The Athletic’s Max Bultman discusses the Red Wings’ contractual obligations as they apply to the 2020 free agent period today, looking a year ahead and examining what should be an in-flux Wings roster:
The most striking thing about the Red Wings’ cap sheet a year out is the mass exodus coming on defense. Three veteran defensemen (Mike Green, Trevor Daley and Jonathan Ericsson) are entering their final season under contract, so money and space will be freed up. Contrast that with the forward group, where not a single player under contract as of now will be an unrestricted free agent next July.
Detroit will have three high-profile restricted free agents in Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Bertuzzi, but all three are core pieces in the team’s rebuild, so none is likely to be going anywhere (barring an unexpected trade, or, *gasp* an offer sheet). Their situation could, however, affect the Red Wings’ plans significantly depending on the team’s comfort level with going into an open market with so much talent up in the air. Maybe they’re all signed before July, or maybe, like so many RFAs right now, they’re not. But as of now, all three would figure to have at least some incentive to back up their breakout seasons in 2018 in order to bolster their RFA positions in 2020. How long the negotiations take after that remains to be seen.
Detroit won’t, however, be crunched in a way even remotely resembling some of the notable RFA-heavy teams this offseason.