Red Wings: If Petruzzelli is Leaving, Do Yzerman’s Draft Plans Shift?

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If Detroit Red Wings prospect Keith Petruzzelli is indeed leaving, fans can only wonder what it means both short and long term for the organization. Jonathan Bernier is a free agent, likely to be brought back on a short term deal, as has been the custom during Yzerman’s tenure. Thomas Greiss is in the final year of his contract. From there, there’s a steep fall off in goaltending depth but a multitude of options to fill it elsewhere. Whether it’s through free agency, trades, or the draft, there are a number of ways Detroit can go to solve the problem.

Though recent mock drafts–including our own–have the Red Wings targeting a forward, specifically a center,

Red Wings linked with Jesper Wallstedt

Swedish goaltender Jesper Wallstedt has been a favorite by many to be selected by the Red Wings, but taking him with the sixth overall pick seems risky–especially since Detroit has pressing needs everywhere. Yzerman is not afraid to take a risk, but if Wallstedt is now their target, he might be available later. Always one for more draft capital, it could fit two needs–get a top flight goalie and add some picks or prospects by moving back.

If Wallstedt isn’t the target, then maybe Edmonton OIl Kings’ netminder Sebastian Cossa is the pick. Presumably, he’ll go later in the draft so it gives Yzerman another chance to snag more draft capital, prospects and Cossa if that’s the route he chooses to go.

There are options in later rounds as well. But with their top goalie prospect potentially being gone, it opens up the potential of Wallstedt or Cossa being taken at six, 22, or somewhere in between.

Free Agent Options Might Exist

The Red Wings have upwards of $48 million in cap space this season, with the higher deals going to Tyler Bertuzzi, Jakub Vrana, and Filip Hronek. Bernier should be re-signed, but there’s no guarantees there. Other UFAs and RFAs will not break the bank and a significant amount of cap space should still exist, probably around the $20-$23 million range.

But it’s the season after where the Red Wings really have more at their disposal. Detroit will have another $21 million free up, which means that it will most likely signal the first real movement in spending and trending toward relevance.

Braden Holtby, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Jack Campbell will all be free agents–though Fleury and Holtby would likely be stop-gaps. Campbell is intriguing after the bounce back year he had, but if he follows up with another strong season, it’s hard to believe Toronto would let him walk.

A trade can’t be discounted either, after all, Yzerman swindled Ottawa to acquire Ben Bishop.

With the options available it seems re-signing Bernier and then drafting a goalie seems the most likely route.

But Yzerman has surprised before, and it wouldn’t be shocking if he did again.

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