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After swinging and missing so hard that he pulled a back muscle in pursuit of Ryan Suter or Shea Weber — either seemed the would-be heir apparent to the legendary Nicklas Lidstrom on Detroit’s blue line — or even Sami Salo apparently, he was facing quite the quandary. On the one hand, he could sit in his office and cry all summer at the state of his blue line, on which the two marquee players are Niklas Kronwall and … Ian White (I guess?). Or he could go out and sign someone else who doesn’t suck.
In the end, he kind of reached a happy medium. After signing absolutely no one all summer long, the Red Wings consummated their rumored courtship of defensive stalwart … Carlo Colaiacovo (I guess?) on Friday, the day before the CBA expired.
To be fair to Holland, and I’m really trying here, the money and term for Colaiacovo are really not that bad. Two years and $5 million total. The issue, I guess, is that the Red Wings, whom we’ve always heard are the model franchise all others aspire to be and for which all players want to play, struck out until CARLO COLAIACOVO came down the pike. Carlo Colaiacovo, whose games played has topped 70 just once in his entire NHL career, which began in some capacity in 2002.
I don’t know how the Red Wings sell this to their fans, near-blindly loyal though they are. “Hey guys. Remember Nick Lidstrom? Well he was so good at playing defense, as we’re sure you’re all aware, that almost all the other guys on our team basically played against nobodies and actually didn’t do very well against them, relatively speaking. To fix this, here’s Carlo Colaiacovo. He would have been our best non-Lidstrom defenseman last season.”
Look, it wasn’t exactly a buyer’s market for defensemen out there this summer, or any position, really — thus, Detroit’s acquisition of Jonas Gustavsson for some horrible reason — but when this is your fallback plan, your fallback plan was not very good at all. Especially when everyone spent all season talking about how the Wings had $20 million in cap space that they’d happily spend willy-nilly and get young in the process.
If nothing else, this is starting to look very much like Holland making a serious attempt to prove his fabled drafting acumen once and for all. With the team he has now in place, he is giving Jimmy Howard the chance to prove something.
Howard’s contract is up after this season, and if he puts up even remotely respectable numbers behind this defense, he might actually be the best goaltender in NHL history (well, behind Chris Osgood). Then, all that extra cap space that Holland saved not signing anyone worth mentioning this summer is going to come in real handy.
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