The Detroit Red Wings continued rebuilding their roster on Saturday afternoon, adding defenseman Troy Stecher.
Stecher was linked to the Red Wings pretty much immediately after Vancouver failed to give him a qualifying offer. His two-year deal reportedly carries a $1.7 million salary cap hit.
With Stecher in the fold, Detroit’s blueline appears to be set for the coming season. Assuming that none of the Red Wings’ prospects currently playing in Europe come back for the start of the NHL campaign, they would be able to roll out pairings something like this:
Danny DeKeyser – Filip Hronek
Patrik Nemeth – Troy Stecher
Marc Staal – Jon Merrill
Jersey number geek notes: This is Detroit’s fourth free agent signing of the season who had been wearing a number that’s unavailable with the Red Wings, as Stecher wore #51 for the Canucks. He wore #2 with North Dakota and while that’s currently assigned to Joe Hicketts, Hicketts seems to have lost his chance in Detroit. I wonder if they might assign Hicketts a different number and give Stecher #2. I could also see Stecher getting #52 with Jonathan Ericsson gone.
Detroit General Manager Steve Yzerman made a surprise move in the hours leading up to the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, waiving alternate captain Justin Abdelkader for the purposes of a buyout.
Per CapFriendly, the buyout will cost the Red Wings $1,805,556 in salary cap space this season, $2,305,556 for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons, and then $1,055,556 through the 2025-26 campaign.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t think the team would do this, given the length that the buyout would remain on the books. Especially with Stephen Weiss still having one year left on his buyout. I thought that, given that the team was not expected to be a cap team for the next couple seasons, they’d rather ride out a couple more years of Abdelkader being overpaid.
This could mean that Yzerman has another salary dump deal like the Marc Staal trade lined up and needed to limit Abdelkader’s salary now, rather than waiting to do it. With an immediate buyout, the Red Wings save $2.4 million towards the coming season’s cap.
I’ve always joked that I’m contractually obligated to speak up on Abdelkader’s behalf. He gave DH.N an interview back in 2005, during his freshman year at MSU, when players speaking with bloggers was relatively unheard of. I kind of snuck into the party with the Stanley Cup in 2008 at his parents’ house.
That said, this is the right deal for the Wings, especially if they made it in order to clear space for another salary dump deal. I’d have rather seen them cut someone like Frans Nielsen loose but Abdelkader maxes out the buyout value, so it makes sense.
The Detroit Red Wings received defenseman Marc Staal and a 2021 second round pick from the New York Rangers on Saturday in return for future considerations.
I love this deal. The Wings get a second-rounder to bail the Rangers out of cap trouble. As I tweeted earlier, Staal only having a year left on his deal is probably why the Wings “only” got a second rounder, but because his deal is expiring it’ll be easier to flip him for even more assets (not that I expect much of a haul there) at the next trade deadline.
The only problem as I see it is that this gives the Red Wings eight defensemen under contract right now who I would want (or otherwise expect) to see in the Detroit lineup on opening night. That’s Staal, Danny DeKeyser, Patrik Nemeth, Alex Beiga, Filip Hronek, Moritz Seider, Dennis Cholowski, and Gustav Lindstrom. Plus Madison Bowey as an unsigned restricted free agent.
That’s an easy fix, though. I’d like to see Lindstrom up but he could go back to GR (assuming the AHL is playing) easily, as could a returning Bowey. That’d give Detroit seven defensemen without their big-name kids getting buried.
Of course, that assumes Staal even stays on the Red Wings’ roster. They could buy him out and spread the smaller cap hit over two seasons. In that case, they’d have the space to do another deal like this.
Between the Staal and the Gagner and Elson deals, it’s been a busy day for Steve Yzerman.