Monthly Archives: July 2010

Modano heading to Detroit?

While the Detroit Red Wings wait for official word on what Mike Modano plans to do next season, coach Mike Babcock seems to have it already figured out.

Babcock told NHL.com that he feels Modano, an unrestricted free agent, will end his career in Hockeytown.

“This is a no brainer for Mike Modano — the highest scoring American player of all time to come back to your hometown, play in Hockeytown,” Babcock told NHL.com Friday. “It’s not about the cash, it’s about the legacy and the fit. He’ll fit and he’ll be excited to play. I look forward to him signing. I think that’s inevitable. I think that’s what is going to happen.”

“I think this is all going to work out; I’m pretty certain of that for us, but I’ve been around before and if you would have told me Jiri Hudler was leaving for Russia, I wouldn’t have believed it,” Babcock added. “I’ve been wrong. Some people think I have the market cornered on being wrong.”

Modano is also being courted by Minnesota and San Jose.

Modano, who spent his entire career with the Stars’ organization after being drafted No. 1 overall in 1988, is the highest-scoring American-born player in NHL history, with 557 goals and 802 assists in 1,459 career games.

Modano made $2.25 million last year in Dallas. He scored 14 goals and had 16 assists last season, playing in just 59 games.

Meech inks one-year deal

The Detroit Red Wings will give defenseman Derek Meech one more shot to be a regular in the lineup.

Meech, 26, signed a one-year deal with $500,000 on Thursday.

Meech will compete for the No. 6 spot along the blue line with rookies Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith and veteran Doug Janik, who played 13 games last season with the Wings.

“I’ve been with Detroit a long time and they’ve treated me well,” Meech said. “I’ve worked hard to get into the top six. If I can’t get into the top six, maybe I’d have to go.”

Kindl has spent the last three seasons in Grand Rapids and will be given a good look to earn that sixth spot since he’s out of minor league options. Smith spent the last three seasons at Wisconsin.

Detroit’s top five defensemen are set with Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski, Brad Stuart, Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson.

If Meech can’t crack the lineup, the Wings will more than likely try and trade him.

“Detroit has some different options,” Meech said. “They’ve talked about the possibility of moving me or seeing how things work out. Career-wise, you have to look out for yourself.”

This will be Meech’s fifth season with the Wings and he has yet been able to crack the lineup on a regular basis.

Last season, he played a career high 49 games. That was due in large part to the number of injuries the Wings suffered throughout the season. His previous high was 41 games the year before.

At times last season, Meech was inserted at forward to fill an opening.

“Meech would like to be in Detroit if he knows he’s going to play,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He doesn’t want to be the seventh defenseman anymore. He’s filled that role. He loves it here. But he wants to play. He’s paid his dues, put his time in at Grand Rapids. He’s been the guy waiting in the wings.

“So that’s a decision we have to make over the course of the summer,” Holland added. “Is Derek Meech going to be in our third pair or is he better served to go to another organization where he thinks he’s going to get more opportunity?”

Meech, who was drafted by the Wings in the seventh round in 2002, has four goals and 12 assists in 126 games in Detroit.

He has played in two playoff games, both of which were two seasons ago.

Meech added that he focused on ‘bulking’ up this offseason.

“I’m a smaller D,” said Meech, who’s 5-foot-11, 200 pounds. “I just want to work on my explosiveness and power so it limits me from getting pushed around out there. I’m focused on being good defensively, and then the offense can come after that.”

Meech had filled for arbitration, which a hearing was scheduled for Tuesday.

The Wings also are planning to re-sign forwards Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader later this summer.

Detroit also signed defenseman Sergei Kolosov to a one-year, two-way contract. In the last two seasons with the Griffins, he has six goals and 13 assists in 136 games. Kolosov will make $500,000 if he’s with the Wings or $80,000 in the minors.

Lebda signs with Leafs

Former Wings defenseman Brett Lebda signed a two-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs, worth $1.45 million per season.

That’s a decent raise for Lebda, 28, since he earned just $850,000 with the Wings last season.

In 326 regular-season games, Lebda has 18 goals and 50 assists.

He was signed by Detroit as an undrafted free agent in 2004 out of Notre Dame.

Modano a Wing?

It appears the Wings are the only front-runner to land the services of Westland native Mike Modano.

Modano sent over three hours with general manager Ken Holland and coach Mike Babcock on Tuesday and then attended the Tigers game later that night.

He told the Dallas Morning News, “They are very serious about how I can help them and that’s a great feeling. I can see myself fitting in with this group, and to hear that they want me, that does make you feel you can definitely still play.”

Modano, who made $2.25 million last year in Dallas, scored 14 goals and had 16 assists with the Stars last season, playing in just 59 games.

The Wings, who see Modano has a third-line center quite possibly playing with Dan Cleary and Jiri Hudler, are reportedly willing to over him one- or two-year deal worth between $1 million and $1.5 million a season.

Modano left without giving Detroit any indication of when he’ll have a decision for them.

“It’s totally up to me,” Modano told ESPNDallas.com. “We talked about my situation, what it would be, how I would fit in and the logistics of it all. It was good. They haven’t pressured me into making a decision. But I know the sooner the better for everybody so they can get their financial situation resolved and figured out.

“It’s pretty enticing when you go through this sort of thing,” Modano added. “The whole scenario and picture that’s painted is intriguing. You look at their four lines and they are stout no matter who you play with. Everyone is interchangeable.”

Modano, who spent his entire career with the Stars’ organization after being drafted No. 1 overall in 1988, is the highest-scoring American-born player in NHL history, with 557 goals and 802 assists in 1,459 career games.

Eaves back in fold

Just one day after inking one of their five restricted free agents to a one-year deal, the Detroit Red Wings resigned a second one, coming to terms with Patrick Eaves.

Eaves, 26, will make $750,000 nest season.

On Tuesday, the Wings signed Drew Miller to a one-year deal with $650,000.

Detroit now has 20 players singed for the season bringing its salary-cap figure to $55.6 million. Next year’s salary cap is $59.4 million.

The Wings also seem to be the front runner to sign Mike Modano, if he decides to play another season in the league.

Miller signs

Coming off a career yeare for goals (10), assists (nine) and points (19), Drew Miller has agreed to come back to the Wings signing a one-year contract worth $650,000.

Miller, 26, played in 66 games with Detroit last season after he was claimed off waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

With 19 players signed, the Wings have a salary-cap figure of $54.9 million. This year’s cap is $59.4.

Probert dies

Former Detroit Red Wings enforcer Bob Probert, 45, collopased on a boat on Lake St. Clair today and was later pronounced dead after being rushed to Windsor Regional Hospital.

According to reports, emergency crews performed CPR on Probert then transported him to the hospital where efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

Probert, a Windsor native, scored 163 goals and added 221 assists and had 3,300 penalty minutes in 935 career NHL games.