Monday, September 10, 2007

Sopel to tryout with Wings

Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland confirmed, Monday, that three free agents with NHL experience will try out at the team's main camp this week: defensemen Brent Sopel and Jassen Cullimore and forward Aaron Downey.
This makes sense to me, although it's got to be quite a pill for Sopel to swallow given he was playing just last season for $2.4-million. Now he's looking at possibly taking on a seventh defender role for the league minimum, albeit with a pretty strong team.

Here's how I had Detroit's blue line depth chart when I put together my FanHouse preview yesterday:
Put Sopel in there, and that's a solid group. Kyle Quincey and Derek Meech are solid enough options for depth, but until Jakub Kindl settles in, there's little beyond that, and this is a team expected to contend for the Stanley Cup again this season.

Acquiring a capable veteran in who can fill-in on the power play in a pinch is a good idea (as long as you keep him far away from elite opposition), especially if you can walk away should he have a poor camp. Expect to see more of the loafers on this list to take similar invites with other clubs.

Cullimore and Downey are playing for spots in Grand Rapids.

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At 12:38 a.m., September 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Canucks brought Sopel back to much fanfare last year and it was a handful of games before he reminded everyone what a liability he is. I can't believe Babcock would ever put him on the ice in anything resembling a crucial situation.

At 1:18 a.m., September 11, 2007, Blogger Jeremy said...

I have to disagree with that last comment -- I thought Sopel was pretty solid for the Canucks at the end of the year, pretty much bailing them out of some serious injury trouble. Yes, he was playing over his head in a #3/#4 role, but that's not what he was brought in for -- as a #6 guy who could help on the powerplay and play some lighter minutes, he was fine.

At 1:24 a.m., September 11, 2007, Blogger Nick said...

So maybe the Canucks overpaid. The wings will not - I think this is great. Let Sopel and Drake fight for those last spots. No one expects much of them unlike Vancouver/St. Louis

At 4:30 p.m., September 11, 2007, Blogger Jeremy said...

No, the Kings were paying Sopel $2.4 million...the Canucks only had him from the trade deadline through the playoffs, and I think he delivered decent value.


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