Red Wings Announce 2007-08 Schedule

The Detroit Red Wings, along with the rest of the NHL, announced their 2007-08 season schedule on Wednesday.

The Red Wings will open their season in Detroit on October 3, hosting the Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks eliminated the Red Wings from last season’s playoffs and then signed Detroit free agents Mathieu Schneider and Todd Bertuzzi in the offseason.

Detroit does not visit New Jersey, former home of new defenseman Brian Rafalski.

The team’s annual New Year’s Eve game tradition will continue this year with the St. Louis Blues coming to Joe Louis Arena.

After recent schedules included many home-and-home matchups, this season will see only three, against Dallas, Columbus and St. Louis.

The Wings will play on back-to-back nights 11 times throughout the season, each time with travel involved between the games.

Red Wings’ Preseason Schedule

The Red Wings announced their preseason schedule for 2007 today, with the regular season schedule set to be announced tomorrow.

Sept. 18 – at Minnesota, 8:00
Sept. 20 – Minnesota, 7:30
Sept. 21 – Pittsburgh, 7:30
Sept. 22 – at Pittsburgh, 7:30
Sept. 24 – at Tampa Bay, 7:30
Sept. 25 – N.Y. Rangers, 7:30
Sept. 27 – Tampa Bay, 7:30
Sept. 28 – at Toronto, TBA
Sept. 29 – Toronto, 7:30

Drake Returns to Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings announced the signing of veteran forward Dallas Drake on Monday. As per club policy, the financial terms of the one-year deal were not announced.

Drake was a member of the Red Wings from 1992 to 1994, after the team drafted him in the sixth round of the 1989 NHL Entry Draft. He was packaged with goaltender Tim Cheveldae in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets for Bob Essensa and Sergei Bautin.

Drake has spent the last six seasons with the St. Louis Blues, serving as their captain for the past two years. He has also played for the Jets and the Phoenix Coyotes, after the franchise shifted there.

“We’re very pleased to have Dallas join the Red Wings,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said in a release. “He’s a very physical player who will add grit to our lineup and make our team even more difficult to play against. He’s a veteran player and you can never have enough experience and leadership on a team.”

Hasek, Hudler Re-sign with Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings kept two players from their run to the 2007 Western Conference Finals on board Thursday, signing goaltender Dominik Hasek and forward Jiri Hudler to new contracts.

Hasek’s deal was announced by agent Rich Winter late in the day.

“We’ve settled,” Winter said Thursday night. “Dominik wanted to give the team room to have money under the salary cap. Let’s face it, he’s a $5 million-a-year goalie. We all know that. But I managed to talk them down to $2 million. It was a unique negotiation.”

As per club policy, terms of the deal were not announced. Detroit general manager Ken Holland had previously hinted that Hasek’s deal would be worth $2 – $2.5 million.

Restricted free agent Hudler agreed to a two-year deal that will reportedly pay him a little over $1 million per season.

Several Russian teams were also interested in Hudler and may have been able to offer more money to the 23-year-old but he chose to remain with the team that drafted him.

Signing Dominik Hasek

I’ve been reading people elsewhere seemingly flipping out about the fact that Detroit doesn’t have Dominik Hasek signed yet.

A quote from one of the DetNews blogs…

Hasek, 42, isn’t interested in playing for any other team. He and the Wings are close to a deal but still are haggling over base pay dependent on how far away the Wings are from the salary-cap ceiling.

As noted earlier today, Hasek says he’ll re-sign with the Red Wings and only the Red Wings, but he may have to wait until the Red Wings finish re-signing Hudler, Meech, and the mysterious depth defenceman and forward with size that the Red Wings need.

What that means…

Hasek will sign with Detroit. The amount that Hasek will be paid has been determined. It’s just a matter of whether he’ll get that money in the form of base salary (which counts towards the cap this year) or sure-to-be-met bonuses (which count towards the cap next year).

The Wings need to finish up their other free agent signings before signing Hasek so that they know whether or not they need extra cap space this season. If they don’t, more of Hasek’s money will be in the base salary. If they’re nearer to the cap this year, they’ll put Hasek’s money into bonuses so that it gets pushed onto next year’s cap.

So calm down, he’s as good as signed, it’s just a matter of getting all the other ducks in a row first.

Who’s Left for Detroit?

So I know a lot of people are ripping into Ken Holland right now, seemingly for not signing every available player. I said what I think about that (with some typos that I’m just now noticing) last summer and I won’t repeat myself now.

I have had a thought about someone who I wouldn’t be surprised to see Holland bring in. Holland likes his “off the board” moves and I’m not going to be surprised to pull one here. I think the replacement for Todd Bertuzzi is going to be Jason Allison.

He’s been out of the league for a full year and has only played one season since an injury-shortened 2002-03 campaign but is fairly gritty, a big guy, and is willing to accept a short-term, low money deal to show that he can still play.

Even if “low money” is $2 million (which I think is high, $1 – $1.5 million being more likely depending on if there are any other bidders), Detroit has $9 million under the cap to work with so after that and Hasek’s expected $2.5 million deal, that leaves $4.5 million to sign another defenseman.

Not a bad deal.

Red Wings Sign Blueliner Rafalski

The Detroit Red Wings announced the the signing of defenseman Brian Rafalski on Sunday, just hours after Mathieu Schneider left the team to sign with the Anaheim Ducks.

Rafalski, a Dearborn native, had spent his entire eight-year NHL career with the New Jersey Devils, signing with them as a free agent in 1999 and playing on their 2000 and 2003 Stanley Cup Championship teams.

As per club policy, official financial terms were not announced, but TSN of Canada reports that the deal is worth $30 million over five years.

Rafalski is coming off of a career-best year that saw him score eight goals and add 47 assists.

He is a three-time All-Star and won a silver medal with the U.S. Olympic team in 2002.

Schneider Bolts Wings for Ducks

Defenseman Mathieu Schneider has left the Detroit Red Wings, signing as an unrestricted free agent with the Anaheim Ducks.

Schneider’s two-year deal with Anaheim will pay him $5.5 million next season and $5.75 million the following campaign.

Originally drafted by the Montreal Canadiens, Schneider had also played for the New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings before joining the Red Wings in a trade-deadline deal in 2003.

Schneider had almost left the Red Wings once before, when he became a free agent following the 2003-04 season. It had been announced that he would not be returning to Detroit but the two sides were able to agree to terms on a deal following the lockout that wiped out the 2004-05 season.

With Schneider now in the fold, Anaheim defenseman Scott Niedermayer is expected to announce his retirement.