Detroit Red Wings: GM Yzerman Begins Offseason Work to Reshape Roster

Octopus Thrower

The rebuild is in full force for the Detroit Red Wings.

Led by captain Dylan Larkin, the Red Wings only have nine current roster players under contract for 2021-22.

Changes are coming.

Red Wings Under Contract

Here are the nine players still under contract, according to spotrac.com:

  • Larkin has two years remaining at a cap hit of $6.1 million before he becomes an unrestricted free agent (UFA).
  • Frans Nielsen is entering the final year of his $5.25 million cap hit. Nielsen’s deal could be bought out this summer.
  • Richard Panik has two years remaining on his contract before he becomes a UFA.
  • Vladislav Namestnikov has one year remaining before he becomes a UFA.
  • Danny DeKeyser enters the final season of his six-year, $30 million deal.
  • Troy Stecher has one year remaining at $1.7 million.
  • Thomas Greiss returns next season at $3.6 million.
  • Filip Zadina is under contract for a base salary of $832,500.
  • Robby Fabbri has a base salary of $3.1 million.

The team that General Manager Steve Yzerman puts on the ice in October will be very different than the one that missed the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.

Restricted Free Agents

Once Yzerman signs restricted free agents (RFA) such as Tyler Bertuzzi, Filip Hronek, Gustav Lindstrom, Dennis Cholowski, Jakub Vrana, Adam Erne, Yevgeni Svechnikov, Givani Smith and Michael Rasmussen, the Red Wings will have 18 players under contract and plenty of cap space.

All of the RFAs are expected to remain with the franchise and could comprise the core of next season’s roster.

Assuming that Nielsen is bought out, Jonathan Bernier is re-signed and the Red Wings lose a skater to Seattle in the upcoming NHL Expansion Draft, the Wings will have six openings on their opening night roster of 23 players.

How will Yzerman fill out this roster?

Internal Options

First, it is assumed that Moritz Seider will make his debut full-time next year.

Joe Veleno showed promise as a third-line center behind Larkin and Rasmussen.

Lucas Raymond is also an option as he just signed his entry-level deal. Yzerman may choose to give Raymond some time at Grand Rapids (AHL) to ripen, but at some point, he will most likely play a role next year.

Another player that may walk right into a job is recently signed Jonatan Berggren. This skilled playmaker made huge strides during an injury-free season in the Swedish Hockey League.

The only other player who is currently playing in Europe who may make his North American debut next season is defense prospect Albert Johansson, a former second-round pick. He was steady playing for Farjestad (SHL) and is currently playing for Sweden in the World Championships.

Unrestricted Free Agents

Rounding out the roster will most likely be a UFA Yzerman signs this summer.

  • Luke Glendenning is one UFA Yzerman may choose to re-sign.  The faceoff specialist is an intriguing player that could be re-signed to a hometown discount this summer.
  • Sam Gagner was an effective two-way player for the Red Wings this season.  Yzerman may choose to re-sign Gagner to another one-year contract.
  • Bobby Ryan is another candidate to return. Despite only scoring three goals in his last 30 games last season, Ryan had a hot start and his locker-room presence could benefit the prospects.
  • Marc Staal is a longshot to be re-signed by the Red Wings.  Staal was steady for most of the year but, in order for Yzerman to re-sign Staal, the contract will need to be more cap-friendly than his previous $5.7 million cap hit that just recently expired.

Final Thoughts

It will be interesting to see what happens with this roster.

Yzerman likes veteran players, but today’s NHL is all about speed and skill and the young players in the Red Wings’ stable of prospects should accelerate the rebuild over the next couple of seasons.

Articles You May Like

9 NHL Teams That Missed in Free Agency
NHL Rumors: Oilers, Red Wings, Flyers
Red Wings Should Still Pursue John Gibson Trade
Why Red Wings’ Quiet Offseason Was the Right Call Long Term
Red Wings: 5 Potential Alternate Captains

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *