Red Wings News & Rumors: Yzerman Presser, Goalies & More

The Hockey Writers

With the 2024 NHL Draft just a week away, general managers (GMs) across the NHL have begun to meet with the media to discuss the state of their organizations prior to the draft. Steve Yzerman, GM of the Detroit Red Wings, is no different as he held his press availability on the morning of June 21.

In today’s “News & Rumors” post, we’re looking at the highlights of Yzerman’s presser, as well as other pieces of news and rumors you may have missed. From key contract negotiations to potential offseason additions, a buzz is starting to sweep across Detroit as fans eagerly await Yzerman’s next move.

Yzerman Presser

As per usual, Yzerman spoke on a wide variety of topics as members of the press tried to get answers to some of the offseason’s burning questions. But instead of detailing the entire meeting, let’s take a look at the key points that were made by the Red Wings’ GM:

Seider/Raymond Negotiations

Yzerman said that while progress has been made towards re-signing restricted free agents (RFA) Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond, he does not necessarily expect to have either deal done before the free agent market opens up on July 1. While he reiterated that all parties have “tremendous interest” in getting this taken care of, it appears the Red Wings will not have their two youngest building blocks locked in anytime soon.

Related: Detroit Red Wings: Contract Projections for 2024 RFAs

This of course carries a great impact on how the Red Wings will approach the free agent market. Per CapFriendly, the Red Wings have a little over $29.3 million in cap space for next season, but it’s not hard to see how quickly that number shrinks once you account for what are assumingly going to be large contracts for both Seider and Raymond. Factor in the organization’s interest in retaining some of their unrestricted free agents (UFA), and you can see why some folks may be disappointed that we won’t have a clearer idea of the magnitude of Detroit’s financial flexibility anytime soon.

UFA Negotiations

Speaking of their unrestricted free agents, there have been a lot of rumblings recently about which players Yzerman has made efforts toward re-signing. A few weeks ago, he met with the Raymond’s agent, as well as the representation for both David Perron and Patrick Kane. While there haven’t been any further updates on Perron, there continues to be interest from both parties in the Kane negotiations. Yzerman stated that he and Kane’s representation have agreed to stay in touch as free agency approaches. It sounds like re-signing “Showtime” might come down to the wire.

What About the 15th Pick?

Yzerman also stated that he doesn’t foresee any movement happening with the Red Wings’ first pick in the upcoming draft. He expects that the organization will be able to add a player at 15th overall that will make an impact for the Red Wings one day, and any maneuvers to slide up or down the draft board generally wouldn’t be made until the draft is underway. That being said, he warned fans and media not to expect any “blockbuster trades” involving the 15th pick.

Justin Holl

Yzerman was asked about defenseman Justin Holl’s standing on the roster after the 32-year-old defender played in just 38 games with the Red Wings last season after signing a three-year contract with the franchise. He carries a $3.4 million cap-hit and is a popular buyout candidate among fans and media.

In his response, Yzerman sort of tip-toed around the subject, explaining the thought process in signing Holl on July 1 of last year and how the surprise opportunity to acquire Jeff Petry, as well as the coaching staff’s preference of playing Shayne Gostisbehere on the right side of the blue line, ultimately forced Holl down the depth chart. While not saying anything definitive about Holl’s status, he did close the topic with this:

As of now, you see what our roster looks like on the blue line. I’ve had talks and will continue to have talks with [Gostisbehere]’s agent, we’d like to try to figure something out, but in order to do that…we’ve got [Simon Edvinsson and Albert Johansson], we’ve got to make room for those guys and figure out a way to do that.

– Steve Yzerman

It feels like Holl’s days in Detroit will be coming to end very soon.

Red Wings Searching Market For a Goalie

NHL insider Elliotte Friedman has twice mentioned the Red Wings as a team that is combing through the goalie options available throughout the league. While this lines up with Yzerman’s previous comments about exploring options to upgrade every part of Detroit’s roster, this is the first semi-concrete thing we’ve heard about Yzerman staying true to his word.

While speaking to the media, Yzerman mentioned that he has little interest in spending premium assets to acquire a veteran goaltender what won’t be around more than a year or two. This almost certainly means that the Red Wings were never “in” on Jacob Markstrom, who the New Jersey Devils recently acquired for a 2025 first round pick and a young defenseman.

Other rumors have connected the Red Wings to Linus Ullmark of the Boston Bruins, though it sounds like the Ottawa Senators have emerged as the frontrunner to acquire his services. Markstrom and Ullmark were widely considered to be the top options available on the goalie market (depending on the status of Juuse Saros of the Nashville Predators), but that doesn’t mean the Red Wings will be out of options if the Senators do reach a deal for Ullmark.

