Despite not making the playoffs or really even getting close to making the playoffs a year ago, the Detroit Red Wings are No. 1 in one category — salary cap. The Red Wings are more than $3.9MM over the cap as of now and they still must sign 18-goal scorer and restricted free agent Andreas Athanasiou. As discussed previously on PHR, the Red Wings must find a way to lower their cap and will wait until training camp to make those moves.
However, MLive’s Ansar Khan answered readers questions about how specifically the team might get under the cap. Khan believes that with the eventual Athanasiou signing and the savings from when they place Johan Franzen on LTIR should only put them slightly over the cap. Khan believes that the most likely outcome for Detroit at that point would be to waive a player rather than attempt to move someone like Riley Sheahan, Darren Helm or Mike Green.
However, the scribe adds that while the team believes that previously injured players like Tomas Tatar, Luke Glendening and Niklas Kronwall will be healthy for camp, the team will not make any moves until it knows the status of all their players and that doesn’t even include the potential for a training camp or preseason injury.
One possibility mentioned that could be waived is defenseman Ryan Sproul. A former second-round pick in 2011, he has never been able to establish himself with the Red Wings, but Khan says injuries could put him on the LTIR, but if not, the team should look to move him for a pick or trade him. The team has quite a bit of defensive talent heading to Detroit in the next year or two.
- In the same piece, Khan suggests that a top trade candidate will be Green, but only if/when the team is out of contention next season when the trade deadline hits. Green is on the final year of a three-year, $18MM deal and had a productive season last year with 14 goals. At age 31, the blueliner could prove to be a valuable commodity to a team making a playoff push.
- While Helm’s name keeps coming up as a potential player to trade off, Khan writes that the 30-year-old center has little value with his injury history (missed 32 games last year), contract (four years, $14.75MM remaining) and lack of production (17 points last year in 50 games).