Red Wings: A Closer Look at Day One of Free Agency

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The Detroit Red Wings had a quieter day than some but were certainly busy in some respects. After re-signing Sam Gagner and Calvin Pickard, Detroit was active in adding some names while also letting some familiar faces find employment elsewhere.

Here’s a wrap of what they did:

Red Wings add Jordan Oesterle, Ryan Murphy and Pius Suter

The Red Wings acquired their first free agents of the day in the form of Coyote’s left-handed defenseman Jordan Oesterle and AHL defenseman Ryan Murphy.

Oesterle is 29-years-old and has spent the last three years with the Arizona Coyotes. He scored a goal and 10 assists in 43 games last year. Oesterle is a Michigan native; he was born in Dearborn Heights and played college hockey at Western Michigan University.

Oesterle will slot on as a depth defenseman for Detroit; think a combination between Jon Merrill/Alex Biega. He’ll likely act as a fill in with the bottom/middle pairs on the team, slotting into the lineup when injuries/poor play/covid make it necessary.

Oesterle does not much to offer offensively. He put up paltry numbers last season and failed to drive any sort of offense (-1.6 corsi-for percentage last season). However, he makes few defensive errors and his stay-at-home defensive style is a good fit for Jeff Blashill’s offensive system. Much like Merrill and Biega, it’s likely Oesterle will just play it safe on the back end in Detroit.

Murphy, on the other hand, will almost certainly spend most of his time in Grand Rapids. At 28, the right-shot defenseman spent his last season in the AHL with the Henderson Silver Knights. While he’s a perfectly capable offensive-defenseman in the AHL, he has not been able to successfully transition to the NHL. Murhpy will slot in as one of the better defenseman on the Grand Rapids Griffins, but like Biega, has the ability to come into an NHL lineup if gaps appear throughout the season.

Suter was on the fanbase’s wishlist and apparently Yzerman’s too. He helps shore things up a bit down the middle and is an immediate upgrade over Frans Nielsen, Valtteri Filppula, and Darren Helm.

He’ll provide more offense than one member of the Wings who left for greener pastures.

Several Red Wings Leave the Organization

Luke Glendening, whose story as an undrafted free agent was repeated often and was also a faceoff wizard last season signed a two-year with Jim Nill’s Stars. Glendening was always a steady Red Wing, and played the gritty two-way game well.

His exit opens up an opportunity for new leadership and while he’ll be missed by the fanbase, that same group of Red Wings fans are hoping he finds success in Dallas because he was a damn good soldier during a rough stretch for Detroit.

Other players who moved to other organizations were Dylan McIlrath, Joe Hicketts, and Dominic Turgeon.

Red Wings Cap Situation Heading into Day 2

The Red Wings have just north of $31M in cap room according to CapFriendly.    They still have a number of restricted free agents to sign, namely Tyler Bertuzzi, Jakub Vrana, Filip Hronek, Adam Erne, Givani Smith, and Chase Pearson. Bobby Ryan is an unrestricted free agent and is a right hand shot–something Yzerman said he would be a priority on.

We’ll see soon what Yzerman has in store for today’s moves.

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