  • Friedman loosely connected the Red Wings to Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson, and there is a connection between the two franchises given Ducks GM Pat Verbeek’s time as Yzerman’s assistant GM in both Tampa Bay and Detroit. Gibson is 30 years old and is signed for three more seasons at $6.4 million; the Red Wings would almost certainly look to send Ville Husso and his $4.75 million cap hit to Anaheim as part of the deal, though Gibson’s recent track record does raise some red flags. He hasn’t posted a SV% north of .904 since the 2018-19 season and has posted a negative goals-saved-above-average rate in every season since then as well.
  • I’ve floated the idea of pursuing 26-year-old Filip Gustavsson of the Minnesota Wild, and his age and projected cost of acquisition seems to line up with what Yzerman is looking for. Michael Russo and Joe Smith of The Athletic wrote back in April that the Wild would probably be looking for a second round pick or a middle six winger in return for Gustavsson (from “What could Minnesota Wild get for Gustavsson? Will they trade Rossi? Mailbag, part 1”, The Athletic, 04/24/24). The Swedish netminder is signed for two more seasons at $3.75 million.
  • Are the Devils looking to move on from Jake Allen or Akira Schmid now that they’ve acquired Markstrom?
Steve Yzerman Detroit Red Wings
Steve Yzerman, Detroit Red Wings (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins may be looking to move on from Tristan Jarry after he lost his starting role to Alex Nedeljkovic late in the season. The Penguins recently re-signed Nedeljkovic, a former Red Wing himself, but Penguins GM Kyle Dubas may have a hard time moving Jarry given that the 29-year-old is getting paid $5.375 million until 2029.
  • Finally, though Yzerman said he doesn’t expect to enter next season with three goalies on the roster, he also said that wasn’t the plan for this season – and we know how that worked out. The Red Wings will have options in free agency, but the majority of those options would join the tandem of Husso and Alex Lyon rather than replace one of them. Guys like Ilya Samsonov, Cam Talbot, Anthony Stolarz, and Kevin Lankinen stand out in this category, and none of them would be overly expensive to sign. If Yzerman is looking to truly upgrade the goaltending position in Detroit, however, this probably isn’t the route to take.

Red Wings Sign Johansson

The Red Wings announced the signing of RFA defenseman Albert Johansson to a one-year, two-way deal. The contract carries a cap-hit of $775k which includes an NHL salary of $775k and an AHL salary of $90k.

Drafted in the second round of the 2019 draft, Johansson will no longer be waiver-exempt starting next season, meaning the Red Wings will have to find a spot for him on their roster or risk losing him on waivers if they decide to send him back to the AHL. It’s a low-risk, prove it deal for a prospect that is ready to show that he is able to compete at the highest level.

More…

  • Yzerman speaks on Cossa

Yzerman briefly touched on the plan for Sebastian Cossa next season. After his first full season in the American Hockey League (AHL), the Red Wings are expecting their top goalie prospect to take on an even bigger role with the Grand Rapids Griffins next season. Drafted 15th overall in 2021, he appeared in 40 games this season, recording 22 wins, a 2.41 goals-against average, and a .913 save-percentage (SV%) along the way.

Yzerman’s comments probably mean the organization expects Cossa to play 50 games or more as the Griffins’ undisputed number one next season. This goes along with the timeline I laid out for him back in March, which means we should be preparing for him to challenge for NHL playing time by the end of next season.

  • Trouba to Detroit?

Peter Baugh of The Athletic recently released a mailbag article where he discussed the likelihood of the New York Rangers moving on from defenseman Jacob Trouba and what a deal would look like. “My guess is there are teams that would be interested in Trouba,” Baugh writes, “but I can’t see any being willing to take on his full contract and send back NHL players to the Rangers.”

Baugh then suggests a deal that would see the Rangers retain some of Trouba’s salary in a deal that sends the Michigan-native to the Red Wings in exchange for Holl. The Rangers would likely buyout the rest of Holl’s contract, but the penalty would be a lot less than buying out Trouba’s contract. While Baugh isn’t the Rangers’ GM, a deal like this seems like a no-brainer for the Red Wings, depending on the retention on Trouba’s deal. New York can retain up to 50 percent of his $8 million cap hit. (from “New York Rangers mailbag, part 1: Right-wing rumblings, Jacob Trouba options and more”, The Athletic, 06/17/24)

ICYMI

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