At this point in the summer, before prospects tournaments and training camps, I find myself pouring over Cap Friendly. Just for fun. Nerdy, time consuming fun. As this year stands, Detroit is at 47 contracts and 4 mil under the cap. Factor in Zetterburgh and Franzen on LTIR and it’s more like 14 mil. Enough contract space and cap space to sign a college free agent or take 2 contracts back for 1 given should we offload anyone at or near the trade deadline. https://www.capfriendly.com/teams/redwingsrnrnThen
my eyes drifted to next season. I noticed a LOT of red (UFA) and blue (RFA). 7 RFAs on the NHL club, 6 of whom qualify for arbitration. 4 UFAs including Green, Ericsson, Daley and Howard. The RFAs include Athanasiou, Mantha, Bertuzzi, Svechnikov, Bowey, Erne, and DeLaRose. In line for potentially significant raises are the first three mentioned. Of concern, Athanasiou. He’s shown (along with his agent) the willingness to sit out if he doesn’t like the deal. rnrnInevitably I scroll down to cap space, which reads at 36.8 million (factor in the last year of Zetterburgh on LTIR and you can add up to 6 mil to that). Ok. Up to 42 million to sign 10 players feels “doable”. And then i saw the next number of concern. Contracts on the book next year drop to 26. From 47. Where are the other 10 contracts? Non Roster players. 7 RFA, 3 UFArnrnImmediately i question the list. Forwards - Pope, Kuffner, Hirose, Turgeon and Ehn. 3 of those 5 names were playing regular minutes with the Wings at the end of the year. Hirose made a noticeable impact. Kuffner is adjusting, and Ehn is dealing with some fairly serious health issues. Turgeon and Pope, not sure where they’ll be this year. I expect Kuffner to have some AHL time. Hirose should slot right back in with the big club. Defensive RFAs are Saarajarvi and Kaski. Oliwer Kaski will get a chance with the big club, for sure. rnrnSo of this list, at least 3 or 4 will be with the big club for some amount of time. And then, need to be dealt with. Depending on performance, Steve Yzerman could have his hands full with 21 open slots between 2 clubs. In reality, he will probably try and deal with Athanasiou, Bertuzzi and Mantha during the season. If anyone else jumps off the list and into a more prominent role, that will be addressed as well. rnrnFor the UFAs of Daly, Green, Ericsson and Howard, It would be surprising for me to see any of them back under the new regime. Holland would probably start going year to year on Howard, but i’m not sure that Yzerman will. Next summer may be the time to start looking at free agents or trades to help shape this blue line. Seider may battle for a spot in the next 2 years. McIsaac as well. Either way, this team is going to look very different, and a lot younger, very soon.