WDIV’s David Bartkowiak Jr. filed his weekly “Dear Red Wings” column this morning, discussing the Red Wings’ free agency moves, and both Bartkowiak and I would like to see the Wings “ride lean” this season:
We knew Wednesday was going to be the start of a wild NHL free agency period. It’s ongoing as I write this Friday morning. So far, Yzerman has been relatively conservative in his approach. He has improved the Red Wings roster, no doubt, but he still has $31 million in cap space. He has so many options. He does have key restricted free agents to deal with, too. There is no reason to think the Red Wings won’t sign RFAs Bertuzzi, Adam Erne, Jakub Vrana and Filip Hronek. The question is how much cap space do all of these contracts actually eat up? And for how long?
Personally, I’d love to see this team go into the 2021-22 season with a relatively wide amount of cap space still. Keep some options open for now. I don’t think there is any reason to dish out huge contracts yet. I want to see the young players try to form a solid core in Detroit. I want to see who can crack the lineup, who can prove his value and who wants to earn a new contract. There are a select few Red Wings under contract beyond 2022.
At this point, the move to get goalie Alex Nedeljkovic is the biggest of the Red Wings offseason.
Continued; with six restricted free agents to re-sign, the Wings won’t have $31 million in cap space, but once Bertuzzi, Hronek, Vrana, Erne, Smith and Pearson re-signed, the Wings should still have a fair amount of cap space to bank away for a rainy day, and in this “flat cap” world (at least for a couple more years), that’s smart management.