Red Wings Bring Back Gagner on One Year Deal

The Detroit Red Wings re-signed center Sam Gagner to a one year deal on Saturday.

The deal is reportedly worth $850,000 because of course financial terms were not officially announced.

I love this deal if only for the dollar amount.  Do I want a 31-year-old taking away spots from the kids in the Wings’ system?  No.  But at $850,000, Gagner can be buried in Grand Rapids (or whatever the farm system looks like whenever the next season happens) if Michael Rasmussen or Joe Veleno or whoever wins a roster spot (or if Frans Nielsen suddenly returns to form somehow).  If not, he slots in cheaply and can maybe be flipped for a fifth-rounder at the trade deadline.

Random thought: As the 2020 offseason hasn’t started yet, had Gagner’s previous contract actually expired?  That’s usually how I differentiate between someone re-signing (signing with Detroit after their contract expired, having spent time as a free agent) or signing a contract extension (new contract with more years ready to kick in after the expiration of their existing deal, avoiding free agency).


The Wings also announced the signing of Griffins forward Turner Elson to a one year deal reportedly worth $725,000 at the NHL level and $115,000 in the AHL.

That one’s slightly interesting because Elson was making $700,000 at the NHL level under his previous two year deal (not that he actually played any NHL games under that contract) but $100,000 for the first year and $175,000 for the second year in the AHL.  The original deal was signed in February of 2019 so that first year would have been pro-rated but, however you slice it, he just signed for an NHL raise and an AHL pay cut.

Red Wings Send Athanasiou to Edmonton

With just under two hours left before the NHL’s trade deadline on Monday, the Detroit Red Wings traded winger Andreas Athanasiou to the Edmonton Oilers, along with Ryan Kuffner, for Sam Gagner and two second round picks.

I know there are a lot of people pointing at Athanasiou and saying “What could you expect for a slumping forward who doesn’t play defense?”  And there’s truth to that.

But what I said last night and what I’ve said year after year is that I’m tired of this team not being able to make strong sales at the deadline.  This is going to be the Red Wings’ big move and it brings back two second round picks, probably in the 45th to 55th overall range.

Are there good players available in that range?  Of course.  Yzerman plucked Nikita Kucherov from there in 2011.  But it’s much less of a sure thing.  And, given Detroit’s draft history rather than Yzerman’s, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want to pick in a position with a little more confidence than they will be picking.  Because in that same 2011 second round, Detroit had three picks before Yzerman grabbed Kucherov, and the Red Wings came away with Tomas Jurco, Xavier Ouellet, and Ryan Sproul.

In short, I know that two second round picks aren’t a bad return for Athanasiou, but as a fan of the Red Wings, I’ve been burned on the whole idea of picking a bunch of times in the second or third round enough that I don’t trust it.

All that said, two seconds was the price Detroit set, and Edmonton matched it, so I can’t really say the Wings’ got screwed if that was the deal they were always looking for.

As for the rest of the trade…  Kuffner I don’t care about and Gagner is a warm body coming back the other way, clearing some cap space for Edmonton.

Red Wings Rally for 3-2 OT Win over Oilers

The Detroit Red Wings went into the third period down 2-0 but rallied for a 3-2 overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night.

Pavel Datsyuk won the game for the Red Wings with 1:21 left in the overtime period. Datsyuk took a pass from Johan Franzen in the neutral zone and raced into the Edmonton zone, faking around defender Jeff Petry and snapping a shot past netminder Devan Dubnyk.

Taylor Hall had opened the scoring at 3:34 of the first period, picking up the puck at the Detroit blue line and cutting to the middle, splitting the Red Wings’ defense through the slot and snapping a shot under Howard to make it 1-0.

Edmonton went up 2-0 with 3:42 left in the second period on a goal by Sam Gagner. After Hall tied up Jonathan Ericsson behind the Detroit net, Nail Yakupov picked up the puck and cut in from the left wing boards, around Niklas Kronwall, and shoveled a shot on Howard from the slot. Gagner was there to bang home the rebound.

Valtteri Filppula cut the Edmonton lead in half at 4:27 of the third. Henrik Zetterberg won a battle along the boards in the left corner and Filppula came in to pick up the puck. Filppula cut through the left faceoff circle on the backhand and flung a shot on net, through a screen by Damien Brunner and past goalie Devan Dubnyk.

