The Free Press’s Helene St. James asks five questions regarding the Red Wings’ 2020-2021 season this morning. Three questions have to do with the timing and structure of the upcoming season; one has to do with Patrick Marleau chasing Gordie Howe’s games-played record; and the final two questions seem most pertinent at this time:
When will training camp be?
Based on recent interviews with Yzerman, it does sound like the NHL and NHLPA will come up with a scenario in which the seven non-playoff teams (the Wings, Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres) will start before the 24 teams that were part of the bubbles in Edmonton and Toronto. That still wouldn’t be until maybe early December, at which point those teams will have not have played in roughly nine months.
As explained last night by The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun and the San Jose Mercury News’s Curtis Pashelka, it appears that the NHL will indeed give the Red Wings and six other non-bubble-hockey teams more time to ramp up their level of play before training camps start, but what form this extra time will take is uncertain…
And St. James’ final question involves the shape of the Wings’ roster to come:
What’s Yzerman up to now?
He’s had a busy October, drafting a dozen players and then signing unrestricted free agents Bobby Ryan, Vladislav Namestnikov, Jon Merrill, Troy Stecher and Thomas Greiss. Yzerman still has his two biggest restricted free agents to get under contract in forwards Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi. Bertuzzi filed for arbitration, so that contract will get done one way or another (the sides can continue to negotiate even if they’re before the arbitrator). Bertuzzi’s arbitration date is Sunday. He’s coming off a two-year, $2.8 million contract and, with two straight 21-goal seasons, is likely to come in in the $4.5-5 million range.
Mantha is coming off a two-year, $6.6 million deal. He scored 16 goals last season, limited to 43 games because of injuries (that extrapolates to 30 goals over an 82-game season). He may want a one-year deal to try to increase his value, but there’s much to be said for longer-term job security. Expect him to come in around the $5 million mark.