9:30 AM: The Red Wings have announced (via Twitter) that Green has signed his two-year deal.
7:36 AM: Craig Custance of The Athletic reports (Twitter link) that Vanek has agreed to a one-year, $3MM deal with Detroit.
Saturday: While the Red Wings are believed to be in rebuilding mode, it doesn’t appear that this is stopping them from being active in free agency. On top of being expected to add goalie Jonathan Bernier tomorrow, TSN’s Darren Dreger reports (Twitter link) that defenseman Mike Green is staying put and that winger Thomas Vanek is also considering a return to Detroit as well.
Green remaining in Detroit isn’t a huge surprise as the team has been actively trying to re-sign him over the past week or so, offering multiple contracts of varying term and money. It was reported earlier this week that the team was hopeful that they could lock him up on a two-year pact. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports (via Twitter) that the deal will carry a $5.375MM AAV.
His re-signing would take arguably the most prominent defenseman off the market before the market even opens up. Green ranked eighth on PHR’s Top 50 UFA list, one of only two rearguards in the top-10. He gives Detroit back their top offensive threat from the back end; he has led the team in scoring by a defender in each of his three seasons with the Red Wings, averaging 35 points per season.
As for Vanek, he is quietly one of the highest scoring players in free agency this summer as his 56 points in 2017-18 rank third among all unrestricted free agents. That helped earn him the #14 ranking on our list. Despite his offensive performance in recent years, he has bounced around in recent years, playing for five different teams since 2016.
One of those teams is Detroit, who initially signed him in the summer of 2016 after he was bought out by Minnesota. He fared relatively well as he posted 38 points in 48 games before being dealt to Florida as a rental player at the trade deadline. It wouldn’t be surprising to see if that was the idea they have in mind here as well although Vanek would certainly prefer to have a little bit more stability and security after moving around as much as he has lately.
These moves would likely represent the bulk of Detroit’s offseason spending in free agency. While the team has a little over $20.5MM in cap space per CapFriendly, these three veterans would likely eat up half of that or more and they still have some notable restricted free agents to re-sign, headlined by center Dylan Larkin.