Custance on Wings’ projected free agent contract values, saving for later

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)…

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

11 thoughts on “Custance on Wings’ projected free agent contract values, saving for later”

  1. The UFA class next year always looks better…until a bunch of these guys re-sign with their existing teams.

    Furthermore, why would Karlsson, Doughty or OEL even consider Detroit? Unless we grossly overpay, there are so many other teams that have so much more to offer…better talent, better coaching, better weather, lifestyle, a GM with a plan, etc…

    Stop relying on free agency. Try adding younger talent via trade!

    1. If you hate Detroit so much, why don’t you find another team to support and quit trolling Red Wings FAN sites?

      I’ve been reading the Malik Report for the better part of the last decade and I’ve never felt the need to call out anyone in the comment section until now.

      George, this guy is dragging you down. And at the worst time, as you branch off on your own. Keep him around at your own peril, but remember we tried to warn you…

  2. I’m hoping for short term contracts for just about everyone except maybe Larkin (depending on terms). No more of this Helm/Abs/Dekyser mega contract BS, unless you have proven you are truly elite (which none of this years free agents have proven IMO).

    1. Abbey and Helm both got 4 year bridge contracts at very reasonable prices. DDK had a 2 year at a pretty good rate. I’d say Holland is actually good at bridges though I’m sure there’s an exception (and acorn will probably point it out). AA is the only one I’m expecting to come away with a short 1-2 year contract. I would hope KH can lock up Mantha and Larkin for at least 3-4 years though I’d bet on a 3 year deal for each (like Tatar’s).

      1. The 4-year deals for Abby and Helm were team-friendly (ie low cap hits) because both were structured to expire as UFAs allowing them to cash in at that time. This wasn’t a stroke of genius by Kenny. Standard deals. Very different than say Tatar’s 3-year deal that expired with him still as an RFA. So you could extend Larkin up to his UFA year at a pretty reasonable rate. But if you go longer to include UFA years then you have to pay up for that.

  3. It’s just plain true that few it any of the really big names make it to UFA anymore.

    Stamkos almost sort of making that far appears to have
    been our plan A – in spite of him not even showing interest
    in return.

    The Winged Wheel is magical to me. I can’t think of any team I’d rather play for. Sadly no one is asking me. If you are a truly top UFA still in your prime, why would you want to go to an organization you have no particular ties to or personal history rooting for, when everyone else is offering the same money or maybe better, and a more competitive “now” team? That’s not a knock on Detroit at all.

    Some guys will love the tradition and reputation for team loyalty.
    But it helps if you feel like you’re joining a group that is close to winning or is really beginning to take off. We’re a ways off from that. And we’re far enough away that adding one player like that is not going to get this Wings team anywhere they need to go – not to the playoffs and not high in the draft.

    We are where we are. I hope Holland doesn’t compound it with more bad signings of vets and instead we keep adding promising young players and picks. Sooner or later we will hit big. Then, maybe a big ticket UFA will be worth the cost and commitment.

    1. No single UFA signing this season will turn Detroit around and into a playoff team. And, the Wings don’t have the cap space to sign all the best UFAs and Larkin and Mantha and AA this summer. No UFA would really want to come to this team in the state the Wings are in unless there’s something more on the table then just a contract. I think that’s kind of what you are saying too with “tradition and reputation”.

      I doubt KH holland sniffs at the UFA market. He’s openly said this is a rebuild now when in the past he had been saying during the season they have a chance to make the playoffs and are just a few pieces away from turning that corner.

      I know fans will point to KH’s previous actions as evidence of him going after UFAs but that’s when he was openly feeling the team had a legit shot at the playoffs. Now he’s talking another tune and I think we can point to that distinction as hope for some other changes in his actions. Of course, we will have to wait and see when it’s UFA signing time.

        1. Actions speak louder than words….but I don’t expect you to understand that.

          Come back here when Green is actually signed.

  4. “We are where we are. I hope Holland doesn’t compound it with more bad signings of vets and instead we keep adding promising young players and picks. Sooner or later we will hit big. Then, maybe a big ticket UFA will be worth the cost and commitment.”


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