ZADS: Red Wings Free Agent Targets

by Chris Zadorozny (@Zads07)

Now that the playoffs are nearly over, it’s time to look into the free agent targets the Red Wings could look into this offseason. On July 5, free agency opens, and there should be a nice outline of what the Red Wings will need to look into by then.

To start off, they recently resigned fourth liner and penalty killer Drew Miller to a three-year extension worth $1.35 million per year. It’s a great move, despite the young talent still brewing in Grand Rapids. Miller provides a veteran presence on the fourth line with some excellent penalty killing skills.

With Miller under contract, the Red Wings have about $10.6 million in cap space to spend, and that doesn’t even include the possible buyouts of up to two players.

Among the free agents for Detroit heading into July 5 include six restricted free agents (RFA) and seven unrestricted free agents (UFA).

Among the six RFA’s include forwards Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist, and Brent Raedeke, defensemen Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith and goaltender Thomas McCollum. Forwards Valterri Filppula, Daniel Cleary, Damien Brunner, Francis Pare, Jan Mursak, along with defenseman Ian White and goaltender Jordan Pearce are the unrestricted free agents.

Automatically gone from this list are White and Mursak. White will leave because of the logjam on the backend. He saw no playing time in the playoffs and played in the least amount of games since his rookie season. Mursak will sign with KHL team, Amur Khaborvsk, according to Peter Wallner of MLive.

Filppula will probably leave as he is asking more than $5 million per season according to Ansar Khan of MLive. Brunner could leave too as he is asking about $2-3 million per season, a bit more than the Red Wings want to pay him, says Khan.

If the Red Wings lose out on both Filppula and Brunner, it will really hurt their top lines, although young talent could fill in. It will be imperative that the Red Wings sign Nyquist, Andersson, Kindl and Smith. Cleary and Pearce are also high on the list but the others could go.

With the above players mentioned to be re-signed (no Brunner), here’s what the lineup could look like.

Offense

Abdelkader-Zetterberg-Cleary
Franzen-Datsyuk-Bertuzzi
Nyquist-Andersson-Emmerton
Miller-Helm-Eaves
Tootoo, Samuelsson

Defense

Kronwall-Ericsson
Kindl-DeKeyser
Smith-Quincey
Colaiacovo, Lashoff

Goaltending

Howard
Gustavsson

 

Here are some players the Red Wings could target in free agency.

Forwards

  • Bryan Bickell (Chicago Blackhawks, Left Wing)

He is a top-six forward, something they will sorely need if they lose both Filppula and Brunner. He’s going to want a huge upgrade on his $500,000 contract though.

  • Nathan Horton (Boston Bruins, Right Wing)

He’s 28 and had over 20 goals in six of his eight seasons in the NHL, one being injured and the other being this season, only 48 games. His only flaw is injuries.

  • Jarome Iginla (Pittsburgh Penguins, Right Wing)

He didn’t have the Red Wings on the trade-to list during the deadline, so it’s not probable he would come to Hockeytown, but crazier things have happened.

  • Derek Roy (Vancouver Canucks, Center)

Only 30, Roy could become the second line center they really need when Filppula departs.

  • Clarke MacArthur (Toronto Maple Leafs, Left Wing)

MacArthur is only 28 and he’s been a 20-goal scorer twice for a young Maple Leafs team in two years.

  • Nik Antropov (Winnipeg Jets, Center)

The 33-year old could be looking for a change of scenery, but his $4 million cap hit might look for an upgrade as well.

 

Defensemen

  • Ryan Whitney (Edmonton Oilers)

The 30-year old could provide some veteran presence and scoring ability to a young defensive core.

  • Ron Hainsey (Winnipeg Jets)

He is a steady defenseman, but hasn’t scored in two years, something the Red Wings could be scared away by.

  • Wade Redden (Boston Bruins)

He’s 36 years old, so it wouldn’t be long term, but he’d be a great mentor for DeKeyser.

There’s not much in the free agent market this year, so the Red Wings could opt for the trade market. Currently, they are looking at Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss. He’s been in the league 10 years, and it’s believed that he is trying to work out an extension with the Panthers, but teams such as the Red Wings, Dallas Stars and Toronto Maple Leafs are believed to be interested in him according to Elliotte Friedman of CBC.

If I were to make the moves for the Red Wings, I’d let both Filppula and Brunner walk for more money. I’d re-sign Cleary, Kindl, Smith, Nyquist, Andersson, McCollum and Pearce.

I’d buyout both Samuelsson and Bertuzzi, as both are old and would provide $5 million in cap space. Samuelsson was injured all of this past year as was Bertuzzi. I’d sign Horton, MacArthur and Redden in the free agent market, but that’s it.

To read the original post that appeared on Sports Radio Detroit on June 18, 2013, go to www.sportsradiodetroit.com

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