The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn penned a column which discusses the contractual values of each and every one of the NHL’s 30 teams, post-free agency, and while I can’t post his entire set of comments regarding the Red Wings, Dom suggests that the Red Wings have made significant gains in the “less bad” department:
16. Detroit Red Wings
Last year: 31st
No team had a bigger year-over-year glow up than the Red Wings, who ranked dead last the previous season, but come in at 16th this time around. It’s a monumental leap. The big difference is how much the team is paying per win, going from one of the league’s worst to one of the best at third overall. That’s thanks mostly to most of the roster being on very short term deals, but also trimming a lot of negative value off the roster. The biggest subtraction is Justin Abdelkader, owner of one of the league’s worst contracts who was mercifully bought out this offseason. With Jonathan Ericsson’s deal expiring and Darren Helm only having one year left, only Frans Nielsen has a contract in the “D” range compared to the four the Red Wings had last season. One of the ugliest salary cap pictures is finally clearing up.
This is still a bad team filled with players unlikely to live up to their deals, but the short commitments make things much more palatable. That’s especially true for new additions Bobby Ryan, Jon Merrill and Troy Stecher, who all bring positive value.
The biggest pluses are the two newest deals for Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi. RFA deals usually come in below market price and the team got a great deal for both, especially Mantha, whose deal instantly becomes one of the league’s best. Those contracts were enough to push Detroit up a few spots in these rankings.