Detroit Red Wings’ 2024 Offseason Blueprint

The Hockey Writers

Entering the offseason, Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman has two objectives. The first is to improve defensively, and the second is to become a deeper team offensively. 

There are a million ways to approach these priorities. This is my recommendation.

Patrick Kane, Moritz Seider, and Matt Roy in Wolak's Offseason Blueprint for the Detroit Red Wings
One approach to how the Red Wings can improve their roster this summer. (The Hockey Writers)

All of my offseason analysis has been building to this. First, I examined year-over-year performance data to better understand Detroit’s shortcomings and how they can be addressed.

Next, I analyzed the current state of the Red Wings. I conducted an audit of their organizational depth and identified gaps that need to be addressed. I also projected contracts for Detroit’s restricted free agents (RFAs) to better understand the impact on the salary cap.

Then, I looked into external factors like the salary cap and what can be expected there over the next few years. And lastly, I examined the rest of the league and outlined potential trade partners based on common themes.

Based on all of this data and analysis, I’m here to share my recommendation for how the Red Wings should approach their offseason. I’ve included my strategy for RFAs, the draft, trades, unrestricted free agents, and lineup optimization below – all geared toward achieving Detroit’s offseason objectives and reaching the 2025 playoffs. 

Let’s dive in.

Red Wings’ RFAs

First, we’ll start with Detroit’s five RFAs since they are typically re-signed or tendered qualifying offers prior to the draft. You can find a deeper dive on the contracts here.

  • RD Moritz Seider – Eight years, $8,500,000 AAV
  • RW Lucas Raymond – Eight years, $8,125,000 AAV
  • C Joe Veleno – Two years, $1.9 million AAV
  • LW Jonatan Berggren – One year, $1.2 million AAV
  • LD Albert Johansson – One year, $813,750 AAV

2024 NHL Draft

Next up is the draft. The Red Wings currently hold the No. 15 pick, and I don’t expect that to change. Once again, I used Draft Prospects Hockey’s mock draft simulator for this exercise – here is who Detroit ended up with:

  • No. 15 – RW Beckett Sennecke
  • No. 47 – C/RW Sam O’Reilly
  • No. 80 – LD Lukas Fischer
  • No. 128 – C AJ Spellacy
  • No. 144 – LD Darels Uljanskis
  • No. 176 – C Kaden Pitre
  • No. 203 – LD Paul Mayer
  • No. 208 – G Vojtěch Hambálek

After the Red Wings drafted three defenseman and a goalie with four of their first five picks in the 2023 NHL Draft, I prioritized forwards this year. Beckett Sennecke is the headliner – a high-end, offensive creator who has a strong chance to be a top-six forward down the road

Related: THW’s Free 2024 NHL Draft Guide

Beyond Sennecke, high-effort and high-IQ players were the focus – Detroit’s strategy since Yzerman took over. In later rounds, I looked for players with upside coming out of less-heralded leagues, like Paul Mayer (Germany) and Vojtech Hambalek (Czechia).

Detroit’s Offseason Trades

Yzerman typically swings a few trades during the offseason, and I followed suit. After Day 1 of the 2024 NHL Draft, I traded Joe Veleno, Olli Määttä, and a 2025 second-round pick to the Calgary Flames for Yegor Sharangovich. More on the player and trade here.

Detroit Red Wings trade target Yegor Sharangovich.
Yegor Sharangovich generating a quality chance against his former team. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

In addition, I made a couple of moves after free agency died down. The first was dealing Robby Fabbri to the San Jose Sharks for a fourth-round selection in 2025. The other was trading Justin Holl and a 2025 fifth-round pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 2025 sixth-round pick.

Both trades were completed to acquire cap space – $7.4 million in total. San Jose can now deploy Fabbri in a middle-six role and flip him at the deadline with money retained. Holl gives Pittsburgh a defensive defenseman to play behind Erik Karlsson and Kris Letang, and contribute to the penalty kill as well.

Red Wings’ UFA Additions

Detroit has plenty of UFAs to choose from. The players below are the best fits, in my opinion.

  • RD Matt Roy – Four years, $6 million AAV
  • LW Patrick Kane – Three years, $5.5 million AAV
  • RW Christian Fischer – Two years, $1.25 million AAV
  • C Austin Czarnik – One year, $775,000 AAV
  • LW Taro Hirose – Two years, $875,000 AAV
  • C Ben Meyers – Two years, $800,000 AAV
  • RW Carson Meyer – One year, $800,000 AAV
  • RW Matt Luff – One year, $775,000 AAV
  • G Michael Hutchinson – One year, $775,000 AAV
  • RD Cameron Crotty – One year, $775,000 AAV
  • C Tyler Spezia – AHL-only contract
  • C Joel L’Esperance – AHL-only contract
  • RW Dominik Shine – AHL-only contract

The headliner here is Matt Roy. The Canton-native has been excellent for the Los Angeles Kings in a modern shutdown role, and could be an outstanding fit next to Simon Edvinsson. 

Roy can match up against opponents’ top lines and give Edvinsson the freedom to join the rush more often. Six million over four years is a lot, but then again, you’ve seen the impact Gustav Forsling has had in Florida over the last two years – Roy is exactly that.

Dylan DeMelo was considered for this role at a lower AAV (roughly $4.5 million over four years).

I opted to bring back a few UFAs as well – Patrick Kane, Christian Fischer, and Austin Czarnik. Kane was outstanding for the Red Wings last season. There’s risk in handing out a third year of term, but the potential reward is worth it. 

Beyond his own stats, Kane had a positive impact on the development of Lucas Raymond in 2023-24. He can do the same with Jonatan Berggren, who plays the game similarly. 

