ESPN’s Kaplan, Wyshynski give Red Wings a solid grade for offseason moves

In an article for ESPN+, Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski dole out offseason grades for each and every one of the NHL’s 31 teams, and they give the Red Wings relatively high marks for Steve Yzerman’s aggressive offseason moves:

Smartest move: Signing Jon Merrill. The former Golden Knights defenseman was effective when given the opportunity to play and is a bargain at $825,000 for one year. This will be his eighth season in the NHL. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s as sheltered as he was in Vegas, getting the vast majority of his starts in the offensive zone, or if they use him in a larger variety of situations. Merrill is a promising pickup and an improvement over what was there.

Questionable move: Signing Thomas Greiss. If the baseline test for this signing is whether Greiss is better than Howard, then the test is already passed. But Greiss is 34 years old and coming off a down season on a great defensive team (only 4.6 goals saved above average). The money isn’t an issue — $3.6 million against the cap for a team with tons of space — but what version of Greiss did the team sign?

What’s left to do: GM Steve Yzerman has two key RFAs in forwards Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha. “I’ll have some discussions and am expecting to talk to Anthony’s agent in the coming days,” Yzerman told the Detroit News. “We’ll talk some more, and I’m confident we’ll get a deal done. And likewise with Tyler Bertuzzi. He filed for arbitration, so ultimately we know we’ll get a deal done. It might be for one year, or it might be longer. … We’ll continue to talk.” Otherwise, one assumes the Red Wings will keep an eye on any situations that could produce another weaponized use of their cap space, such as absorbing a year of Marc Staal from the Rangers with a second-round pick sweetener.

Grade: A-. This is exactly what you’d want out of Yzerman’s first proper offseason. The Red Wings are a better team than they were at the end of last season, especially on the back end. The Bobby Ryan signing could be notable if he has turned his life around. Detroit has six picks in the first three rounds of next year’s draft. Slow and steady will eventually win this race. The only bummer was that Detroit had a pathetic .275 points percentage and earned only the fourth overall pick in the lottery.

Continued (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.