After a acquiring a 2021 second-round pick from the New York Rangers for taking on the contract of defenseman Marc Staal and his $5.7MM contract for one more year, the Detroit Red Wings still have $27.4MM in available cap space to spend. The question becomes, will general manager Steve Yzerman take more contracts on this offseason or was this a one-time deal?
“There’s so much uncertainty in the league right now,” Yzerman said on a Zoom call to reporters after the trade (via the Detroit Free Press). “We’re heading into the draft, we’re heading into free agency, we don’t really know when we’re starting, what the landscape is going to look like next year. So we’re all kind of going into uncharted waters. And for the Red Wings, we are in a position (where) we do have cap space that we can use it. And I hope to use it wisely. But one way we would like to try and use it is to acquire future assets should any teams be in a position where they really have to move contracts and don’t have any other options.”
Detroit does have some need for some veteran options to help out their young team that finished with a 17-49-5 record and in dead last. Assuming the Red Wings keep Staal, could they find other options to help fill some of those needed players on the roster. Of course, adding more and more picks is another option for Yzerman and the Red Wings.
“Nobody wants to give up picks or prospects, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do to make your team better, and we’re trying to — I don’t want to say take advantage of that, but find teams that are in a position that need to do that,” Yzerman said. “And again, we’re trying to add picks or prospects, and at the same time ice a team.”
- Sticking with the Red Wings trade, The Athletic’s Max Bultman (subscription required) writes that with the likelihood of the team keeping Staal on the team for next season after Yzerman complimented his penalty killing abilities, it could be bad news for defenseman Dennis Cholowski. The team’s 2016 first-round pick has had two years to establish himself into the team’s defensive lineup, but has been unable to do that yet, spending half a season each year in the AHL. This could be a breakout season coming up for him. However, with Danny DeKeyser and Patrik Nemeth ahead of him on the left-defense depth chart and now with Staal added in, Cholowski will likely have to earn his way into Detroit’s lineup by beating out Staal in training camp. Of course, he could move over to the opposite side of the defense as well, but there are other obstacles in his way there too.
- With the recent addition of Eric Staal as their new No. 2 center, the Buffalo Sabres could have the luxury of easing their two young centers into the Sabres’ lineup this year, according to The Athletic’s John Vogl (subscription required). Before the trade, the Sabres had penciled in 2019 first-round pick Dylan Cozens into the No. 2 center position and 2017 first-round pick Casey Mittelstadt as their No. 3 center. With Staal in the fold for at least one more year, that plan will change. The scribe writes that it’s possible the team could move one or both of them to the wing to add some top-six depth there now that Marcus Johansson was traded to Minnesota. Cozens could move over to the right side, while Mittelstadt could play on the left, giving the team quite a few options in training camp.