On ‘weaponizing’ the Wings’ cap space

The Detroit Red Wings’ salary cap situation looks very good heading into 2020-2021, despite the need to re-sign restricted free agents Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi, and the Wings could very well carve out more cap space by walking away from a couple of their redundant RFA’s as well.

As Detroit is in a full rebuilding mode, it’s hard to envision someone like Torey Krug coming to Detroit, but there’s no doubt that Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman will look to improve the roster after finishing in last place in the league, and Sportsnet’s Rory Boylen believes that the Red Wings should “weaponize” their salary cap room under what will be a flat $82.5 million salary cap for at least the next two seasons:


Projected cap space: $34.6 million
Roster size: 10

The Red Wings seem a ways off from contending still, but they have a promising core to start with at least. Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha (RFA) and Tyler Bertuzzi (RFA) were their leading scorers up front and Filip Zadina was on a good scoring pace in the 28 NHL games he played. They’ll add another top-four pick this draft as well. Detroit has a lot to figure out. They need a new goalie and must rebuild the blue line, though there are promising prospects coming along there, too, namely Moritz Seider. GM Steve Yzerman likely will still take a slow and patient approach here, but if the right opportunity comes along to add something, he’ll pounce. Is it a good thing that the team he used to GM, Tampa Bay, is among those most pressed to the cap and in need of money-saving deals?

Boylen also discusses six more teams that could stand to benefit from a “flat cap” world…

And while I don’t see the Wings biting on big-money free agents, another scoring forward and top-four defenseman couldn’t hurt (the same could be said for a back-up goalie) via the second tier of free agents this fall.

Also: while the Wings have two particularly heinous contracts still on the books from the Ken Holland regime in Frans Nielsen (2 more years at $5.25 million) and Justin Abdelkader (3 more years at $4.25 million), it’s still plausible that the team could snag another “bad contract” from a cap-constrained team both this summer and the next in order to add draft picks and/or prospects to the mix. We shall see what the Yzerplan involves this summer in terms of lateral and forward-facing moves.

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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.