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Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings Won’t Have Cap Space When Dealing Is Done



Moritz Seider, Red Wings shows Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman with $28.8 million in cap space remaining. But that amount will evaporate quickly as he begins to sign his players he wants to keep.

Yzerman has 13 returning players under contract. He has five restricted free agents, including Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond who will receive the majority of his cap space if they want long-term contracts. Other restricted free agents in the plans for next season are Jonatan Berggren, Albert Johansson and Joe Veleno. Berggren and Johansson won’t be waiver exempt in 2024-25, meaning they can’t be sent to Grand Rapids without passing through the waiver process.

“We have to make room for them and it’ll be up to them as individuals to earn that spot, whatever spot in the lineup they can. I wouldn’t rule out anybody, pick a name in GR,” Yzerman said. “I don’t want to say definitely they won’t be here because they’re winding down their season and hopefully are going to have a good playoff run and things can change over the course of a long playoff run and we could potentially see more players pushing for a spot on the roster.”

Berggren and Johansson both will sign in the $1 million range. Those deals would take Yzerman’s available space down to $26.8 million.

“Sooner or later, I’ll get a rough idea of how much money we’re going to have because we’re getting close to the cap,” Yzerman said. “I got to really start to think about the cap now. So some decisions might simply be based on our cap situation.

Veleno is trickier to forecast because he has arbitration rights. He had 12 goals and 28 points, and he has moved up and down Detroit’s lines. He is versatile role player. The comparison for Veleno is Chicago’s Philipp Kurashev who was awarded $2.2 million through arbitration last summer after producing nine goals and 25 points.

Arbitration Right Helps Veleno

The Blackhawks offered Kurashev $1.4 million per season on a two-year deal and the player asked for $2.65 million on a one-year deal. The arbitrator was closer to the player’s request. He did give the team the two-year deal.

Based on that decision, it seems as if Veleno’s arbitration rights will assure him a deal in the $2 million range.

Let’s go $2.1 million per season for Veleno on a two-year deal. That would put the Red Wings at $24.7 million with seven players left to sign.

It’s impossible to know where negotiations will take either Seider and Raymond with regard to term and dollar amount. If Seider is willing to accept a long-term deal, there are No. 1 defenseman contract comparisons out there suggesting he’s worth more than $9 million per season on an eight-year deal. His agent could make that case.

But the best Seider comparisons are Ottawa’s Jake Sanderson (eight years, $8.05 million) and Buffalo’s Owen Power (seven years, $8.35 million), although Seider’s impact is more established than Sanderson’s and Power’s. Lucas Raymond’s best comparisons are Ottawa’s Tim Stutzle (eight years, $8.35 million per season) and Montreal’s Cole Caufield (eight years, $7.85 million per season).

Larkin the Ceiling?

We can guess Yzerman will not want to pay Seider or Raymond more than his captain Dylan Larkin. He’s making $8.7 million per season.

Let’s put both Raymond and Seider signing at $8.1 million and $8.3 million per season, respectively, on eight-year deals. Completing those deals at that price would leave Yzerman $8.3 million with five players left to sign.

Christian Fischer should be one of those five because he is strong on the forecheck, plays hard on every shift. Coaches respect his game. Give him a small raise to $1.2 million. That would leave Yzerman $7.1 million with four players left to sign for a 23-person. Another roster spot will go to Simon Edvinsson who is an entry level cap hit of $894,000. Now, Detroit has $6.2 million for three players.

Without any other changes to the roster, the Red Wings could probably afford to bid on Patrick Kane or Shayne Gostisbehere, but not both. There would be no room for David Perron or Daniel Sprong.

But Yzerman may be able to open up cap space by making a trade or two. He undoubtedly would like to move Justin Holl’s $3.5 million cap hit. It’s questionable if he can do that. Would he be willing to retain some salary? Would he add a draft pick? Holl has some desirability in the right deal.

“I don’t really foresee anything dramatic,” Yzerman said. “I guess we could debate what would be dramatic.”

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Trade Could Open Space

Yzerman has to move a defenseman if he wants to re-sign Gostisbehere. If they keep Gostisbehere, and then add Edvinsson and Johansson, the Red Wings would have nine defensemen.

Moving Holl’s salary would give them $9.7 million for three players.  That would leave Detroit with the ability to offer both Kane and Gostisbehere $4.35 million each and have $1 million left for the 23rd player. It could be Marco Kasper, or a veteran role player they add. Let’s also note that Kane had many positive comments about his time in Detroit, but he also made it clear that he was going to explore the market.  According to sources around the league, Kane would be justified to ask for $5 million-plus.

Gostisbehere is also coming off a strong offensive season and he could have several options.

If they don’t land either of those two players, they could re-sign Perron and then add some toughness. Of course, all of it changes as well if Seider and Raymond want a shorter term deal to give them a chance to see how much the cap grows in the near future. On a four-year deal,  Seider might be at $6.75 million for four years and Raymond would be at $6.5. Those deals would give Yzerman a little more cap space to use.

Plus, Yzerman has a history of making moves that were unanticipated. He could move another defenseman, such as Olli Maatta, or he could move a forward in a hockey trade. All we know for sure is that next year’s team won’t look like this season’s team.