Red Wings Announce New Jersey Numbers

The Red Wings announced new jersey numbers for some of their players via social media on Tuesday afternoon.

I had attempted to predict some of these and, as I noted on Twitter, I was very wrong.

My thoughts (some of which I’ve already Tweeted), in no particular order…

David Perron getting #57 is no surprise.  It was available, it’s clearly his preferred number, there’s a match there.

Same thing with Ville Husso and #35, though there could have been question as to whether the team would hold that number out of circulation for Jimmy Howard (I didn’t expect that).

I had expected Lucas Raymond to switch to #18, which has been his preferred number to this point, with Marc Staal having departed.  Maybe I shouldn’t have.  It has become exceedingly rare for players to switch numbers after debuting for Detroit.  No matter how many times I heard that Tomas Tatar was on the verge of switching to #90 or Justin Abdelkader was going to move to #89, it never happened.  Taro Hirose switched from #53 to #67 to #25 but before that we might be going back to Joakim Andersson switching from #63 to…  #18.

With Raymond not taking #18, it was available for Andrew Copp, Dominik Kubalik, and Robert Haag.  Copp got it, which makes sense as the longer-term signing, and Kubalik inverted it to #81 with Haag taking the next available number that ended with an 8 in #38.

Olli Maatta didn’t get his usual #3, instead going with #2.  Simon Edvinsson has been assigned #3 but I’d figured the Wings would never block Maatta from taking it, especially since Edvinsson seems to be more tied to #7 (though, as @hwcJay noted and I completely missed, Edvinsson did wear #3 earlier in his career).  Maybe Maatta chose #2, maybe he wasn’t allowed to have #3, I don’t know.

I’d expected Mark Pysyk to take #23 (with Raymond having moved on to #18) as his usual #13 is unavailable.  With #23 still in use and following the same logic as applied to Haag, Pysyk goes from #13 to #43.

The biggest surprise, to me, was Jake Walman giving up #8 to Ben Chiarot and switching to #96.  Chiarot had worn #8 with Montreal and Florida but had #7 after breaking through with the Jets and seemed more tied to that number early in his career.  I thought Chiarot would either double that up to take #77 or take the closest available number in #2.  Instead, Walman switches to his birth year, which gives us some funny history with #96.

As far as Austin Czarnik‘s #21, Matt Luff’s #22, Pontus Andreasson’s #26, Jussi Olkinuora’s #45, and Steven Kampfer‘s #54, I’ll admit that I didn’t even take time to consider them.

Not that Development Camp numbers can ever really be taken as meaningful, but this leaves several Wings prospects looking for new jersey numbers.

Kienan Draper loses #21, Amadeus Lombardi loses #96, Robert Mastrosimone loses #54 (after having previously been forced to switch from #14), Carter Mazur loses the #43 of his idol (Darren Helm), Cooper Moore loses #81, and Carter Gylander loses #35.

Some of those players won’t be back in a Detroit camp until next summer, at which point some of the new Red Wings’ contracts will be up, so they may never actually need to switch numbers.

2022 Free Agency: Day One Thoughts

The Red Wings were busy on the opening day of free agency, signing six NHLers, one draft pick, and agreeing to terms with one more player.

Eighth-overall pick Marco Kasper kicked things off, agreeing to his entry-level deal.  The contract was announced just after free agency opened, which wasn’t necessary, and feels like a bit of a troll by the Red Wings’ PR team.

Just after that, Andrew Copp joined Detroit.  He immediately slots in as the team’s second-line center.  As I said earlier, I wish his five-year deal was four years, but I don’t think that’s the end of the world.  If he’s playing out the end of his deal on the third line, having made way for Kasper on the second line, that’s not a bad place to be in.

Detroit was then linked to Olli Maatta, and by all accounts a deal is in place there but not finalized.  I like that move to shore up the left side of the defense with the departures of Marc Staal and Danny DeKeyser.  I just wish they’d get it done.

Insiders linked the Red Wings to both Ben Chiarot and David Perron but the next deal announced was Dominik Kubalik.  I love his two-year, $2.5 million deal.  This is a cheap, short-term move with nothing but upside.

