Red Wings News & Rumors: Coaching Staff, Free Agents & More

The Hockey Writers

It’s been a busy week for the Detroit Red Wings. During the 2022 NHL Draft, the team selected Marco Kasper eighth overall to address a key organizational need, then had an interesting Day 2. Detroit also traded for Ville Husso to share the crease with Alex Nedeljkovic.

But the Red Wings didn’t stop there. They also added a couple coaches, kicked off development camp, and tendered qualifying offers to a few restricted free agents (RFAs). Let’s dive in and examine those events a little further.

Red Wings Round Out Coaching Staff

It didn’t take long for Derek Lalonde to finalize his assistants. Over the weekend, the Red Wings brought in Bob Boughner and Alex Westlund to oversee the team’s defense and goaltending, respectively. With offensive assistant Alex Tanguay already onboard, Detroit’s coaching staff is now complete.

Detroit Red Wings associate coach Bob Boughner
New associate coach Bob Boughner behind the bench of the San Jose Sharks. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Boughner was recently let go as head coach of the San Jose Sharks. He returns to Detroit after originally being part of the famed 1989 Red Wings draft class – the same one that produced Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Vladimir Konstantinov, Mike SIllinger, and Dallas Drake.

Here in Detroit, Boughner will serve as an associate head coach, where he’ll look to improve what was an awful defense last season. He’ll also manage the penalty kill for the Red Wings.

In recent years, Boughner has mentored the likes of Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, Aaron Ekblad, and MacKenzie Weegar. He also coached the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL for eight seasons. Between his NHL tenure and time molding junior hockey players, Boughner has the coaching skills to help further the development of Moritz Seider, Filip Hronek, and the rest of Detroit’s young blue line.

Related: Grading the Red Wings’ 2022 Draft Class

Westlund previously served as the goaltending coach for the Hershey Bears – the AHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals. There, he helped Vitek Vanacek and Ilya Samsonsov develop into NHL netminders. 

Red Wings & Qualifying Offers

On Monday, it was announced that Olli Juolevi, Kaden Fulcher, Filip Larsson, and Mitchell Stephens were not issued qualifying offers. The deadline to do so was 5:00pm ET Monday evening.

While the first three come as no surprise, non-tendering Stephens was not the anticipated course of action. The center was due a $813,750 qualifying offer, so there’s a chance Detroit could re-sign him for the league minimum after Monday’s announcement.

Mitchell Stephens of the Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings might be moving on from Mitchell Stephens already. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Filip Zadina, Jake Walman, and Chase Pearson were not included in CapFriendly’s announcement of Detroit’s non-tenders, so it’s fair to assume they were extended qualifying offers.

On a related note, it was surprising to see the Chicago Blackhawks decline to tender qualifying offers to forwards Dylan Strome and Dominik Kubalik. Chicago did the same last year with Pius Suter, which led to him signing with the Red Wings. Might history repeat itself with either Strome or Kubalik?

In my opinion, Strome would be a better fit and a potential stopgap solution for Detroit’s second-line center. The former third-overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft is only 25 and can fill the role until Marco Kasper is ready to join the Red Wings’ top six.

In addition to Strome and Kubalik, a few other noteworthy players were not tendered qualifying offers, including Ilya Samsonov, Jonathan Dahlen, Danton Heinen, Ondrej Kase, Sonny Milano, and former Red Wing Evgeny Svechnikov.

Around the Rumor Mill

On Monday’s episode of the 32 Thoughts podcast, Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek shared a couple notes on the Red Wings:

  • A long-term contract extension for Dylan Larkin is “tracking positively” from what they’ve heard.
  • Friedman and Marek also linked Andrew Copp to Detroit, but wondered if Yzerman would offer term to external free agents.

Elsewhere around the rumor mill, NHL Insider Chris Johnston mentioned Detroit as a possible suitor for Copp, Nazem Kadri, Evgeni Malkin, and Vincent Trocheck. This is clearly in reference to the organization’s lack of depth at center.

Detroit Red Wings could target Evgeni Malkin in free agency.
Evgeni Malkin? A Red Wing? Maybe! (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Speaking of new contracts, I wonder if Adrian Kempe’s recent four-year, $22 million deal with the Los Angeles Kings will have an impact on Tyler Bertuzzi’s contract extension talks. The 25-year-old forward recorded 35 goals and 54 points in 78 games last year with the Kings. 

Bertuzzi had a similar 2021-22 campaign with the Red Wings and is close in age to Kempe. Perhaps a matching $5.5 million AAV deal is in order for Bertuzzi? I think it’s a fair comparable for this negotiation.

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