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July 1st Free Agency Wrapup

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Anaheim Ducks Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Barring something unexpected, Detroit will add three players to its NHL roster for the 2018-19 season.

Yesterday, we received word that Mike Green had signed for 2 years at $5.375M per year.

This morning, reports emerged of the Thomas Vanek signing, at 1 year, 3M.

While we were waiting on confirmation of the Jonathan Bernier signing (3 years, $3M AAV), Detroit signed goalie Harri Sateri.

The Bernier signing has no trade protection. As of now, we haven’t seen anything about trade protection for the other two contracts. If we get word, we’ll update the post.


While it seems strange to have a NTC on a one year contract, if the team is bad again as expected, Vanek could easily waive it to go to a playoff team.

After these signings, Detroit still has to sign RFAs Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, and Andreas Athanasiou.

Update: I originally didn’t add the Weiss and Ouellet buyouts. I changed the section below to reflect that.

Matt Cane’s free agent salary projections has Larkin at 6 x $6.3M, Mantha at 2 x $4.5M, and Athanasiou at 2 x $1.8M. I think that’s pretty likely to what we’ll see, although it remains to be seen if Larkin will want to go long term instead of a shorter term deal with the hopes that he’ll increase his value for a longer term deal after.

Mantha on a bridge deal seems likely, and I’m assuming Athanasiou goes to arbitration.

That leaves $1,157,501 for two roster spots, without any other moves. Bringing in Vanek makes Martin Frk’s future on the Red Wings seem much more unlikely, so that could easily be a third roster spot. (I’m not counting Franzen because his roster spot and cap hit will go on LTIR.)

Of course, more roster moves could be made, potentially opening up more spaces. Assuming the 2-3 (or more) roster spots would be filled by players on ELCs (Rasmussen, possibly Zadina, some of the young defensemen), it might be tight, but it should be able to get done. If the money ends up being too tight, bridging Larkin would likely cost less than a longer term deal, at least in the short term.

According to Ansar Khan, Detroit will not be adding more players through free agency. If anything else happens Detroit-related today, we’ll add it to this article.

The official press releases follow:


… 2018 NHL All-Star Re-Signs with Detroit; Led Team Defensemen in Points Since 2015-16…

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings signed defenseman Mike Green to a two-year contract extension.

Green, 32, has led Red Wings defensemen in points in each of his three seasons with the team, registering 33 points (8-25-33) in 66 games during a 2017-18 season that was cut short due to injury. The 13-year NHL veteran represented the Red Wings at his second career NHL All-Star Game in 2018 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. He ranked among Red Wings leaders this season with 25 assists (3rd), 33 points (T6th), 13 power-play points (3rd), 132 shots (9th) and 22:04 average time on ice (1st). Green also opened the season with a four-assist game on Oct. 5 vs. Minnesota in the first game at the state-of-the-art Little Caesars Arena, becoming the first Red Wings defenseman to do so since Niklas Kronwall during the 2007-08 campaign. In 212 games with the team since 2015-16, Green has picked up 104 points (29-74-104) and 116 penalty minutes, while totaling 464 points (142-322-464), a plus-18 rating and 532 penalty minutes in 787 NHL games since 2005-06.

Originally drafted by the Washington Capitals in the first round (29th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Green made the NHL’s First All-Star Team in back-to-back seasons (2008-09 and 2009-10) after leading the league’s defensemen in points in each season (73 and 76, respectively). He also led NHL blueliners in goals in each season (31 and 19), as well as the shortened 2012-13 campaign (12 in 35 games). Prior to his NHL career, Green was an American Hockey League Calder Cup champion with the Hershey Bears in 2005-06 and was a member of the AHL All-Rookie Team. The Calgary, Alberta, native also posted 172 points (37-135-172) in 267 Western Hockey League games with the Saskatoon Blades from 2000-05.


… Vanek Returns for Second Stint with Detroit After Joining Red Wings in 2016-17; Bernier Has Played 288 NHL Games with Los Angeles, Toronto, Anaheim and Colorado …

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today signed right wing Thomas Vanek to a one-year contract and goaltender Jonathan Bernier to a three-year contract.