Chiarot, however, concerns me.  Four years at at $4.75 million cap hit feels like it will age horribly.  That said, the cap should start increasing so it may not hurt as much as it looks like right now.  There’s some hope there, but hope is not a strategy.

Perron rounded out the day at the NHL level.  This one leaves a bad taste in my mouth but doesn’t appear to be a bad deal.  After all this time, I just don’t like Perron.  Now maybe it’s time for the Wings’ opponents to not like him, too.

Detroit also signed Matt Luff and Austin Czarnik to two-way deals, joining previously-signed Steven Kampfer as likely Grand Rapids-bound.

My takeaway after this big day of signings is that there is probably a forward on his way out of Detroit.  Robby Fabbri is expected to start the season on IR but that still pushes one of Joe Veleno or Adam Erne out of the lineup, which seems less than ideal.  Erne, in particular, seems redundant now and I wonder if Steve Yzerman might end up shopping him around.

Because I’m a jersey number geek, my other takeaway is that there are going to be a lot of people looking for new numbers.  Perron is likely to get his usual #57.  Simon Edvinsson has been assigned #3 in development camp but it’s not his usual number so it probably goes to Maatta.  Chiarot and Kubalik have both been wearing #8, which is currently assigned to Jake Walman, so two of those three will need new numbers.  Additionally, Staal’s departure to the Florida Panthers opens up #18.  Will Lucas Raymond switch to his usual number or will Copp, who usually wears #9, take #18 instead? Or is that what Kubalik, who has worn it for Czechia, gets?

I’m going to say Perron gets #57, Maatta gets #3, Raymond switches to #18, Copp takes #29, Kubalik wears the #89 he wore in the OHL, and Chiarot takes #2 or #77.

Free Agent Kubalik Signs with Wings

Free agent forward Dominik Kubalik signed a two-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.

As per usual, financial terms of the deal were not announced, but the deal reportedly carries a $2.5 million salary cap hit.

Kubalik became an unrestricted free agent earlier in the week when the Chicago Blackhawks chose not to give him a qualifying offer, which would have made him a restricted free agent.  He is the second player in as many years to depart Chicago for Detroit under those terms, following Pius Suter.

Combined with the signing of Andrew Copp and the expected deal for David Perron, Detroit GM Steve Yzerman has added an entire line’s worth of forwards to the Red Wings’ lineup.  As such, is sure seems like someone from last year won’t be back in the Winged Wheel next season.

Red Wings Add Defenseman Chiarot

The Detroit Red Wings signed defenseman Ben Chiarot on Wednesday.

The deal is reportedly for four years at a cap hit of $4.75 million.

That term is hard to swallow.  The cap hit…  If it had been two years, sure.  The Wings won’t be near the cap for the next couple years, let Chris Ilitch spend money.  But at four years, that gets into extension time for a lot of players.  As I said with the Andrew Copp deal, that gets problematic.

The difficult thing is that Chiarot is an upgrade to Detroit’s defense.  Certainly not a particularly exciting upgrade, but the Wings were bad last year.  He should make them much harder to play against.

Maybe next fall I can look at this deal and appreciate that more.  In the summer, though, it’s a lot harder to see that.

Red Wings Sign Center Andrew Copp

The Detroit Red Wings announced the signing of center Andrew Copp on Wednesday.

The deal had been rumored in the lead-up to NHL free agency opening.

While the team did not announce financial terms – as per usual – Copp’s contract reportedly carries a $5.625 million salary cap hit over five years.

That feels like a high number to me but it’s the same cap hit that Vincent Trocheck got from the New York Rangers – Copp’s now-former team – so it seems to be market value.  I do like that it’s “only” five years, as opposed to Trocheck’s seven-year deal.  I think it was probably GM Steve Yzerman‘s best option.  That doesn’t mean there’s not risk, though.

Copp put up points at a prolific rate in his short run with the New York Rangers last spring but never matched that during his tenure with the Winnipeg Jets.  Is the former indicative of what he can do with an increased role or an outlier?

My biggest feeling is that the deal seemed inevitable.  The Ann Arbor native played with Compuware, the USNTDP, and at Michigan.  But if this is a “local guy comes home” thing, it would have been nice to see a hometown discount as part of it.  The Wings have plenty of cap space now but raises will be due for a ton of players over the life of this deal.

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