The Detroit Red Wings weren’t going to give Martin Frk a qualifying offer, but it won’t matter now. The team announced they have agreed on new contracts for both Frk and Tyler Bertuzzi, inking the former to a one-year deal worth $1.05MM and the latter to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $1.4MM. Detroit was trying to avoid going to arbitration with Frk, at which point he could have ended up with a larger cap hit than they were willing to pay.
Bertuzzi especially is expected to be a part of the Red Wings future, after registering 24 points in 48 games this season. The 23-year old forward will be a useful player for the team as they try to turn things around, and now will receive a contract that indicates his full-time role with the club. A second-round pick in 2013, he’s developed into a bang-and-crash winger that can contribute offensively while providing a physical presence in the corners. Whether the remains on the first powerplay unit now that the team is bringing in more talent like Filip Zadina and Michael Rasmussen is yet to be decided.
Speaking of the powerplay, that appears to be Frk’s best role for the club though it’s not clear how he fits. The 24-year old had 25 points this season, including nine on the powerplay where his hard one-timer is a lethal weapon. That weapon sometimes is uncontrollable, but still could develop into a reliable option for the Red Wings to use. With a left-handed shot like Zadina coming in, the Red Wings will be able to create plenty of danger with the man advantage.
The Red Wings still have some big names like Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou left to deal with among their restricted free agents, but have nearly $23MM in cap room heading into next season. That’s something they haven’t had for some time, and makes them a dangerous option in the market this summer. Though the team has struggled since some of their legendary players left the team, it might not be such a long wait to see the Red Wings back in a playoff hunt. They had an excellent draft this weekend and have 11 picks next year.