. This past Tuesday, as a matter of fact. We're just under eight weeks away from exchanging vows, and everything was on the up and up. We have quite a bit left to do, but the big, important things -- venues, food, guest lists, invitations, etc -- were all done. Tucked away into a neat little box. Plenty of little things left to accomplish -- Engelbert bowls, for one -- but we could rest easy knowing that, even if we didn't do anything else before August 7th, we'd have an awesome party on our hands.
And then, at 9pm Tuesday evening, the phone rang. We lost our caterer. Something about embezzlement and jailsex or something. Within 24 hours, Todd Bertuzzi had re-signed with the Red Wings for two years and a TWENTY NINE PERCENT RAISE!
An unfortunate coincidence? Nay.
Bertuzzi's agent/Satan's helper Pat Morris threw out a ridiculous number -- two years and $3.875M -- in hopes that negotiations could be stalled until seven Saturdays from now, when Todd's Operation: Fuck You Janov-Petrella Wedding could be executed. In a surprising turn of events, the recently re-signed Ken Holland and Jim Nill -- who have always had my back, they're my homeys -- wouldn't allow such things to transpire.
There's no other way to look at it, folks. Our fantastic general managers jumped on a mighty big (not to mention mighty slow, mighty wobbly, mighty gap-toothed) grenade for me and my bride. It's the true character of the Red Wings organization. How many weddings have Stan Bowman and Ray Shero saved from disaster?
Zero, that's how many.
Point is -- in order to make the deal happen this early, and to appease the Dark Lord (presumably), some facet of our wedding plans had to be destroyed. Holland and Nill are fantastic men, but gods they are not. Allegedly.
A cap hit of $1.9375M over the next two seasons. He'll earn $2.25M this season (150% of his salary from a year ago) before dropping into $1.625M for 2011-12 (still 8% higher than 09-10). In terms of numbers, dollars, and cents -- the cap hit might not be too far off if we can guarantee 15-19 goals (see what I did there, Andy?) and 40 points each of the next two seasons -- and the chemistry with Henrik Zetterberg and Valterri Filppula is undeniable. But that's like saying "whoa this sausage really goes well with bacon and eggs." Of course it does. But have you ever looked at sausage by itself? It's fucking disgusting.
GRIDDLECAKES SIGNS ON (aka, continuing the breakfast theme)
Valtteri Filppula's older brother has been signed to a one-year, two-way deal with the Red Wings. At first glace, this move seemed little more than depth signing for Grand Rapids -- and a potential call-up in a pinch -- but all of a sudden, with Todd Bertuzzi's contract sinking the ship that seemed so happily afloat, Ilari Filppula has a chance to wedge himself onto the big club.
I still think that's a long-shot, given his age and pro experience up to this point. Nevertheless, he'll be given a shot in training camp and if October rolls around with two Filppulas on the roster, prepare to be out-prettied. I'm looking at you, Todd.
HOLLAND AND NILL FTW!
As has been speculated for weeks now, both of our top-flight general managers, Ken Holland and Jim Nill, have been signed to long-term extensions to remain in their respective capacities. Five-year extensions, which kick in next season, guarantee that our men in charge will most likely last longer than Nick Lidstrom's contract after-all.
If either or both guys decide they've had enough hockey and hang up their clipboards, there's a guy in Tampa that might be available for the job. He's new, but I hear good things.
Continuing the good news, Red Wings capologist Ryan Martin decided to stick around instead of joining good friend Steve Yzerman. First order of business: allow the Bertuzzi deal to happen. Bang up job, Ry.
All jokes aside, it's a great bit of news -- the Martin part -- and it should mean continued excellence in the cap-manipulating department.
Speaking of which, here's where we stand -- with all one-way players listed:
G :: Howard, Osgood [2,133,333]
D :: Lidstrom, Rafalski, Kronwall, Stuart, Ericsson, Kindl [20,683,333]
F :: Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Filppula, Cleary, Hudler, Bertuzzi, Holmstrom, Draper, Ritola [32,175,378]
Total salary dedicated to 18 players is $54,142,044. The cap is expected to increase to somewhere in the $58M's, so the Wings have $3.8 - $4.6M to spend (depending on the actual cap number) on the following holes:
:: A sixth/seventh defenseman, depending on what role Jakub Kindl earns during training camp. Doug Janik can drop in -- as can Brendan Smith, but that's unlikely given the Red Wings desire to over-ripen prospects in the AHL. It seems all but official that Andreas Lilja is out, unless he takes a drastic pay-cut to remain a Red Wing. Good news, everyone! Derek Meech might be back because he never bitches, always takes an insanely low salary, and is a forward sub when needed. Expect whoever takes this slot to slide in around $750-$850k tops.
:: Three or four bottom half forwards. There are plenty of restricted free agents in need of new contracts, so it's safe to assume many of them will fill out the roster. Darren Helm (who is probably next in line for a deal), Justin Abdelkader, Patrick Eaves, and Drew Miller would make 14 forwards. It's just a matter of numbers now. After that seventh defenseman mentioned above, there will be about $3M -- maybe $4M -- to get all four under contract. Drew Miller may be the odd man out, and Patrick Eaves might not want to take a near-league minimum contract again.
If we use the numbers I predicted a few weeks ago, signing the fab four will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.1M. Here's hoping, because they all deserve deals and looked good in red and white.
Photo Credit: Jeff McIntosh, AP