Updated: 11:19 a.m. The Detroit Red Wings have followed an extremely busy Wednesday with a Thursday morning announcement of signing Mark Pysyk.
Few were sure what Steve Yzerman would do and after three seasons of quieter moves, Yzerman spent at the tune of a cap hit of $20.75 million dollars. That includes Pysyk’s deal for $850,000.
Of course there were the big signings like Andrew Copp (5 years, $5.65M AAV), David Perron (2 years, $4.75M AAV), Ben Chiarot (4 years, $4.75M AAV), Dominik Kubalik 2 years, $2.50M AAV) and Olli Määttä (1 year, $2.25M AAV).
But there were other depth moves, and roster players who are now “former” Red Wings.
Here’s a look at some other signings that may have been off the radar:
Austin Czarnik was offered a two-way deal, likely to spend most of that contract in Grand Rapids. Czarnik spent last season with the Seattle Kraken and then more time with the Bridgeport Islanders of the AHL. Czarnik has played 142 games in the NHL with Calgary, Boston, and the New York Islanders. Czarnik is also a native of MIchigan.
The 25-year-old right wing has played 87 games between the Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators. He had 31 points in 30 games with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL while posting six points (3-3) with the Predators in 23 games during the 2021-22 season.
The 30-year-old defenseman was inked to a one-year, $850,000 deal. Pysyk played 68 games last season for Buffalo and is a long time veteran with 521 games to his name. The right-hand shot now overcrowds an already saturated defensive corps, adding more credence to the speculation that Yzerman has more moves to trim numbers.
Marco Kasper Inks His Entry-Level Deal Before Free Agency Opens
The eighth overall pick of the 2022 NHL Draft didn’t waste much time putting pen to paper, signing his entry-level deal hours before free agency opened. This would have been the big news of the day until Yzerman signed one veteran after another. Kasper is presumed to spend next year with Rögle BK.
Everything Was Coming Up Red Wings During Free Agency
Many analysts thoughts summed up in a Tweet:
NHL 2022 free agency in one tweet: pic.twitter.com/mmrpfSRMo4
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) July 13, 2022
Yzerman surely made a splash but it was hardly reckless spending. There will be dissenting opinions of course, as some disagreed with the dollars and term given to Chiarot.
But as has been the running theme for the Red Wings since Yzerman took over, there’s a specific reason he goes after specific players. Other teams within the conference have grown stronger, no more than Ottawa. Johnny Geaudreau signed with Columbus, putting a little power in the Eastern Conference.
But Yzerman addressed the desperate needs of the team–shoring up at center, and giving the special teams a boost with the acquisitions. Detroit, it seems, will also not shy away from a skirmish with some of the muscle it added.
Things will look quite different in Hockeytown–from the coaching staff right down to the roster.
It’s likely Yzerman isn’t done, whether by more signings or trade.
But things are certainly more interesting–and exciting for fans–than they were 24 hours ago.