The Detroit Red Wings have six UFA’s signed for the remainder of this season. Three were traded for draft picks or players still under contract. Here is a look at why each Red Wings impending UFA who did not move at the deadline.
When Marc Staal was traded to Detroit last year, the Red Wings absorbed the final year of his $5.7M cap hit. Staal played well enough to earn a one year extension with a team friendly $2.0M contract. Staal is once again an impending UFA and he is playing very good hockey for Detroit. So, why did Staal remain a Red Wing after the deadline? Staal had a NMC in his contract meaning that he had veto rights on any trade the Red Wings wanted to make involving the veteran defenseman. Staal indicated that if the right offer came along, he would be willing to consider a move out of Detroit. That offer obviously didn’t happen, therefore, Staal remains with Detroit. Staal also has a history of loyalty to the teams he is playing for. Staal played the first 13 years of his NHL career with the New York Rangers. Now in his second year in Detroit, and with a young family, it sounds like Staal would prefer to play the remainder of his career in Detroit.
Prior to joining the Red Wings, Sam Gagner’s career at the NHL level seemed to be coming to an end. Sam Gagner was traded to Detroit as part of the return for Andreas Athanasiou. Two full seasons later, Gagner is a mainstay in the Detroit lineup. Gagner is currently in his 15th NHL season and with a modest cap hit of $850,000, there is no doubt that Gagner will remain a member of the Red Wings next year.
The market for goalies was relatively cold this year because very few top goaltenders were on the IR leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline. Greiss is now 36 and will be an UFA at the end of this season. Greiss remained in Detroit for two reasons. Detroit doesn’t currently have anyone who can fill in as the backup in Detroit for the final 20 games. Calvin Pickard is not the answer, as illustrated by him allowing five goals on 11 shots for Grand Rapids last night. Teams also didn’t believe that Greiss was an upgrade over what they already had in their organizations. Greiss will become an UFA at the end of this season and his time in Detroit will likely end after this season.
Taro Hirose was recalled to the Red Wings after being the top scorer for Grand Rapids (AHL) this season. Hirose will also become an UFA at the end of this season. The final 20 games after the deadline will serve as an audition for an extension with the Red Wings. Hirose indicated that if things don’t work out in Detroit, at least he is being given an opportunity to audition for a NHL deal with someone next year.
Danny DeKeyser has likely played his final game with the Red Wings. He was placed on waivers after the addition of Olli Juolevi to the Detroit blueline. When DeKeyser went unclaimed, Detroit placed him on IR. DeKeyser will become an UFA at the end of the season and if he doesn’t get an NHL deal somewhere besides Detroit, he will probably retire.
Carter Rowney was a nice depth addition to the Red Wings forwards. Rowney only played 26 games with the Red Wings this year and is currently on IR. Rowney signed a one-year deal with Detroit last summer and will become an UFA at the end of the season. Rowney will likely seek an NHL deal elsewhere for next season.