DETROIT - Ken Holland has been one of the most successful general managers in hockey for the better part of two decades.
The Red Wings have the opportunity to make some major moves when free agency opens up this week, but Holland knows better than most: you don't make transactions for the sake of making them.
Teams can begin talking with free agents on Wednesday, and can agree to a deal in principle before Friday's official signing period begins.
Thanks to the emergence of Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl, and the acquisition of Danny DeKeyser, the Wings are fairly set on defense. But Detroit has a surplus of forwards , and potentially, a big hole to fill on the top two lines.
Filppula on his way out?
Valtteri Filppula seems destined to hit the open market, and garner interest from teams à la Jiri Hudler last offseason. The Red Wings center made $3 million last year, and will likely look for $5 million annually on the open market.
Holland told the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness there's a 'significant difference' between Filppula's camp and the Red Wings. ''That's why it doesn't appear we're positioned to do a deal," Holland said.
Lecavalier writes the Wings off
So, if Filppula does indeed walk, the Red Wings would have a spot to fill on the second line. Attention has been paid to Vincent Lecavalier, who was bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning last week.
Mike Babcock met with Lecavalier Sunday in New Jersey, but Sportsnet's John Shannon reports the Red Wings have been told they are not in the Vinny Lecavalier bidding war.
The Red Wings don't want to financially handcuff themselves with any long-term deal, and as the Free Press' Helene St. James reports, especially with 'a 34-year-old with questionable pace' like Lecavalier.
That made the possibility of Lecavalier landing in Detroit tricky. With a decision looming in the next 24 hours , ESPN's Pierre LeBrun put the Wings in the Top Three destinations he expected Lecavalier to land. Yahoo's Greg Wyshynski said the same, and even put Detroit as 3-to-1 favorites to end up with the four-time All-Star.
Lecavalier would have likely only gotten a two-year deal from Detroit, which would be risky for a forward nearing the end of his best days. It looks like he'll get a long-term deal to go along with that $32.667 million coming to him over the next 14 years.
Buyouts still an option
Thanks to the new CBA signed this past winter, all 30 teams have the opportunity to use compliance buyouts to rid themselves of high-priced contracts. Each team can use up to two, but the clock is ticking.
Teams using a compliance buyout must do so by Thursday at 5 p.m., and have until Wednesday to place a player on unconditional waivers. With 12 forwards under contract, and restricted free agents Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson will soon push that number to 14. Thus, Mikael Samulesson seems like a strong option to be bought out. Todd Bertuzzi, who missed most of last season, is another.
Brunner and Cleary updates
Damien Brunner was brought in last season under a one-year deal. His up-and-down season showed flashes of potential, but not enough to earn a big payday. The Swiss forward is 27 years old, and will test the open market. The Red Wings would like to have him back, but won't overpay for him.
Daniel Cleary's situation is different. He is 34 years old and would like to get a long term commitment from a team. As MLive's Ansar Khan reveals , the Red Wings 'don't want to commit to more than two years.' If Cleary can't cash in elsewhere, he may find a short-term deal waiting for him in Detroit.
Open market...sort of
When the NHL Draft began Sunday, many expected a flurry of trades to follow. That didn't exactly happen, and some of the bigger names on the block have since been taken off. Boston reportedly put Tyler Seguin's name out there, only to pull back that chatter when Nathan Horton expressed interest in exploring free agency.
Bottom line: the free agent class isn't deep, but there are some possibilities for the Red Wings. If Lecavalier is officially off their radar, another option is Stephen Weiss. Before the shortened year, he put together three straight 20-goal seasons. Horton, David Clarkson, Mike Ribeiro, and Jarome Iginla are names to watch, too.
As the summer kicks into barbeque season, the fireworks in hockey are just about to be lit.
Brad Galli is a Sports Reporter for WXYZ Detroit. Follow Brad on Twitter @BradGalli