The Detroit Red Wings move out of the silly season and back to the real world Saturday when they submit their NHL Expansion Draft protected list by the 5 p.m. deadline.
General manager Steve Yzerman has been rather quiet thus far in the offseason, although it’s believed he’s been negotiating with potential free agents Luke Glendening, Marc Staal and Jonathan Bernier.
Reports have linked the Red Wings to possibly moving Tyler Bertuzzi, but a source with knowledge of the situation said it’s “not happening.” Anybody can be traded for the right offer, but the source said the Bertuzzi rumors were media speculation gone awry. The Red Wings never had any intention of moving Bertuzzi.
Red Wings Protected List Projection
The Red Wings’ protected list will included seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie. First- and second-year professionals don’t have to be protected. Even though Zadina has played parts of three seasons with Detroit, he is still exempt because he only played nine games his first season. The 10th game burns a year on your entry level contract.
Here is a projection of the likely protected players:
Forwards: Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Jakub Vrana, Robbie Fabbri, Givani Smith, Michael Rasmussen and Adam Erne
Defensemen: Filip Hronek, Gustav Lindstrom and Dennis Cholowski
Goalie: Thomas Greiss
The Kraken will be allowed to take one player from each NHL team except the Vegas Golden Knights. Here are players the Kraken are likely to be considering: Left wing Evgeny Svechnikov, defenseman Troy Stecher, center Vladislav Namestnikov and minor leaguer Chase Pearson.
The Calm Before the Storm
A trade freeze starts at 3 p.m. Saturday and continues until 1 p.m. Thursday, the day before the start of the NHL draft. The lifting of the trade ban could be like the starter’s gun for the Red Wings. Several teams are looking to clear cap space, and some of those deals could come before the draft.
Depending upon what happens in the Staal negotiation and expansion draft, the Red Wings could be looking for two or three veteran defensemen. One of them could come in a trade that includes the Red Wings receiving an asset for taking the player, similar to what the Red Wings did with Staal last season.
The free agent signing period starts on July 28, and the Red Wings aren’t expected to make a major splash. Even if they wanted to make a run at one of the top free agents, they probably wouldn’t make much headway because UFAs are generally looking to play for a quality team. The Red Wings will be looking for defenseman who can be signed for one year and moved at the trade deadline for a draft pick or prospect. The Red Wings will also be looking for another scorer.
Unless the Red Wings re-sign Bernier, they will be looking for a veteran goalie and could select two goalies in the draft. Some mock drafts have them taking the top-rated goalie Jesper Wallstedt from the Swedish Elite League. Detroit Hockey Now projects the Red Wings taking Sebastian Cossa with their No. 22 draft pick.