There has been a lot of talk about some key players that the Wings should pursue this offseason. I for one will jump up and down while screaming like a little girl who's parents got her a pony if the Wings can somehow pull off signing Parise and Suter. Hell, I'd probably do the same if they signed just one of them, but beyond that there are some other holes that need to be filled.
Click the jump to find out who I think fills the gritty 4th line role
You may say that I'm crazy. Or you may not even know who he is, hes not exactly a household name, but you can sure bet that if he came to Detroit fans would take notice.
Konopka has bounced around the NHL since breaking in with the Ducks in 05-06. He has since become a regular over the last 3 season playing with the Lightning, Islanders and Senators leading the league in penalty minutes during the first two and coming in 3rd last season while only playing 55 games for the Sens.
Sure the Wings need a player that has grit, but do they need one like Konopka? Yes. Not only will he drop the gloves with anyone, he is also very good defensively and exceptional in the faceoff circle.
Here is what Hockey Forecaster had to say.
ASSETS: Comes to play every night and isn't afraid of dishing out punishment. Possesses some defensive acumen and plays with energy. Can drop the gloves and is also very good on face-offs.
FLAWS: Is a limited talent in the offensive zone and only suited for a fourth-line role. Must avoid taking too many bad penalties that place his team in a tough spot.
CAREER POTENTIAL: Versatile, tough depth forward.
He may be 5 inches shorter and a few pounds lighter than Paul Gaustad, but he fights. He fights like Kocur did, without fear. He takes on the Rinaldo's and Prust's of the world just like Joey did with Brashear and Secord.
Put him on the 4th line with Abdelkader or even Travis Moen (wink, wink) and Detroit could have one of the most physically dangerous 4th lines in the league.
I believe that for the Wings to be successful they need to keep the 3rd and 4th lines separate. Having speed and energy on the 3rd line and toughness on the 4th. Emmerton and Mursak are just casualties of having too many speedy grinders. Yes they may blossom on another team, but not likely. It's time to let go and get dirty.
Change is coming. We have an amazing 3rd line that brings speed, defense and penalty killing. It's time to add toughness.
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I wouldn't count on much change on the 3rd and 4th lines. We've got Helm, Cleary, Bert, Miller, Eaves, Abdelkader, Mursak and Emmerton. Plus, if Holland can figure out two top-six figures you're going to have to find a place for Nyquist proabably.
Oh yeah, Stuart's right have now been traded to San Jose for essentially nothing but maybe better than nothing.
"Having speed and energy on the 3rd line and toughness on the 4th. Emmerton and Mursak are just casualties of having too many speedy grinders. Yes they may blossom on another team, but not likely. It's time to let go and get dirty."
Yep. I don't think Bert actually fits in well anywhere except maybe the 4th line, so I am sad that we resigned him (though I do like him). Emmerton and Sak need to be gone, but it sounds like Cory is here to stay.
Holland said in a radio interview that the wings were all set on centers, we're looking for wingers.
I would be behind this 100%. Watching the Islanders and living near Tampa and seeing him nightly, he would be a tremendous asset on the sometimes terrible PK and at the dot.