Now that the offseason is here, let’s take a look at whose contract is up and who needs to be bought out. This will be an interesting summer, to say the least. We’ve got a superstar to keep, the cap is going down, a bunch of UFAs, RFAs and some possible buyouts. The UFA market seems poor right now, but a few compliance buyouts would liven things right up.
More after the jump:
I won’t make many suggestions, if any, about how much so and so is worth, because I can never guess that accurately. Mostly because I never get raises where I work, so I’m surprised when other people do. Then again, my job is meaningless and I don’t do much. If I didn’t show up, no one would even know I was gone.
Restricted Free Agents:
But enough about me! Let’s talk about the Wings. The RFAs are the easiest, in my opinion. Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith all need to be resigned. Nyquist will likely cost the most of those four, but he’s also the best player on that list. Smith sucked almost all year, but he has way too much talent to let go of. It would be funny if Smith and the Wings couldn’t agree on a deal and he asked for an arbitrator to decide. Holland would show a 45 minute highlight video of Smith in his own zone and the arbitrator would order Smith to play for the Toledo Walleye.
Unrestricted Free Agents:
Valtteri Filppula wants $5,000,000 a year. Since he wants that money in exchange for playing hockey and not modeling hair products, I’d say that’s too much. In reality, I wouldn’t be willing to offer him what he was making before. Having Nyquist on the third line while Val played in the top 6 was a mistake. Nyquist is better than Filppula, so letting someone else overpay Val would be the way to go.
Damien Brunner was on pace for 40 goals (in an 82 game season) early on, but struggled later. He was good in the playoffs, though, despite being hurt. He’s another guy that I think belongs in the top 6 and will certainly be there if he’s strong enough. His salary is the biggest question this offseason. Is he content to take on a small raise to prove he can be consistent, or does he want the big bucks now?
Dan Cleary gave it his all in the playoffs. He hustled as best he could and put up points at a much better rate than I could have imagined, so I think he’ll be an asset wherever he ends up. I just don’t think that place will be Detroit. Tatar, Nyquist and Andersson need to be in Detroit next year and there just aren’t enough spots for everyone. If a spot does open up for Cleary, great. Just let that spot be on the third or fourth line.
Drew Miller is probably gone, too. He was great for this team in every game he played, but just like with Cleary, there just aren’t enough spots. He’ll contribute wherever he goes, though.
Ian White is the only UFA defenseman we have and I’d say it’s pretty much written in stone that he’s leaving. Even if he was offered a contract, why sign it? No one wants to get paid to just watch hockey. That’s a lie. I want to be paid to just watch hockey. In a way I already am. Great, now I’m Corey Emmerton and Ian White. Kill me. So yeah, White is gone.
Players needing an extension:
That would be Pavel Datsyuk. Lately he’s been saying that he wants to stay here for many more years. Since I want him to stay for many more years, this news thrills me. However, until a contract has been signed, I will not celebrate.
Ken Holland seems like the kind of guy who will go out of his way to be loyal to players who have been loyal to him. He’s even been loyal to players who have turned his back on him. But hockey is a business and the salary cap demands that some players must be taken off the books.
Mikael Samuelsson has to be the top target for a buyout. His salary of $3,000,000 is too high, especially when you consider that he was constantly injured and barely produced any points when he did play.
Todd Bertuzzi’s name has come up a time or two. Bert would be great to have in the shootout and not having him out there probably cost Detroit a few points in the standings. But $2,075,000 is a lot of money for shootouts. I say keep him, though.
Jordin Tootoo? He doesn’t make that much and I think we’ll need more guys like him in the east, not fewer. Keep him.
We already discussed Mule. He stays.
Kyle Quincey’s cap hit will be $3,775,000 next season. His salary and Sammy’s combined is slightly higher than Pavel Datsyuk’s. If Smith and Kindl are kept, the Wings have eight defensemen under contract. Considering all the injuries they tend to have, having all eight might be smart, but at $3,775,000 it’s tempting to cut ties.
Speaking of injuries, Carlo Colaiacovo will have a cap hit of $2,500,000. I think he’s worth that when he’s playing. The key is him staying healthy. If Holland isn’t confident that he’ll stay in one piece for 82 games, buying him out might be smart.
What about Ericsson? $3,250,000 next season, but I think he’s worth that. Durable, big and he’s gotten better over the years. I think he fits well with Kronwall. Keep him.
Another option is buying out Jonas Gustavsson. I liked his signing, but he gives me a 60 minute heart attack when he plays. If Howard struggles or he’s hurt, Gustavsson has to save our season. FML…
But at just $1,500,000 there wouldn’t be much as far as cap savings goes. If he’s truly terrible, put him in GR like they did to Conklin and bring someone else up (Not Mrazek).
