Two The Athletic things: Bultman discusses the Wings’ improvement, while Mirtle talks cap crunches

Of Red Wings-related note from The Athletic this morning:

  1. The Athletic’s Max Bultman posted an article in which he attempts to discern the Red Wings’ level of offseason improvement by Game Value Score Added, and here’s the introduction to said article:

The Red Wings won 17 games last season. They had a staggering negative-122 goal differential — in a shortened season, no less. Upgrades needed to be the minimum this offseason.

To [Red Wings GM Steve] Yzerman’s credit, on paper, it looks like he did that. By bringing in Bobby Ryan, Vladislav Namestnikov, Troy Stecher, Jon Merrill and Thomas Greiss, the Red Wings added at every single position group, reflecting their many, many needs. But how much better off is Detroit, really, after those moves?

We won’t know for sure for months yet, but the best way to assess those upgrades at this stage might be to compare the new projected lineups’s Game Score Value Added (an all-encompassing player value stat created by The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn based on his Game Score model) to the alternative of making no offseason moves. Luszczyszyn already wrote last week that his model had Detroit adding 5.9 wins with its offseason moves, much of that progress via “addition by subtraction.”

Still, it’s worth diving deeper to see what that looks like in-depth, and where in the lineup those differences are most notable. So let’s start with the status quo — essentially, what the roster would have looked like had the Red Wings simply brought back last year’s group minus UFAs Jonathan Ericsson and Trevor Daley. That would have meant re-signing every RFA (though not all of them make the lineup card here), not buying out Justin Abdelkader and re-signing Jimmy Howard, since there would not have been an in-house replacement in goal otherwise.

Continued (paywall)…

2. And The Athletic’s James Mirtle penned a list of the teams in “Cap Hell,” those who are “Very Tight” to the NHL’s $81.5 million salary cap, those with “Limited Flexibility to Add,” teams with “Room to Deal,” and then the Red Wings’ category:

Flush with space

Teams (6): New Jersey, Nashville, Florida, Los Angeles, Detroit, Ottawa

Breakdown: These teams are the kingmakers. They can help the clubs struggling for space – like Tampa, the Islanders and Vegas – out. For a price.

And there are a lot of smart executives at the helm here, including Steve Yzerman, David Poile and newcomer Bill Zito.

I project the Devils to have $9 million to spend, the Predators and Panthers around $10.5 million, Kings and Red Wings $13 million and Senators with a whopping $17 million.

Not all of this money will be spent — especially in a place like Ottawa, where they’re rebuilding and not expected to get close to the cap. But these six clubs can certainly listen to offers, not only from cap-strapped clubs but also from free agents who are looking at very steep discounts in almost every other market.

Franchises like the Devils, Kings and Red Wings could greatly accelerate their rebuilds if they’re able to take on players like, say, Tyler Johnson along with adding a high draft pick or prized prospect. Or perhaps they could shock the hockey world and drop an offer sheet for a Cirelli, Sergachev, Barzal or Pulock in the coming weeks?

Continued (also via a 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.