Holland cryptic, non-committal on plans for Wings

Red Wings GM Ken Holland seems comfortable to let everything begin to play itself out at the draft, June 27 and 28.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

After three days of pro scouting meetings, Red Wings GM Ken Holland might have a plan in place, but he’s not ready to reveal much.

"I don’t think we’ll re-sign Mikael Samuelsson," Holland said Wednesday. "Beyond that, I haven’t really reached out to any of their agents yet. I told them (Detroit’s other unrestricted free agents), we’d get through our meetings first. I have spent two days preparing for Philly (NHL Entry Draft) and July 1 (first day that UFA’s can sign)."

"I think a number of our free agents won’t come back. Some of our free agents are guys that are going to sign elsewhere, too. You want to make sure you’re letting people go because you’re going to get better."

If it sounds as if Holland is being cryptic and non-committal, chalk it up to the uncertainty of a hard-cap league.

With teams trying to sign their own UFA’s before July 1, plans could change on a daily basis, which would have a profound impact on any team’s game plan.

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Holland seems comfortable to let everything begin to play itself out at the draft, June 27 and 28.

"I had two, three managers call with some interesting names," Holland said. "It appears to be an intriguing draft. Why tie our hands today?"

"The depth of our organization and the development of kids allow me to move slow and see what transpires over the next month."

Even though the Wings are in no rush to tinker with their roster, it appears that backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson would be welcomed back if he agrees to a one-year contract, which seems likely since there’s a glut of goalies on the market.

Signing Gustavsson to a one-year deal makes sense because the Wings have been adamant that goalie of the future, Petr Mrazek, needs one more year in Grand Rapids before he’s ready for the NHL.

As for Detroit’s other UFA’s, Holland told them "if the term and number fit what we want to do, we’re interested."

Translation: One- or two-year deals that are cheap.

The Wings are still seeking to upgrade their defensive corps through free agency, but with a solid group of prospects close to being NHL-ready, they will be selective.

I think a number of our free agents won’t come back.

Ken Holland

"If I can find a D who wants to do a year or two," Holland pondered as his voice trailed off. But he quickly added, "We’re moving slowly. I don’t want to lock into something that in two years I’m trying to figure my way out of."

Holland is interested in re-signing Daniel Alfredsson, but doesn’t known whether he wants to play another season or retire, and is willing to let him take his time with that decision.

Holland also reiterated that he still wants to get a contract extension done with Wings coach Mike Babcock. Over the last couple of days, the two men discussed the matter, but nothing was resolved.

Babcock is headed to Europe with his wife and won’t be available to talk again until the draft.

"When you’re talking about a player or a coach of Mike Babcock’s stature, it takes time because of all the possibilities," Holland said. "I would say to you that he’s happy. My sense is he would like to sign an extension.

"My sense is I would like to sign an extension with him … but the bigger the player, the longer the negotiations go. That’s just my experience from being a manager since 1997."

So like just the Wings, Babcock doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to commit to anything just yet.