Red Wings Sign Goalie Greiss

The Detroit Red Wings got their goalie on Saturday, signing Thomas Greiss to a two year deal.

The Red Wings didn’t announce financial terms, of course, but even before they confirmed the deal, it was reported to carry a $3.6 million salary cap hit.

The hit feels a tiny bit high to me but I really don’t care, because it’s a two-year deal, which was my biggest hope.  They could have dropped $7 million on Marc-Andre Fleury as long as it was only two years.  That term gets them through the Seattle expansion draft but not to the point that the rebuild should be done, so there’s a ton of flexibility.

Also, $3.6 million is less than I expected even if I feel like it’s a little high, so it’s a win either way, I’m just nitpicking the amount.

Greiss was one of my top two targets for Detroit, along with Cam Talbot.  So the Wings got the cheaper of the two on shorter term.  Win all around.

Jersey number geek thoughts: Greiss has worn #1 throughout his NHL career, which won’t be possible here.  He wore #40 with Germany but probably can’t have that.  He wore #33 early in his career in the minors but it seems like if anyone gets that in the Detroit organization, it’s going to be Kienan Draper.  Will the Red Wings hold #35 out of respect to Jimmy Howard?  If not, that makes sense for Greiss.  With Brendan Perlini gone, #29 could make sense.


Some additional contract talk:

I wonder if that structure is with the Seattle expansion draft in mind.

The Red Wings will have to make at least one goalie signed for the 2021-22 season available via the expansion draft.  Right now, only Greiss and Kaden Fulcher are signed for that season, so Fulcher would be the one available.  But if Detroit happened to pick up another goalie between now and then, someone they wanted to protect, putting more of the actual cash owed to Greiss in the 2021-22 season could serve to scare off the Kraken, making it so that Greiss could be left unprotected but not selected.

Of course, it could also be that, for the 2020-21 season, Greiss is expected to split time with Jonathan Bernier.  For 2021-22, with Bernier possibly gone, Greiss would be the starter and would get paid like it.

Free Agency Day One Recap

It’s probably safe to say that Day One of NHL free agency is done and the site was down for a big part of the day so let’s do a recap.

Ryan and Merrill

The Red Wings started their day by signing forward Bobby Ryan to a one-year, $1 million deal.  As I said at the time, I love it.  Is it possible that Ryan ends up injured and/or worthless?  Absolutely.  At $1 million for one year, it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

The one funny thing about the Ryan deal is that, in an interview after signing, Ryan said he might want to wear #17 because it was Brett Hull‘s number in Detroit, apparently unaware that it belongs to Filip Hronek now.

As far as Merrill goes, well, everyone expected a hometown defenseman to be signing with Detroit today, right?  The Merrill signing signals to me that the Wings expect some of their young guys to not be available this season.  Mortiz Seider in Sweden, for example.  They need veteran guys to fill in for a season in the meantime.  Merrill can burn minutes on this team cheaply.

Talbot, Markstrom, Turris and Shattenkirk

Coming into the day, the Red Wings were linked to both Cam Talbot and Jacob Markstrom to fill their gap in goal.  I would have liked Talbot in Detroit but he got three years for $11 million from Minnesota.  I actually don’t dislike that cap hit but wouldn’t have wanted to give three years.

Markstrom was never going to sign that cheaply so I was glad to see him go to Calgary just to get him off the board, just in case Steve Yzerman did something ridiculous.  I think the six-year, $36 million he got from the Flames is ridiculous, too, but I don’t have to care what they pay.

Kyle Turris was linked to Detroit if for no reason other than his chemistry with Anthony Mantha playing for Team Canada.  He seemed like a prime candidate to want to sign with a contender for cheap, though, and that’s pretty much what he did, going to the Oilers for two years and $3.3 million.  Not a bad deal and I’d have been happy to see him sign it in Detroit, but the Wings aren’t a contender.

In the middle of the day, news broke seemingly out of the blue that the Wings were in on defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.  Just as quickly, he signed a three-year, $11.7 million deal with the Ducks.  So much for that.

Depth Signings

The Wings’s last move of the day was around 5:00 PM with a trio of AHL-level deals, bringing back forward Kyle Criscuolo, a former Griffin from the 2017 Calder Cup run, and adding goalie Kevin Boyle and forward Riley Barber.

If the AHL actually has a season, the Griffins will need bodies.  Even more so if some of the Wings’ kids are in Europe to start the year.  I’ve got no complaints about any of these moves.

The one thing I find interesting is that Detroit brought in a minor-league goalie even with Cal Pickard, Filip Larsson, and Kaden Fulcher all signed, plus Pat Nagle on an AHL deal.  I don’t think it means that Pickard has been tabbed as Jonathan Bernier‘s backup in Detroit but it could.

Torey Krug

The big late-night news was Torey Krug signing with the St. Louis Blues for $45.5 million over seven years.  For months we’ve heard about the possibility of him coming to Detroit but that was from a lot of people ignoring his exit interviews with the Bruins.  He made it clear that his top priority was getting paid, not coming back to his hometown team, and he got his money.