Vanek, 34, rejoins the Red Wings after playing 48 games for Detroit during the 2016-17 campaign, producing 38 points (15-23-38) and 16 penalty minutes before being traded to Florida in exchange for defenseman Dylan McIlrath and a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, which the Red Wings used to select defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo. Vanek spent the 2017-18 campaign between the Vancouver Canucks and Columbus Blue Jackets, totaling 56 points (24-32-56) and 36 penalty minutes in 80 games, including 15 points (7-8-15) and a plus-nine rating in just 19 games with Columbus following his trade from Vancouver. He added two points (1-1-2) in six postseason games with the Blue Jackets. The 2017-18 season marked the 11th time since debuting in 2005-06 that Vanek has scored at least 20 goals, which includes a pair of 40-or-more goal seasons with the Buffalo Sabres in 2006-07 and 2008-09.

A veteran of 13 seasons and 965 NHL games, Vanek has amassed 753 points (357-396-753) with the Sabres, New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens, Minnesota Wild, Red Wings, Panthers, Canucks and Blue Jackets. His 357 career goals rank ninth in the NHL since he came into the league in 2005-06, behind only Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Eric Staal, Patrick Marleau, Rick Nash, Jarome Iginla, Evgeni Malkin and Corey Perry. The Vienna, Austria, native was originally drafted in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by Buffalo and spent two seasons at the University of Minnesota before turning pro, totaling 113 points (57-56-113) in 83 games played from 2002-04. Vanek helped the Golden Gophers win the NCAA National Championship as a freshman in 2003 and won back-to-back Western Collegiate Hockey Association titles in 2003 and 2004. He turned pro in 2004-05 with the American Hockey League’s Rochester Americans and was a member of the AHL All-Rookie Team after posting 68 points (42-26-68) in 74 games.

Bernier, 29, spent the 2017-18 season with the Colorado Avalanche, posting a 2.85 goals-against average, 0.914 save percentage and two shutouts alongside a 19-13-3 record in 37 games. He also appeared in four postseason games during the Avalanche’s first-round series loss to the Nashville Predators, sporting a 1-3 record, 3.87 goals-against average and 0.887 save percentage. In 288 NHL games since the 2007-08 season, Bernier owns a 128-108-28 record, 2.68 goals-against average, 0.913 save percentage and 16 shutouts between the Los Angeles Kings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Anaheim Ducks and Avalanche. His best statistical campaign came when he posted a 0.922 save percentage – tying for eighth in the NHL – alongside a career-high 26 wins in 55 games for the Maple Leafs in 2013-14. He also posted a 1.88 goals-against average in 14 games with the Kings during the shortened 2012-13 campaign, finishing second among qualifying netminders in that category.

Originally drafted by Los Angeles in the first round (11th overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Bernier became a Stanley Cup champion with the Kings in 2012 after appearing in 16 regular-season games and serving as the team’s backup goaltender during its first-ever championship run. The 6-foot, 185-pound native of Laval, Quebec, also spent parts of four seasons in the American Hockey League with the Manchester Monarchs (2007-10) and Toronto Marlies (2015-16). In 119 AHL games, he posted a 57-46-12 record, 2.16 goals-against average, 0.927 save percentage and 17 shutouts. He was honored with the Aldege (Baz) Bastien Memorial Award in 2009-10 after leading the league in save percentage (0.936) and shutouts (9) while making the AHL First-All-Star Team. Prior to his professional career, Bernier played four seasons for the Lewiston MAINEiacs in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, owning a 78-63-3 record, 2.72 goals-against average, 0.908 save percentage and four shutouts in 148 games. He was named the most-valuable player of the QMJHL playoffs after helping Lewiston to a championship in 2006-07. Internationally, Bernier captured gold with Canada at the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship and also represented his country at the 2006 IIHF World Under-18 Championship and the 2011 IIHF World Championship.