Welcome to The Hockey Writers’ 2023 Free-Agent Targets series for the Detroit Red Wings. During it, we will be looking at a handful of free agents from each NHL team who the Red Wings should consider pursuing this summer.
Explore everything hockey with THW’s Hockeypedia pages.
In this latest edition of the series, we will be focusing on the New York Islanders. The Red Wings have some intriguing free-agent targets from the Islanders who would help fix some needs they have. Let’s discuss a few of those players now.
The Red Wings will likely be in the market for a bottom-six forward this offseason. Pius Suter, Adam Erne, and Alex Chiasson are all pending unrestricted free agents (UFA), and they will need to replace them if they leave. As a result, one Islanders free agent who could make sense as a target for Detroit is Pierre Engvall. The 27-year-old proved to be a solid secondary scorer in 2021-22, as he had 17 goals and 30 points in 76 games split between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Islanders. Thus, he could be a nice addition to the Red Wings’ roster.
When looking at Detroit’s lineup, it is fair to argue that Engvall would be a fit on the Red Wings’ third line. This is especially so when noting that he is capable of playing both left wing and right wing due to his valuable versatility. Furthermore, his strong net-front presence ability would make him a solid option to join the Red Wings’ power play.
Overall, Engvall has the potential to be a decent addition to the Red Wings’ forward group, so perhaps bringing him in on a two-year or three-year deal could be in the cards.
The Detroit Red Wings need to bring in at least one right-shot defenseman this offseason. Their right side was worsened noticeably after they traded Filip Hronek to the Vancouver Canucks, and there have been rumblings that Gustav Lindstrom could be heading overseas. Therefore, adding a right-shot defenseman is a necessity, and one Islander who could make sense for them because of this is Scott Mayfield. Mayfield just put together the best season of his nine-year career, setting new career highs with six goals, 18 assists, and 24 points. After a campaign like this, it is fair to argue that he would be a strong addition to Detroit’s lineup.
Latest News & Highlights
If the Red Wings signed Mayfield, he would instantly become their second-best right-shot defenseman. Due to this, he would be a clear candidate to play second-pairing minutes with Olli Maatta or Ben Chiarot. Furthermore, he would also become a valuable asset to their penalty kill because of his very sound defensive play.
The Red Wings could use a hard-nosed defenseman like Mayfield, so do not be surprised if he is a player who general manager (GM) Steve Yzerman has on his radar this offseason. On paper, there is a clear match here.
Due to Ilya Sorokin’s rise to stardom, there is a decent chance that the Islanders will let veteran netminder Semyon Varlamov leave through free agency. The 35-year-old appeared in only 23 games in 2022-23 but was still quite effective during them. He put together an 11-9-2 record, a 2.70 goals-against average, and a .913 save percentage (SV%). Thus, he still has the potential to be a very solid goalie to have in a 1A-1B tandem, and the Red Wings should target him because of it.
Goaltending was a notable issue for the Red Wings in 2022-23. Alex Nedeljovic proved to be a bust, while Ville Husso struggled in a full-time starting role. As a result, Detroit should consider signing Varlamov to a short-term contract at a reasonable cap hit to help solidify the position a bit more. Having a tandem consisting of Varlamov and Husso has the potential to be successful. This is especially so if the latter can bounce back in 2023-24.
The Red Wings have some decent free-agent options from the Islanders worth considering. Out of this trio, Varlamov would be the biggest name, but adding either Mayfield or Engvall also has the potential to be beneficial. We will need to wait and see if the Red Wings bring in any of these three players this summer.