In addition, I wanted to bring back Fischer to more or less replace David Perron as a leading locker room voice and glue guy. He’s also a great fit on Detroit’s checking line. William Carrier was considered as well, but there just wasn’t enough cap space to make it happen. He can easily fetch $2.5 million per year on the open market.

And finally, lots of AHL depth was brought in to insulate Nate Danielson, Sebastian Cossa, William Wallinder, Shai Buium, and others in Grand Rapids.

Red Wings’ 2024-25 Roster

Now that free agents have been signed and draft picks have been selected, it’s time to take a look at what these moves add up to. Below is the projected opening night roster, special teams units, and more.

LW C RW

Alex DeBrincat Dylan Larkin Lucas Raymond

Patrick Kane J.T. Compher Yegor Sharangovich

Michael Rasmussen Andrew Copp Christian Fischer

Jonatan Berggren Marco Kasper Carter Mazur

  Austin Czarnik  
LD RD G

Jake Walman Moritz Seider Ville Husso

Simon Edvinsson Matt Roy Alex Lyon

Ben Chiarot Jeff Petry  

Albert Johansson    

With Kane back and Sharangovich added to the mix, the Red Wings should have a dangerous and high-scoring top six. There’s also an element of interchangeability with the wings, giving Derek Lalonde and Alex Tanguay more matchup options.

Detroit’s newest Kid Line could be a fun group to watch. With Andrew Copp’s checking line facing tougher competition, the “fourth line” of Jonatan Berggren, Marco Kasper, and Carter Mazur could be given favorable starts and would give the Red Wings significant depth up front – and at a low cost given their early-career stage contracts.

They’ll be pushed by Czarnik (and others) to learn and play the NHL game the right way. The veteran center is one of the hardest workers in the organization and meshed well with Mazur and Berggren in the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs.

On defense, the addition of Roy gives the Red Wings a more formidable top four and provides Detroit’s coaching staff with the option of splitting tough assignments between the top two pairs. Overall, he makes the Red Wings a much stronger defensive team when you consider how the six blueliners in the lineup would be deployed.

Lastly, the Red Wings are running it back with Ville Husso and Alex Lyon. Detroit’s other needs took priority, and there just wasn’t enough cap space to bring in a solid netminder like Anthony Stolarz or Cam Talbot.

In this scenario, Sebastian Cossa would be the next man up if an injury occurs or someone falters. It’s more or less a vote of confidence in the young goaltender after a stellar 2023-24 campaign in the AHL.

Proposed Red Wings Power Play

Position PP1 PP2

Quarterback Moritz Seider Jake Walman

Left Flank Alex DeBrincat Jonatan Berggren

Right Flank Patrick Kane Yegor Sharangovich

Bumper Dylan Larkin Carter Mazur

Net Front/Side of Net Lucas Raymond J.T. Compher

Once again, the Red Wings would utilize the 1-3-1 power play formation, with the bumper and net front roles rotating depending on which flank has the puck. Kane’s return—plus a full training camp and preseason—would allow the top power play unit to establish even more chemistry. Too often, they deferred to Kane to set up quality chances instead of leveraging all five players on the ice.

Berggren and Sharangovich would be the drivers of PP2. Jake Walman would also be a threat to unleash one-timers from the point with Berggren pulling defenders away from him.

Proposed Red Wings Penalty Kill

Position PK1 PK2 PK3

Forward 1 Dylan Larkin Andrew Copp Marco Kasper

Forward 2 J.T. Compher Michael Rasmussen Christian Fischer

Defense 1 Ben Chiarot Simon Edvinsson  

Defense 2 Moritz Seider Matt Roy  

Detroit’s penalty kill would more or less be the same as what we saw in 2023-24, just more cohesive. Kasper would slot in for Veleno in the forward rotation, and Edvinsson and Roy would be an upgrade to the back end.

Grand Rapids Griffins 2024-25 Roster

LW C RW

Taro Hirose Ben Meyers Matt Luff

Jakub Rychlovsky Nate Danielson Carson Meyer

Elmer Soderblom Amadeus Lombardi Cross Hanas

Tim Gettinger Joel L’Esperance Dominik Shine

Hunter Johannes Alexandre Doucet Tyler Spezia
LD RD G

William Wallinder Brogan Rafferty Sebastian Cossa

Shai Buium Antti Tuomisto Michael Hutchinson

Eemil Viro Josiah Didier Jan Bednar

  Cameron Crotty Carter Gylander

Nate Danielson and Shai Buium are now with the Griffins full-time and are expected to be big contributors in 2024-25. Danielson and newcomer Jakub Rychlovsky should mesh well, and Buium could benefit from being paired with his old Denver University teammate Antti Tuomisto.

The departure of Edvinsson, Berggren, Mazur, Kasper, and Albert Johansson opens the door for Tuomisto, William Wallinder, Cross Hanas, Amadeus Lombardi, and Elmer Soderblom to step into larger roles. Overall, this is a quality Griffins team that should be a Calder Cup contender in 2025.

Final Word

Detroit’s opening night roster would have a total cap hit of $86,183,057, leaving just over $1.8 million available in cap space. That will grow/accrue over time, and give the Red Wings some wiggle room at the 2025 NHL Trade Deadline.

This Red Wings team is stronger than the 2023-24 group that barely missed the playoffs. Detroit’s additions plus improved coaching strategy and deeper chemistry among the returning players stand to produce a team that’s better defensively and has more depth offensively. Overall, these Red Wings are a more well-rounded team that can compete against anyone. 

Step by step, Detroit’s rebuild continues.

Data courtesy of CapFriendly and Natural Stat Trick.

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