Tyler Johnson

To close out the night was a weird rumor from Frank Seravalli:

So the theory behind this is that Lightning tried to trade Johnson as a salary dump but he has a no-trade clause and would have used it to block a move to any team who could take his salary.  Unable to trade him, the Lightning instead waive him, which he can’t block.  Nominally, it’s for the purposes of a buyout, in which case they’d be on the hook for part of his cap hit but not all of it, so it’s a small win.

But what if a team, such as Detroit, claimed him?  His full cap hit would be gone from Tampa and Johnson would have no recourse to stop the transaction.  And if Tampa then just happened to complete a deal with the Red Wings to send something of value in to Detroit in return for peanuts, well, that’s a totally separate thing, certainly not a handshake deal to send Johnson (and his salary) to the Red Wings, circumventing Johnson’s no-trade clause.

That’s a lot of conspiracy theory talk for me, and I like sports conspiracy theories.  I can’t see Yzerman going for a move that would likely be subject to a grievance if there was any chance of it being perceived as less than legal.

That said…  I want the Wings to take bad cap dollars on to gain other assets but Johnson’s deal is really bad.  Four more seasons at $5 million per year for a guy whose numbers dropped off dramatically during the Bolts’ Cup run.  That side deal would have to be extremely impressive to make that move.

What’s Left?

As free agency moves on, the Red Wings still need a goalie, probably at least one defenseman, and maybe some forwards.  I’d hold off and save some of those roster slots for potential salary dump deals but that’s just me.

In goal, Thomas Greiss is still on the board, and he’d probably be my top choice.  As I write this, Corey Crawford signed with New Jersey for less than $2 million per season, which seems to be a sign that goalie contract numbers are getting back to sane after Markstrom’s ridiculous deal.

I wonder about Tyson Barrie on defense.  Coming off a relatively bad season in Toronto, a “show me” deal could work.  I still think I’d prefer a trade candidate, though.

Kronwall Scores in OT to Lift Red Wings Past Oilers

Defenseman Niklas Kronwall scored 26 seconds into overtime on Friday night, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-3 win over the visiting Edmonton Oilers.

Five of Detroit’s last six games have been decided in the extra period, with the team going 3-2 in that set.

After Kronwall gave the puck away to Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins right in front of the Detroit net, he took Nugent-Hopkins down and joined Dylan Larkin on a rush going the opposite way. On a two-on-one against Oscar Klefbom, Larkin fed Kronwall for a snap shot through Klefbom’s legs and past goalie Cam Talbot for the win.

The Red Wings had opened the scoring at 5:11 of the second period, as Gustav Nyquist pounced on a loose puck at the edge of the crease during a scramble and knocked it past Talbot. Tomas Tatar made it 2-0 6:56 later, snapping a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle past the Edmonton netminder.

Two quick goals near the end of the period would erase the Detroit lead. Iiro Pakarinen took a feed from Anton Lander and beat Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard from the slot to make it 1-0 with 4:43 left in the second. Just 2:27 later, Andrej Sekara scored a power play goal on a one-timer from the high slot to even things up.

Larkin restored Detroit’s lead with 36 seconds left in the middle frame, racing in on goal off a feed from Henrik Zetterberg and beating Talbot from in close.

Pakarinen tied things back up at 8:45 of the third period, capitalizing on a Detroit turnover to lift a shot past Howard from the left faceoff circle.

Each team had two chances on the power play with Sekara’s tally the only goal scored.

Howard finished the night with 21 saves on 24 shots. Talbot stopped 28 of 32 Detroit chances.

The Red Wings are next in action on Sunday afternoon when they host the Florida Panthers.

Red Wings Rally Past Rangers, 3-2

The Detroit Red Wings trailed 2-0 after the first period on Saturday night but scored two quick goals in the second and another in the third to complete a come-from-behind win over the New York Rangers.

It was Detroit’s first win over the Rangers in six tries and was head coach Mike Babcock‘s 500th career victory.

Riley Sheahan started the Red Wings’ comeback with 5:46 remaining in the middle frame. Johan Franzen gained the New York zone but had nowhere to go, dropping the puck off to Stephen Weiss as he was pushed into the left wing boards. Weiss moved it on to Sheahan in the slot, who spun to backhand a chance past Rangers’ netminder Cam Talbot to make it 2-1.

Just 1:01 later it was tied up, as Luke Glendening banged a loose puck in the crease behind Talbot after chances by Drew Miller and Joakim Andersson.

Darren Helm put the Red Wings out front at 7:40 of the third period, catching up to a deflected pass by Tomas Tatar in the left faceoff circle and snapping a shot over Talbot’s shoulder for a 3-2 lead.

The Wings preserved the lead through 5:24 of shorthanded time caused by three consecutive, overlapping penalties. The Rangers had a five-on-three for 2:36 of that time and Drew Miller was without a stick for part of that.

Kevin Klein had opened the game’s scoring at 9:31 of the first period, shoveling a backhander past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard from right in front.

