The Michigan native seemed heartened by the thought of coming "home" to finish off his NHL career. It helped that there seemed to be little -- if any -- interest on the free agent market, including from the Dallas Stars, the franchise he'd spent his whole career with.. Modano, 40, has been in obvious decline, and it doesn't make sense to assume he's going to be a big factor on a potential playoff team.
While his future is still undecided, and Detroit remains an option for Modano, it's not the lock it once was.
Reports surfaced over the weekend that other teams were interested, most notably the Minnesota Wild. Of course, there is an obvious tie to Minnesota for Modano, as the Stars were based there when they drafted him first overall in 1988. There has been support among Wild fans for this move, even though it doesn't appear the Wild are any closer to a Stanley Cup now than they were at any point last season, when they missed the playoffs.
While there is other interest, it doesn't sound like Detroit is going to wait around very long. Nor does it appear they're interested in a bidding war.
"We made an offer, we made our pitch," Wings general manager Ken Holland said Monday. "But this being a cap world, we've made lots of commitments. We don't have a lot of wiggle room."It's not known what Minnesota would offer Modano. In terms of playing time, there likely isn't a whole lot of separation. No team signing Modano would be wise to use him as anything more than a third-line center and occasional point man on the second power play unit.
... Most likely, the Wings offered Modano less than $1 million, presumably around $800,000. That might've been less than Modano expected, and he's now entertaining offers from Minnesota, San Jose and, perhaps, Anaheim.
The only other option the Wings have is to make a trade to clear more cap space. But it's highly unlikely Holland would trade a 30-year-old player in his prime to make room for a 40-year-old who'd be here for just one year.
"We would love to have Mike join us, but we only have a certain amount to spend," said Holland, who has not spoken to Modano or his agent, Mike Liut, since Friday.
When he makes up his mind about playing, he will have a tough decision to make. He hinted strongly in April that he wanted to play in Minnesota again, but it wasn't until recently that the Wild indicated any serious interest in signing him. On the other hand, lower Michigan is home.
Playing time and money won't be huge factors, because there simply can't be huge differences between the two teams. If he wants to win before he retires, how could he -- with a straight face -- pick Minnesota over Detroit?
We'll soon see what wins out for Modano. After this latest turn of events, there's no use making a prediction now.