The Wings will never falter as long as Mike Ilitch is the owner.
Our "cap hell" is going to last all of a year or two before Lidstrom's contract drops and a few of our older guys retire.
Pretty soon we'll have Lidstrom making 4.5 and that frees up another 3 million, not to mention losing the salaries for Homer, Draper, and Maltby. That frees up about 4.5 for a total of ~7 million in gained cap space.
With 5-7 million to fill free forward slots (I'm assuming Draper sticks around a while). That's more than enough to pick up a high-quality free agent and a few decent 3-4 line guys, and this team still contends for a top spot in the west. I also don't see Lidstrom retiring until after 2010-11 because the free agent defenseman pool in 2010 is TERRIBLE, but in 2011 it's a little better, and Kindl should be adjusted to the NHL by then.
I'm also betting Holland picks up a top six forward at the trade deadline. Our cupboard is kind of bare in regards to forward prospects so I wouldn't be surprised to see one of our D prospects moved for a good young forward.
I had a trade on the Trade Rumors and FA Talk boards that would address this situation if you are interested.
I was saying that outside of San Jose, Calgary, Chicago, and Anaheim I don't think there are any teams that can touch the Wings in the West. Obviously, those teams I mentioned are great teams as well, but I see the Wings still being a notch above.
Calgary gave up a ton of goals last year, so they will need to play some good defense. I just don't see who is going to score outside of Iginla, and maybe Jokinen can hit 30. Outside of those two the team is thin on offense.
Just how I see it. The Wings have some questions heading into the season, but I think they'll be just fine. If they bounce back to their superb defense, like detredWINGS pointed out, they'll be just fine.
Alright, I missread your post and by know means was bashing you.
Good to see other perspectives from different fan bases
Good Luck To the Wings this upcoming Season