Filip Zadina wanted a fresh start badly enough that he is willing to give up $4.56 million to get it.
The Red Wings placed Zadina on unconditional waivers Thursday for the purpose of terminating his contract by mutual consent. He has two seasons remaining on a deal that would have paid him $1.83 million in 2023-24 and $2.73 million in 2023-24.
Zadina’s $1.825 salary cap hit comes off the Red Wings’ books. That pushes their projected salary cap surplus to $11.699 million for this season.
I don't totally understand this from Zadina's perspective. Things haven't gone his way in Detroit (largely on him but a lot of bad luck, too) but he had 2 more years under contract and $4.56 million in salary.
— Ryan Hana (@RyanHanaWWP) July 6, 2023
Through his agent, Zadina had asked GM Steve Yzerman to trade him, preferably to a team that would give him an expanded opportunity. Yzerman could not work out a trade. Yzerman then put Zadina on waivers and the NHL’s other 31 teams passed on him.
By terminating his contract, Zadina becomes a UFA, free to sign with any team, even for the NHL minimum. Zadina is clearly betting on himself to blossom into an NHL scorer.
Red Wings Can Use Zadina Cap Space
The Red Wings drafted him No. 6 overall in 2018 believing he could develop into an elite scorer. He has never lived up to that expectation in a career that has been plagued by injury. He netted 10 goals in his best season 2021-22. Zadina has 28 goals in 190 NHL games.
The increase in Detroit’s salary cap space is meaningful because the Red Wing still need to re-sign Joe Veleno. Plus, the Red Wings are engaged in trade discussion with the Ottawa Senators about Michigan native Alex DeBrincat.
The Red Wings won’t make the deal unless they can sign DeBrincat who wants a deal similar to what forward Timo Meier received from the New Jersey Devils. He received an eight-year deal for $70 million. That’s an average of $8.8 million per season. That is undoubtedly more than Yzerman will want to pay.