The Detroit Red Wings are firmly in a rebuild following the worst season by an NHL team since the turn of the century in 2019-20. The club has accumulated a mass amount of talent in the pipeline over the past few years and still has an impressive array of future draft selections as well. They are committed to improving internally and grooming a new core to take over down the road.
With that said, savvy GM Steve Yzerman is not one to turn away from opportunity. With the flat salary cap impacting top teams far more than bottom feeders, the Red Wings have had the room to make a number of free agent additions so far this off-season. Following a recent call with the media, The Detroit News’ Ted Kulfan writes that Yzerman has expressed that he may not be done making deals either. Detroit still has more than $9.5MM in cap space based on CapFriendly’s current projection of a 22-man roster.
Already, the Red Wings have added considerable veteran talent ahead of next season. The team signed a new (starting?) goalie in Thomas Greiss, a pair of young defensemen in Troy Stecher and Jon Merrill, and experienced, versatile forwards Vladislav Namestnikov, Bobby Ryan, and Sam Gagner. They also acquired reliable blue line leader Marc Staal (and a second-round pick) at no cost from the New York Rangers. Not only is this a massive influx of talent for 2020-21, but expiring contracts like Ryan, Gagner, Staal, and Merrill could also turn into more draft capital at the trade deadline.
Not only have the Red Wings succeeded in adding a number of capable players, but most have come at a great value as well. So too have their RFA re-signings; Anthony Mantha signed a long-term deal well below what many were expecting, Robby Fabbri was handed an affordable extension, and the team took Tyler Bertuzzi to arbitration just to save more money. All of this value means that Detroit can keep adding if they want. There are still holes throughout the lineup currently slated for underwhelming veterans. While some of these will be kept open for prospects, at least one or two could be filled via free agency or trade if Yzerman can find the right fit:
There are a lot of players still on the free agent market. We have a lot of bodies right now. I do think there’s room potentially to add, and I would consider it as we go along, or when we get closer to knowing when we’re going to start. As far as the trade market… it’s pretty quiet around the league. Certainly we’d be open to listening.