Other buyouts we could snipe:
Until players have actually been bought out, this is all speculation, of course, but I think the writing is on the wall for some of these guys.
Marian Hossa could be one. Still have that #81 hiding in the closet, collecting dust? Chicago might have to buy him out just because of the penalty they’ll face when he inevitably retires early. Maybe not this year, but certainly by next year, Chicago has to buy him out or his retirement would cripple their franchise. Which would be awesome. Keep him, Chicago! But if not, sign here, Marian!
Brad Richards will be making $6,666,667 until 2020. Damn. And he was a healthy scratch in the playoffs when his team was facing elimination. If he’s bought out, he could be brought in to replace Val, Cleary or Abby on the top 6.
Anyone else out there that could be bought out that you’d like on the team?
So to recap, Brunner, Nyquist, Andersson, Smith and Kindl need to stay. Filppula, Cleary, Miller and White are all but gone. Buy out Sammy and Quincey or Colaiacovo. Sign a bought out player or two.
What do you think?
The top 6 forwards next year need to be Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Nyquist, Bertuzzi (if not bought out and healthy, because where else does he fit?) and Abby/UFA signee. Keep the kid line intact for the 3rd line, and have Helm, Eaves, and Miller/Tootoo as the 4th line. I hated Abdelkader on the Datsyuk line to begin with, but I gotta admit, I love how he played in the playoffs and down the stretch in the regular season. If he, Datsyuk, and Nyquist are on a line together, I think that would be pretty awesome. If Hossa becomes available, and this is the first I have heard it was a possibility, I would welcome him back with open arms.
I think the most pressing need for this team is a steady blue liner with PP potential. I like Brunner, but I am nervous as hell on the PP when he is on the point. Too many SH opportunities for the opponents this year IMO, and a lot had to do with Brunner. If Streit is willing to sign for an acceptable amount of money and years, I say go for it.
This is a wish list, and probably not going to happen. But hey, it's June 6th, I get my summer off from teaching in 9 days, and darn it, people like me.
@behood19 Hossa almost certainly will not fulfill the final years of his contract. Because of a penalty in the last CBA targeting those handful of contracts like that, the Hawks would have a $9.1M cap hit the first year he didn't play and an $18.2M hit each subsequent year. An $18.2M cap hit penalty basically means that their AHL affiliate that year will be better than them. They can't take that ludicrous risk on him. Honestly, they will probably do it next summer (why not get one more year with him at no risk?), but still it seems like it's got to happen.
Keep Tootoo for Line 4. Matt Cooke and Raffi Torres are UFAs. Sign them and make it a line. Rather than Line 4 being "The Grind Line," it could be the "Line of Douchery and Death." Of course I kid, but wouldn't that be a hilarious line to line up across from Crosby and Malkin the first game we play them and tell the guys to go for broke the second the puck is dropped? el-oh-el
Wouldn't using the amnesty on Franzen after NEXT season be the smart thing to do? He'll be 34 at that point and there will be cap penalties if he retires before 40. I don't think his 35 and 36 yo seasons would be worth the risk and at that point the Wings would have better options than a 35 year old Franzen anyway.
@AnthonyC KH has made is overly clear he's not going to buyout Franzen, and he has a good point. Streakiness aside, he's a 30-goal scorer for $3.95M per year in cap hit. That's a value you can't argue with when we are paying guys who are totally useless almost the same amount. Any penalties we risk with him couldn't be large and that's a risk you take with any player you sign to a long-term contract. Really, he isn't signed into an abnormally late age.
@ThroatShot He's signed until his age 40 season, and he's only scored 30 once in his career, 4 full seasons ago. He's never even had 60 points.
If he retires when he's 37, for example, the Wings will have to eat something like 2.3M in capspace for 3 years. Thats just irresponsible.
While I agree he's OK for the 4M cap hit, I don't think he will be from ages 35-40, if he even plays that long. He can still be useful this year but after that they should let him go. It is just smart business to do so.
@AnthonyC @ThroatShot“We have Franzen on a long-term contract. We’ve made a commitment to him, so he’s somebody we have to live with. But at least once in a while he scores a few goals. That he does do.” ~Jimmy D
Seems like they have been prepping him as trade bait for a while.
I agree with most of it. But Miller needs to stay. He's way too valuable on the PK and until Helm can touch his toes with his nose, Miller is the man for that role.
And Hossa? He's a huge cap hit. Richards' light has faded and he'll end up 2nd lining for someone that needs to meet the cap floor.
