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Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings Need More Cap Space to Chase Stamkos, Others



Justin Holl, Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings’ available cap space of $32.8 million is a misleading number to say the least.

It’s not enough space to do what GM Steve Yzerman would like to do. The problem: roughly $17 million of that total is will go to new deal for restricted free agents Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond. It could even end up being a bit more than that. Those players are crucial to the rebuild. The team wants to tie them up for eight seasons.

Another $4.2 million is going to Joe Veleno (RFA), Jonatan Berggren (RFA), rookies Simon Edvinsson ($894,000) and Albert Johansson ($775,000). The latter two are penciled in for next season.

That would leave Detroit with approximately $11.6 million left with five roster spots to fill. That’s not enough to bring back defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, sign a free agent such as Steven Stamkos or Jonathan Marchessault, re-sign David Perron add use two other rookies like Marco Kasper and Carter Mazur.

(The Red Wings would like to retain Patrick Kane, but his desire for a multiple year deal makes it unlikely the Red Wings will re-sign him.)

They want Gostisbehere because he provided a major boost for their power play last season, and helped their offense grow. The Red Wings, given Yzerman’s relationship with Stamkos from their days in Tampa, would appear to have a shot at recruiting him if he leaves the Lightning. If they can’t land Stamkos, Marchessault is a proven scorer. He could be an option. The Red Wings want to keep Perron because he’s a strong, positive dressing room presence and provides some scoring.

The Red Wings did increase cap space by giving up a second-round pick to move  defenseman Jake Walman.  The move didn’t sit well with many fans. Here are some other ways to increase cap space:

Trade or Buy Out Justin Holl

The most likely scenario is to trade Holl or buy out his contract. He has two years left at $3.4 million.  If the Red Wings had to give up a second-round pick to move Jake Walman, then what would it cost to move Holl? But that additional $3.4 million would give the team the flexibility to do what they want to do.

A buyout would cost $1.33 million per year for four years. That would clear about $2 million in cap space. But it would cost about $775,000 for a minimum wage player to fill the Holl roster spot.

Move Joe Veleno

With arbitration rights, Veleno could get $2 million per season. Veleno is a speedy, versatile forward who can slide up and down the lineup. The Red Wings like him.

Veleno probably could be traded more easily than other players.  The Red Wings could use the savings to help pay for a free agent.

Buy Out Andrew Copp

The Red Wings are using Copp in a defensive role and is earning $5.65 million for each of the next three seasons. Yzerman wouldn’t be able to trade him because of his salary.

His buyout is $1.9 million per season for six years. That’s hard to accept for a team that will continue to be tight on cap space for the next several years. But they would save $3.7 million this season. That could help them land Stamkos. However, it seems unlikely the Red Wings would buy out Copp.