With 5:48 left in the opening frame, Derick Brassard sprung Rick Nash on a breakaway, with Nash beating Howard stick-side to put the Rangers up by a pair.

Howard finished the night with 27 saves on 29 shots against. Talbot made 31 saves on 34 shots.

Neither team scored a power play goal. The Rangers had seven tries with the extra attacker to Detroit’s three.

The Red Wings are back in action on Sunday as they visit the Carolina Hurricanes.


Detroit remained without forward Justin Abdelkader (shoulder). Daniel Cleary and Brian Lashoff were healthy scratches.

Pregame: Rangers @ Red Wings – 12/6

It’s an Original Six matchup in Detroit tonight as the Red Wings host the New York Rangers.

The Red Wings are expected to roll the same lineup as they used in Thursday’s 5-2 win over the Dallas Stars. Justin Abdelkader remains out with a shoulder injury while Daniel Cleary (now wearing jersey #11) and Brian Lashoff are healthy scratches.

Jimmy Howard gets the start for Detroit opposite Cam Talbot, who earned his first career win in his last visit to Joe Louis Arena.

Stupid stat of the day: The Red Wings have lost five consecutive games to the Rangers over the last two years. They did not lose five games to the Rangers over the 23 games immediately preceding that streak, a stretch of 18 years going back to 1993.

Game time is 7:00 PM on FSD.

Postgame: Rangers @ Red Wings – 10/26

Well, I was thinking about just not writing anything for this game but then the Bird went and recommended people read my thoughts, so I feel all obligated to provide some.

Disclaimer: I watched this game on near-mute with some friends hanging around after a kids Halloween party, so it didn’t have my full attention. From what I saw, it didn’t have the Wings’ full attention, either.

I’ll start with the game-winner… Kyle Quincey pinching and getting burned is the kind of thing we’ve come to expect from him. It’s stupid for many reasons and his inability to get back to make up for it just adds to it. That said, it would have been harmless had Danny DeKeyser not come across the ice to cover for him. DeKeyser plays that as a normal two-on-one and just cuts off the pass? Twelve seconds later it’s a shootout.

I hate it when defensemen don’t play the two-on-one properly but I hate it when Kyle Quincey makes rookie mistakes, too. Just an ugly play all around. And the stupidest thing is that if Quincey had done what he usually would do and hauled down Pouliot, it’s a Rangers power play for 15 seconds and we probably go to a shootout.

So that goal wastes a fantastic effort by Jimmy Howard. Howard stops 37 of 40, including some great stops in the second when the team was under siege. He is not the problem with this team.

Allowing 40 shots and getting only two goals against a team that is at the end of an epic road trip, missing several key players, and starting a backup rookie goalie… Well, that sounds more like the Red Wings than I’d like. This is a team that has a history of making backup goalies look good. Cam Talbot made 32 stops on 34 shots and that’s a pretty good night for the kid getting his first win. Was he actually that good? Bird seems to think so but I didn’t see the Wings making him work for it. Specifically, I didn’t see a lot of lateral movement required of him. Even the awesome passing play in the third from Zetterberg to Datsyuk to Alfredsson for a chance only led to a shot by Alfredsson from an angle Talbot was already squared to.

As much as I love the Z-Pavs-Alfie line, I don’t get the idea of firing up the line blender before the game and then doing it again for the third period. There wasn’t an injury announcement, so why exactly was Bertuzzi benched for most of the third (supposedly necessitating the line juggling)? It’s not like he was the worst player on the ice at any point of the night. How did he get singled out?

I don’t know. I’m not freaking out about the state of the team yet but I’m really disappointed. It feels like the players are just not playing smart, the coaches don’t know what to do about it, and management has put the team in a position where change can’t be made (as there’s no cap space). These are the players we’re going to see this year, they’re the ones that are going to have to turn it around. We’ll see if they can.

Pregame: Rangers @ Red Wings – 10/26

The Red Wings host the New York Rangers tonight and will face the Blueshirts with a new set of lines, shaking things up after their 6-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday.

Pavel Datsyuk will center Daniel Alfredsson and Todd Bertuzzi on the top line while Henrik Zetterberg centers Johan Franzen and Tomas Tatar. Stephen Weiss centers Daniel Cleary and Justin Abdelkader as the third like with Joakim Andersson, Drew Miller and Jordin Tootoo as the fourth line. Mikael Samuelsson and Patrick Eaves (back from IR but not back in the lineup) will be the healthy scratches. Darren Helm remains on IR after suffering another groin injury.

On defense it will be Niklas Kronwall with Brendan Smith, Kyle Quincey with Danny DeKeyser and Brian Lashoff with Jakub Kindl. Johanthan Ericsson remains out with a shoulder injury and Xavier Ouellet has been returned to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Jimmy Howard gets the start in goal opposite Cam Talbot, taking the place of the injured Henrik Lundqvist.

Stupid stat of the game: The Red Wings are winless (0-4) all-time against the Rangers on October 26th but all four of those games have been on the road.

Game time is 7:00 PM on FSD.