Free Agency Frenzy Recap - Red Wings

It has been nearly 24 hours since the start of free agency yesterday.  In that time, $321.1 million was spent on free agents.  Overall, $932 million has been spent on this free agent class since Martin St. Louis negotiated an extesnion last July.  That is an average of more than $31 million per team.  The shocking part?  Restricted free agency isn't even counted in this because no offer sheets were declined yet.  More surprising yet, the 4 players expected to be the highest paid of this class of free agents have not even signed deals yet.  I am, of course, speaking of Brad Richards, Tomas Vokoun, Steven Stamkos, and Drew Doughty.  Doughty, Richards, and Stamkos all stand to pull in deals worth $7-8 million a year, cap wise.  Vokoun will have a hard time finding a suitor to take him, but he could easily fetch $7 million as well.

Perhaps the most amazing thing is that there are still 13 teams who are below the salary floor, meaning they absolutely have to make more signings or else face legal action from the players union.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the signings of Ken Holland, shall we?

I'll start this off by thanking Cap Geek, Yahoo! Sports, ESPN, and TSN.  These are my sources and where I got all my information yesterday regarding the free agency.  There will be no links beyond this point, everything comes from those four sites.

Red Wings Signings

  • Jonathan Ericsson - Detroit Red Wings - 3 years, $9.75 million

    This was honestly our biggest signing. With nearly $16 million in cap space, Ken Holland's biggest move was re-signing Ericsson.  At $3.25 million, many believe we overpaid for him and had perhaps set ourselves up for failure with Brad Stuart and Niklas Kronwall both free agents next summer. Greg Wyshynski, of Puck Daddy, however, offered a different perspective: with Lidstrom coming off the books next summer as well (possibly for good), the Wings should have more than enough to sign both Kronwall and Stuart, even with the Ericsson inflation.  We can only hope.

    Cap Geek is also reporting that Ericsson has a modified no trade clause in his contract.  I cannot find any details of this clause, but it is likely Ericsson will play all three seasons here in Detroit

  • Patrick Eaves - Detroit Red Wings - 3 years, $3.6 million
    Ken Holland quickly returned to form and signed Eaves to an absolute steal of a deal.  With just a $1.2 million cap hit, the Wings managed to lock up a key grinder and someone that could possibly move into the third line and play a Dan Cleary type role.  This signing was the first indication that Holland was not going to overspend in the free agent market because Eaves was easily replaceable.
  • Drew Miller - Detroit Red Wings - 2 years, $1.675 million
    This deal was signed just minutes before Miller was set to become a free agent at noon yesterday and was another spectacular signing.  At just a $837.5K cap hit, Miller is a low-risk, high-reward scenario.  Like Eaves, he still has some potential but it would not be horrible if he sat on the 4th line or even cycled in and out of the lineup with Cory Emmerton and Jan Mursak next season.  For Miller, this is his true tryout.  He has two years to show the Wings he has what it takes to be a Kirk Maltby or Kris Draper type guy for us.
  • Mike Commodore - Detroit Red Wings - 1 year, $1 million
    Our only free agent signing, Mike Commodore is a hard hitting, grinder type of defender.  He is known for his toughness and questionable hits.  The 31 year old is coming off three years in Columbus and spending the majority of last season riding the bench or playing in the AHL.  As with Miller, this is another low-risk, high-reward deal.  $1 million hardly puts a dent in the cap situation and Commodore will likely fill the position left by Ruslan Salei leaving.

    Interesting about this signing is what it means for the Wings defensive corps.  By not signing a top 4 guy, this shows that Holland truly believe in Ericsson and it is likely he will spend the season as our #2 defenseman playing alongside Lidstrom.  Stuart and Kronwall will play on the second pairing and Kindl will be the 5th defenseman.  The 6th defenseman is destined to be Brendan Smith, our highly touted defensive prospect.  He will likely spend the first few weeks rotating into the 6th spot every few games while Commodore plays more.  I foresee that changing about a quarter of the way in and Commodore being the 7th defenseman, rotating in on occasion to relieve Smith or cover for injuries. 

    Commodore will likely be expected to be a mentor for Ericsson, as he is the type of player many believe Ericsson should be.  Smith, meanwhile, will get to spend time under Lidstrom's wing.  Hopefully this situation works as well for Smith as it worked last season with Kindl and Salei.
  • Logan Pyett - Detroit Red Wings - 1 year, 2 way deal
    Cap Geek tweeted this one a few hours ago.  We re-signed Pyett to a decent deal.  If he plays in the NHL, his cap hit will be $525K.  Don't expect to see him at all next season, however.  He will likely spend the entire year with the Griffins and Holland will re-evaluate him in June next year to determine if he is ready to make the jump.

Remaining Wings Free Agents

  • Chris Osgood
    Yesterday went better than Osgood could possibly have imagined.  Potential backups like Mike Smith, Matheiu Garon, Mike Boucher, and Johan Hedberg were taken fairly quickly.  The Blizzard of Oz may yet be able to break past Grant Fuhr on the all time wins list.  With Ty Conklin being the only interesting backup left on the market after day 1, there is a strong chance that Osgood could return next season for one more shot with the Wings.
  • Kris Draper
    Yesterday sucked for Kris Draper.  Plain and simple sucked.  On Wednesday, we were not expected to re-sign Drew Miller and reports were that Eaves wished to test the market.  If that had been the case, Drapes would have found himself in the front seat of getting another season with the Wings.  Instead, Miller and Eaves re-signed and Draper is left wondering what will be next.  The Wings now have 13 forwards for next season (including Emmerton and Mursak), if they do not trade Hudler as they are trying to do.  Unless Hudler is traded, it is unlikely Draper stands any chance of making the team next season.

And that is it for the Wings, so far.  Holland was fairly quiet yesterday and that is for the best, I think, given just how much money was spent on a mediocre free agent market.  I will have a recap of the bigger signings yesterday from outside of Detroit later on today.  What do you think of the Wings free agent moves, or lackthereof?

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