Based on expectations and past performances it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Brett Lebda, Jason Williams, and Brad May may be shown the door on July 1st.
Jason Williams has had a very turbulent career with the Red Wings. Since 2001, he bounced between Detroit and Detroit’s AHL affiliates the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks and the Grand Rapids Griffins. While he was in Cincinnati he was coached, by none other then, our very own Mike Babcock. Babs knew what he was capable of and Detroit isn’t an organization that you can give your “B” game. Detroit severed ties in 2007 after Williams put up just 26 points after a previous season of 58 points (a career high). After his departure, Williams had decent seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Thrashers, and Columbus Blue Jackets amassing 89 points in 143 games. What really hurt was that he had a combined minus 12 (yes a 12!).
He signed a 1 year contract and put up only 15 points over 44 games with a minus 7 rating. With stats like that he was more of a liability on the ice than anything else. Babs thought so highly of his performance that he only played 3 of 12 playoff games. At $1.5 million there is much better talent available. I expect to see him go somewhere else and my Jason Williams jersey will go back on the top shelf of the closet.
At only 28, one would think Lebda would be someone you’d want to keep around. He’s young, plays defense, and given enough mentoring some of Lidstrom’s greatness is bound to rub off. Sadly, after 4 years his point production and tenacity hasn’t improved. He was brought in with high expectations to man the blue line, but when Chelios left so did his cushion. When he was paired with Chelios he had a veteran to hide his mistakes and when Chelios floundered it took the heat off Lebda. Lebda never really played up to what we want to see in a defense men here in Hockeytown. Lebda is making $850k, just over the league minimum, but I don’t think Holland will keep him. There are plenty of promising defensemen in Grand Rapids that he could call up in a pinch.
The term enforcer is given should to a guy with the task of keeping the other team in line and to protect the star players. Brad May was brought in with the primary purpose of adding grit to the roster, but pushing 38 you can say he has as much gas left in the tank as Sylvester Stallone had in Rocky 6. May lost a majority of his fights and should join Maltby in retirement. He’s making $500k (league minimum) but even that is too much for a guy that can’t score, can’t assist, and can’t win a fight.