2016 Free Agency Day One Recap / Notes

Oh man, midway through the afternoon today, I was thinking that when I got around to writing this post, I’d start at the beginning.  Given how the day ended, though, how do you not skip straight to Steve Ott?

After a series of signings that were, if not smart, at least acceptable, the Red Wings went out and chased the mythical fourth-line grit that will supposedly put their team over the top and signed Steve Ott away from the St. Louis Blues.

I hate chasing veteran grit when Tyler Bertuzzi is waiting in the wings and I don’t like Ott as a player.  I’ll let Winging it in Motown’s J.J. from Kansas say it.

Ott’s value is entirely contained within intangibles in which I don’t necessarily believe.

The good news is that he signed for $800,000 on a one-year deal, which can be buried in Grand Rapids if needed.


The day had started with the Wings bringing back Darren Helm.  Five years is too long but $3.85 million is a hometown discount.  Especially with the other signings, I don’t think Helm needed to come back.  I don’t love this deal.


Restricted free agent Alexey Marchenko signed a bridge deal for two years at $1.45 million per year.  It a great deal.  A significant raise from the $666,666 AAV he had in his previous contract but not the ridiculous money previous RFA defensemen have gotten in Detroit.


Frans Neilsen‘s signing was the Plan B the Wings had to resort to when Steven Stamkos opted not to test free agency.  Six years for a 32-year-old is pretty brutal.  $5.25 million is probably high, too, but not as bad.  I’d rather have had three years at $6 million each than this deal.  But, as I said last night, someone was going to give him that term.


I like the signing of Thomas Vanek to a one-year, $2.6 million deal.  The Wings have the cap space, so worst-case scenario they pay him too much this year and then just walk away from him.  It’s an overpayment if he only does what he did last year but this Wings team could use what he did last year, let alone any improvement.


At 11:59 AM, I wasn’t happy.  By 4:15 PM, I was pretty content with what the Wings had done.  By 4:45 PM I was outright pissed off.

There’s still a lot to fall out here.  I think the Vanek signing means that one of Gustav Nyquist or Tomas Tatar is gone in trade for a defenseman.  This team has far too many forwards and not enough blueliners, so we know the lineup as it is now just can’t be the opening night lineup.  I’m willing to hold off on judging too much until we see how it all falls out.

Except for the Ott signing.  That’s a joke.


Lost in all the signings for the big club were three two-way deals for guys headed to the Griffins.  Forwards Matt Lorito and Ben Street and goalie Edward Pasquale.

There’s a lot of change coming to Grand Rapids this year.  Andy Miele signed in Philadelphia and captain Jeff Hoggan won’t return.  Some guys with AHL experience will help fill the holes.

Wings Go Searching for “Grit” and Sign Steve Ott

Well, the beat writers have been talking about the Wings looking for some fourth-line grit all week, and it looked like we had all dodged a bullet when Matt Martin signed in Toronto, but no…

There is one small bit of good news.

That salary can be buried in its entirety in the AHL should the Wings snap out of it and decide to punt this jackass down to the Griffins to hang out with Daniel Cleary.

Wings Add Forward Vanek

In something of a surprise move, the Red Wings added a second forward on Friday, signing Thomas Vanek to a one-year deal.

Per Gord Miller of TSN, Vanek is set to make $2.6 million for the season.

I half-like the move. The cap hit is friendly. The term is perfect. It’s a lot like the Brad Richards deal last year. The problem is the roster crunch at forward, but clearly the Wings are trying to swing a trade to fix their blueline so who knows what forward(s) they’ll have to give up.

Vanek spent the last two seasons with the Minnesota Wild and was bought out this week.  In 817 career NHL games with Buffalo, the New York Islanders, Montreal, and Minnesota, Vanek has 316 goals and 333 assists.

According to his agent, Vanek expects to see time on the Red Wings’ power play.

Red Wings Sign Nielsen

The Detroit Red Wings have announced the signing of center Frans Nielsen to a six-year contract.

Per Aaron Ward, who has been on top of all things Detroit this morning, the deal carries a $5.25 million salary cap it.

I don’t love the term.  The money is about what I expected.  Now it’s time for Holland to not do anything else.

Nielsen, 32, has spent his entire career with the New York Islanders.  In 606 career games he has 119 goals and 230 assists.

Red Wings Re-Up Marchenko

Aaron Ward broke his second Detroit signing of the day, revealing that the Red Wings have signed would-be restricted free agent Alexey Marchenko to an extension.

Ansar Khan of MLive, who still has me blocked on Twitter so I can’t embed his Tweet, says the new deal is for two years and carries a salary cap hit of $1.45 million.

Ward: Wings Bring Back Helm

Per former Red Wing and current analyst Aaron Ward, the Red Wings have brought back forward Darren Helm.

He took a hometown discount so the AAV isn’t bad but I don’t like the signing in general.  Bringing back another bottom-six center who’s a stretch as a second-line winger doesn’t help the team.  It doesn’t matter that the term is terrible, the contract shouldn’t exist at all.