In Red Wings Land
Not necessarily the Red Wings’ unrestricted free agents. Those decisions appear clear-cut at this point.
But the restricted free agents – the young players who have completed their entry-level contracts but don’t have enough NHL service time to be unrestricted – will give Yzerman plenty to think about.
I don’t think the decision is too tough for a majority of these guys because while Kulfan is right that some haven’t exactly shined, the Wings have 23 player contract slots open going into next season and RFAs have intrinsic value. I don’t think we’re looking at Detroit signing a combination of 11 free agents/draft picks whose ELCs won’t slide, so I don’t think there are many tough calls. Kyle Wood is whatever. You might cut Perlini, Ehn, Turgeon or Erne loose, but even if those guys get beaten out for spots heading into next season, there’s a decent shot that they clear waivers and can help the Griffins.
Around the League
Detroit isn’t listed here and it makes sense that they wouldn’t be, because why would he want to come here, but there’s a lot of additional context on the idea of Byfuglien’s health that covers some of the gaps in the conversation we had the last time we discussed the idea of signing the new free agent-to-be.
But at 35 years old, with a recent injury significant enough to require surgery, and an entire season of games lost, it’s also reasonable to ponder what version of Byfuglien any prospective team would be getting. Would he return as the game-changing, do-everything defenceman? Or would he be a lesser version of that?