Detroit Red Wings Offseason News Catchup
Just so we're all on the same page.
The calendar turned to August yesterday, meaning that we've embarked on the month known as hockey hell. If news seemed to slow to a crawl by mid-July, expect it to move at glacial pace until training camp starts.
So, with a month to kill before we wait for something new and interesting to develop in Detroit Red Wings land (and possibly the entire NHL), let's take a moment to go over some of the Red Wings' offseason developments.
Out with the Old
A season-long saga came to an end when former head coach Mike Babcock opted to leave the Red Wings instead of sign a multi-year extension. After not signing an extension last offseason, Babcock refused to address it while games were being played to minimize distractions. That didn't stop the news cycle, of course, but pen wouldn't be put to paper until this offseason when Babcock saw the Toronto Maple Leafs on the other dotted line.
In with the New
There was some uncertainty over who the next Red Wings head coach would be, if only because until Jeff Blashill signed that contract, anything could happen. But it seemed pretty evident that the job was Blashill's if he wanted it, and the timing only happened the way it did so the Griffins could finish their playoff run in peace. Other candidates were nominally mentioned because everyone, including general manager Ken Holland, should always do their due diligence, but not only did Blashill seem destined for the job when Babcock left, he also was the perfect man for the job at the right time in the franchise's history.
Stephen Weiss Bought Out
The Stephen Weiss experiment had an unfortunate beginning, middle, and end, so Holland decided to pull the plug. That'll saddle the Red Wings with a cap penalty for the next six seasons, but considering where the cap is at the moment, that shouldn't be too much of an issue, even for the 2017-18 season when the buyout hit is at its worst.
Shiny, Shiny Prospects
Despite not having a second-round pick, the Red Wings still managed to draft some quality talent in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Evgeny Svechnikov and Vili Saarijarvi headline the class at the moment, and seventh-rounder Adam Marsh could be another late-round steal based on projected draft position versus actual selection (and, of course, the "being a productive NHLer" part too).
Perfection and His Roommate Called to the Hall
In their first year of eligibility, defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom and forward Sergei Fedorov were selected for the 2015 induction class to the Hockey Hall of Fame. The honors were very well deserved after a career of perfection on the blue line from Lidstrom and of explosive offense combined with a productive longevity from Fedorov.
Pleasant Free Agent Surprises
I'll admit to talking myself into the Red Wings standing pat during free agency, but seeing the kind of contracts Holland offered to Mike Green and Brad Richards made me do a complete 180 degrees from that initial stance. Green got three years for $6 million per, and Richards for $3 million on a one-year. The deals are great for flexibility since the Red Wings aren't tethered to either player long-term.
The Goose Is Loose Signed
One of Detroit's top goal-scorers will be doing just that for the next four years, as the Red Wings re-signed Gustav Nyquist to a four-year deal worth $19 million in total — $4.75 million AAV. After being on an absolute steal of a contract, now Nyquist is getting the payday he deserves and will also hopefully continue to earn as he plays out the next four years.
No Magic Until Thanksgiving?
One of the less pleasant stories of the offseason is something we knew, or at least suspected very strongly, before we actually heard the news from Pavel Datsyuk himself that he would be out until around November. This will be the second season in a row Datsyuk won't start the season on time.
RFAs Taken Care of
Both of these re-signings were 99 percent more a matter of when rather than if, but Holland took care of all the important business before August when he re-signed Teemu Pulkkinen and Tomas Jurco to deals that will keep them as RFAs at the end of their new contracts. Both clocked in at under $1 million each in cap hit, so while the roster is currently experiencing logjams at each skater position, their cheap contracts give Detroit plenty of cap flexibility.
Miss You, Mule
Less an offseason development and more an undercurrent of any roster projection at the moment, updates on forward Johan Franzen have yet to come out about his status for next season. If the reader response to Kyle's post on Franzen earlier this offseason is any indication, the prevailing sentiment seems to be that he should hang up the skates. At the very least, it's encouraging to see he hasn't lost his sense of humor.
This should get everyone all caught up on Red Wings developments so far this offseason. If there's anything we missed, feel free to catch us up in the comments below. And as previously mentioned, because there are just too many bodies at forward and defense at the moment, more roster moves have to be coming before the start of the regular season.