With Tomas Tatar and Andreas Athanasiou still waiting on contracts, the Athletic’s Craig Custance projects what they could earn once they sign on the dotted line. Tatar has been one of the few Red Wings scoring at a regular clip and his deal should be around $4.3MM per year. Term and dollars will be important to both parties, and Custance calls this the “tricky” notion of Tatar’s deal. Tatar potted 25 goals last season and is deserving of a significant raise. Meanwhile, Athanasiou is still relatively young, though many can already see how his devastating speed and scoring prowess could quickly translate into multiple 20 goal seasons, and possibly, 30. The Wings, according to Custance, could get him around a $1.9MM AAV because of his lesser time in the NHL. But if the trends continue, Athanasiou will come at a bridge bargain now, while getting a significant pay raise later.
- Defenseman Danny DeKeyser has become somewhat of a pariah for some Red Wings fans, but The Athletic’s Jack Han takes a closer look at the somewhat predictable decline in DeKeyser’s play and numbers. Signed by Detroit as an unrestricted free agent in 2013, DeKeyser flourished in the top six under Mike Babcock and earned the nickname “the human eraser” for his staunch commitment to his end of the ice while keeping opposing scorers in check. All of this changed, according to Han, when new coach Jeff Blashill took over and the defensive corps weakened.DeKeyser was given top pair minutes, which exposed him against the better players on opposing squads. Worse, the generous contract from general manager Ken Holland only increased the scrutiny on his play, especially after a disastrous season in 2016-17. Is DeKeyser truly as bad as some think? Han doesn’t think so. He takes a look at Corsi and Scoring Chances to quantify DeKeyser’s value and after a thorough job, notes that DeKeyser certainly isn’t deserving of high end minutes. Regardless of where he does end up, it’s destined to be a rough road with a Red Wings blue line that isn’t exactly top tier.
- With the hiring of Rick Tocchet in Arizona, Calder Cup Champion and current Grand Rapids bench boss Todd Nelson will remain with the Griffins. Nelson, hired back in 2015, has guided the Griffins to a second round showing in 2015-16, and a championship in 2016-17. The Red Wings are looking at infusing more youth into the lineup and Nelson steered much of that young talent with a steady hand. Having Nelson in Grand Rapids gives the organization peace of mind knowing that the development of several critical players, notably Evgeny Svechnikov, will be overseen by one of the best in the AHL.