Red Wings: 3 Burning Questions Heading Into the 2024 Offseason

The Hockey Writers

The Detroit Red Wings missed the playoffs this year by a razor-thin margin. Because of that, this may be the first offseason in many years where Red Wings fans are still looking back what could have been different about this season rather than ahead to what the offseason will bring.

Perhaps that’s because of the Red Wings’ playoff push this season, or maybe it’s because the 2024 offseason is shaping up to be one of the most consequential offseasons of general manager Steve Yzerman’s tenure. The Red Wings may be knocking on the door, but big changes are still needed if they are going to take the next step.

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What those changes may look like are currently anyone’s guess, but there are some matters that we already know have to be addressed at one point or another. These are some of the questions that will dominate the offseason discussion in Hockeytown.

Lalonde Entering Last Year of Deal

The end of the 2023-24 season marked the end of Derek Lalonde’s second season as the Red Wings’ head coach. Across those two seasons, the first-time head coach has a 76-69-19 record. 

The Red Wings have seen improvement under Lalonde. Their defensive game greatly improved in his first season as their goals-against dropped by 33 goals (from 312 to 279). In his second season, the team’s offense took a big step forward (from 240 goals-for to 278) but their defensive game stagnated at best and regressed at worst. Still, the 2023-24 season marked the Red Wings’ first 40-win season in eight years, and Lalonde and his staff deserve some credit for putting the team in a position to reach that milestone. 

Year three is not a small one for Lalonde. Not only has this season raised expectations for the organization, but he also has just one season left on his contract. As was the case with his predecessor Jeff Blashill, it looks like Lalonde will enter next season without any security that he will be in Detroit beyond the 2024-25 season. 

There are many players on the Red Wings’ roster that have something to prove. The team’s coaching staff is no different. 

How Will Yzerman Make Room for Berggren, Johansson & Others?

If anybody didn’t know already, Yzerman mentioned during his end-of-year media scrum that winger Jonatan Berggren and defenseman Albert Johansson will both have to pass through waivers of they aren’t on the NHL roster next season. Yzerman also mentioned that he anticipates that both would be claimed if he had to expose them to waivers. 

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Steve Yzerman, General Manager of the Detroit Red Wings (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

It was perhaps a little surprising to hear Yzerman seemingly pencil Berggren into next season’s lineup. After all, the 23-year-old (who will turn 24 in July) was the subject of much speculation in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline. A second round selection in the 2018 draft, Berggren was reportedly frustrated with spending most of this season in the American Hockey League after playing 67 games in the NHL last season. He will be a restricted free agent (RFA) this summer and it’s probably fair to say that he won’t want to re-sign with Detroit unless there’s a clear pathway to a spot on the NHL roster next season. 

As for Johansson, the young defender has yet to make his NHL debut despite recently celebrating his 23rd birthday. A second round pick in the 2019 draft, he is a high-IQ defenseman that moves the puck well and battles hard despite his lack of size (6-feet, 185 pounds). He was close to receiving a call-up in the past, but he’ll have to elevate his game even further if he’s going to stick with the Red Wings next season. 

Though Berggren and Johansson were name-dropped specifically, Yzerman acknowledged that there will likely be more youth on Detroit’s roster next season. Simon Edvinsson should be a lock on the blue line along with Johansson, but prospects like Marco Kasper, Carter Mazur, Nate Danielson and Elmer Söderblom should all make a push to join the Red Wings’ forward group. 

The Red Wings will need some young players to push for roster spots not only to push along their rebuild, but also because things are about to tighten up from a salary cap standpoint. 

What Will Seider & Raymond’s Deals Look Like?

Yzerman answered a question about some of the Red Wings’ unrestricted free agents (UFA) by saying that he has interest in bringing all of them back, but that he has to figure out what the deals for his RFAs will look like before he can commit to any of his UFAs. 

Enter Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond. 

In an offseason that already seems to be dominated by questions of who is staying and who is going, both Seider and Raymond affirmed their desire to stay in Detroit.

We know these two will be back in red and white next season, but what we don’t know is how much of a raise they will receive from their entry level contracts. Though the salary cap is expected to jump up to $87.5 million – an increase of $4 million – next season, their new deals could see them make over $8 million a year, or at least that was what THW’s Tony Wolak projected recently. Combined, their deals along with Dylan Larkin’s could soon account for roughly 30 percent of the team’s available cap room. 

Related: Projecting Lucas Raymond’s New Red Wings Contract

Seider and Raymond’s new deals won’t prohibit Yzerman from retaining some of the team’s UFAs, but the days of Yzerman going on summer shopping sprees are probably over (for now). In terms of how this effects the team’s UFAs, players like Patrick Kane and Shayne Gostisbehere will quickly price themselves out of Detroit if they’re looking for big money this summer. 

But considering how important Seider and Raymond are to the Red Wings’ future, it simply makes sense to prioritize them over everybody else. They’ll get their paydays, it’s just a matter of how much is leftover once they do.

What questions are on your mind as the Red Wings begin their offseason? Let us know down in the comments section below!


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