The Athletic’s Craig Custance projects the probable contract values for the Wings’ restricted free agents (Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi, Martin Frk, Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha) and probable unrestricted free agent re-signing in Mike Green.
As you might expect, Custance estimates that re-signing all the RFA’s, Green and a back-up goaltender would suck up the Wings’ cap space, and he suggests that the Wings need to keep an eye open toward next summer’s free agent class, too:
Larkin’s contract is the most important deal in terms of Detroit’s long-range plans. There is a lot of positive momentum with Larkin, from his strong regular season to an important role on Jeff Blashill’s bronze-medal-winning U.S. team at Worlds. The last thing you’d think either side would want is a lengthy contract negotiation or potential holdout. In the short term, the Green contract will help determine just how much of a player the Red Wings are in free agency this summer. Whether they’re a cap team will come down to who is available in free agency this year.
More importantly, the Red Wings want to be a serious player in the 2019 free-agency market (Drew Doughty, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Erik Karlsson, etc.) so they also have to be careful not to do anything here that ties them up. Gustav Nyquist’s and Niklas Kronwall’s contracts both expire after next season, which opens up about $9.5 million in cap space to take a run at one of the big defensemen in 2019. Next summer is where the real free-agent action may take place for the Red Wings.
Custance continues (paywall)…