The better asset finding his way to UFA this summer is Mark Streit. He doesn't want to play for the Islanders anymore. Leadership and the ability to score from the point. Could fill a role on the PP that we need. But, he may be too expensive and he is 35...
@FisherDude I think Miller will stay. His play and dedication toward the end was insane. On the PK he ate up tons of minutes and didn't make the mistakes that some of other PKers did. Hes a hard worker who can get things done. And without Helm, as mentioned above, we need him.
@FiveforFive I want him to stay as much as the next guy, but let's look at the lineup of forwards without any additions (these are my line theories based on what I think Babs might do)...
Now, I suppose if we buyout BOTH Bert and Sammy, that might make room for Miller for a year or two (too many young guys coming up with more potential upside that will need the roster spot). If we buyout one or both, I would seriously hope it is to clear space for the Top 6 guy we just signed to take Abby's spot on the higher line.
@FisherDude when I list buyout guys like Hossa and Richards, I'm not saying trade for them. I'm saying sign them as UFAs after being bought out. meaning their old cap hit is gone. they'll still be getting paid by their old teams, which means they could possibly (ESP in Richards' case) play for much cheaper while still making bank.
@FisherDude I'm so conflicted on Miller, I'd rather have him than Emmerton, but don't want him holding up a spot over a young kid with higher potential. I'm leaning on stay, but wouldn't mind either way.
I think there's trade value in Quincey. No where near the 1st Round Pick, but I'm sure we could get a 2nd Round pick for him or something. No need to buy him out, just market him. Sammy and Bert for the buyouts, imo.
Just have to say I'm so happy I found this blog. I've enjoyed reading everything you've written all year and you always crack me up!
Good article here. I don't see Gus being a buyout option. Who else are we going to have backup Jimmy? Pearce is an UFA and McCollum is a RFA. Do both of those tenders really have a future with this team? In my opinion, no. And I certainly would not feel comfortable with them backing up Jimmy over Jonas Gustavsson.. Give Gus a chance at 15-20 games, perhaps we'll be pleased.. Perhaps not..
My buyout votes go to Sammy and Bert. Both aging, both injury prone, both skill-sets starting to diminish.
In reality I think we are going to see Brunner, Andersson, and Nyquist on the same line again. I doubt Babs will want to split that trio up. Maybe he will? It's hard to say. We won't know until training camp starts up. I don't see any of our defensemen getting bought out. But I suppose weirder things HAVE happened.
You said send Monster down to GR and bring up someone else. Why not Mrazek? He's been incredible in the games I've seen him play in GR. He had the 2 straight playoff shutouts against the Barons. He's been on a roll all year. Why not pull him up?
@BenSanborn because if Jimmy Howard is going to be making $5+ million, he needs to be playing a lot of games. Probably 60 or more. Mrazek needs to play in order to develop into the elite goaltender we think he'll become. 20 or fewer starts and the occasional mop-up duty isn't going to cut it. it's best for Mrazek to start 45-55 games in GR and play rather than watch. i know he's good enough to be an NHL backup right now, but he could be even better with more development.
@Twig @BenSanborn I agree that Mrazek would benefit most from playing a heavy load in Grand Rapids, but who else would you bring up? Pearce and McCollum's contracts are both up at the end of the season, and it's pretty clear that neither of them are in the Wings' future. Pearce is a RFA and has said he's going to go finish college, and even if he didn't, I don't want him playing in the NHL. The same goes for McCollum, he's also a RFA, and even if the Wings kept him to back up in GR, I'd rather have Monster play in the NHL than Tommy. The other goalie the Wings have signed is Coreau, but he's coming from college and hasn't even played any pro hockey yet. If you call someone up, and it's not Mrazek, who would it be? The only call up I'd rather have in net over Gustavsson (even if he shat the bed) would be Mrazek.
I agree with pretty much all of this...although I hate to see Miller and Cleary and White go. They are true Red Wings in my books and gave 150% every night. Val has such huge potential, but he's failed to produce it consistently.
The young kids are gonna be unreal int he next year or two. Kepp 'em all! I'd also axe the Monster and bring Mrazek back!
Samuelsson, Gustavsson, Bertuzzi, Colaiacovo and Quincey all need to be let go. I can't stand watching any of them play.
That's my 2 cents.
@kristianDavid There must have been some issues with White we never heard about, either an attitude problem or a disagreement with the coaching staff. You don't go from a #2 or 3 guy to being benched all season. When he was healthy he was replaced by Lashoff in the regular season and for a game in the playoffs when we needed someone to step up. For them to turn away from him there must have been something going on.