Detroit tied things up with 5:53 remaining in the third on their second road power play goal of the season. Niklas Kronwall threw a shot on net from the blue line and Dubnyk kicked it aside. Defender Jeff Petry turned to knock it away but ended up putting it in behind his own goalie.

Howard finished the night with 30 saves on 32 shots while Dubnyk stopped 25 of 28 Detroit chances.

Detroit went one-for-five on the power play. Edmonton was scoreless with three power play attempts.

The Red Wings are back in action on Saturday in Vancouver as they close out their Western Canadian road trip.


Ian White, Kent Huskins and Patrick Eaves were healthy scratches for the Red Wings… Kyle Quincey left the game late in the third after taking a puck to the face. He will not travel with the team to Vancouver.

Wings’ Streak Reaches 18 with Win over Oilers

The Detroit Red Wings stretched their franchise-record home winning streak to eighteen games Wednesday night with a 4-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

It was the first game of the streak not won by goaltender Jimmy Howard, who’s out of the lineup with a broken index finger. Joey MacDonald earned the victory in net for the Red Wings, stopping 15 of the 17 shots he faced.

The Red Wings needed a third-period charge to finish off the Oilers. After Detroit took a 2-0 lead, Edmonton rallied before the Wings scored twice more to finish things off.

Johan Franzen opened the game’s scoring with 6:42 left in the first period with a rare power play goal. Ian White fired a shot from the middle of the ice, just inside the blue line. Franzen tipped it at the top of the crease, redirecting it past Edmonton goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.

Cory Emmerton made it 2-0 at 2:45 of the second period, driving to the net to lift a backhander past Khabibulin when the rebound of a Justin Abdelkader chance squirted free.

Sam Gagner continued his torrid scoring pace for the Oilers, getting them on the board with 8:52 left in the middle period. With Jakub Kindl heading to the bench to be replaced by White and Jonathan Ericsson trying to fight Edmonton’s Ben Eager, Gagner was left all alone to take an outlet pass and break in on MacDonald, faking around his poke-check to score his seventh goal in four games.

Gagner tied things up on an Oiler power play at 8:23 of the third, putting the rebound of a Magnus Paajarvi chance past MacDonald.

The Red Wings would regain the lead 2:23 later. Justin Abdelkader’s chance from the left circle slipped through Khabibulin’s pads and came to a stop in the crease. Drew Miller drove to the net and found it before anyone else could, knocking it in to make it 3-2.

Henrik Zetterberg wrapped up the game’s scoring with 5:16 remaining, snapping a shot from down low in the left circle over Khabibulin’s blocker.

Khabibulin finished the night with 26 saves on 30 shots against.

Each team scored once on the power play. The Oilers had seven tries with the extra attacker, including 1:14 of five-on-three in the first period. Detroit had four power play tries.

The Red Wings continue their six-game homestand on Friday when they host the Anaheim Ducks.


Detroit forward Danny Cleary left the game after the second period. The team announced after the game that he will have his knee drained and is expected to miss up to a week… Jan Mursak and Mike Commodore were the healthy scratches for the Red Wings.

Postgame: Oilers @ Red Wings – 2/8

After the Oilers got their first goal tonight, I was a little worried it was all downhill from there. It was such a mess of a goal, I could see it deflating the Red Wings and leading to a loss.

When Edmonton tied things up in the third, that fear seemed to have been warranted. Detroit got caught coasting a bit. The tying goal was on the power play but the Wings hadn’t done much before it to make it seem like they wanted this one. No killer instinct.

They managed to turn it back on, though. Drew Miller‘s goal was just hard work, driving to the net for a loose puck (much like Cory Emmerton‘s earlier in the game). Henrik Zetterberg‘s goal was the kind we expect to see from him, he was given a part of the net and he hit what was given to him. Perhaps more importantly, they shut the Oilers down, holding onto that lead.

Things I liked to see tonight:
All of the Detroit goals. Cop out answer but each was very nice in its own way. I already mentioned the last three goals, even Franzen’s tip from in front is something that hasn’t been going in for the Wings lately. And let’s be honest, even Sam Gagner‘s breakway was a pretty goal – it would have been fun to see if it weren’t scored on Detroit.

Jonathan Ericsson‘s play – for the most part. Aside from one play, Ericsson had a really solid night. Sadly, I’ll get to that one play below.

Joey MacDonald didn’t see a lot of shots but he’s making saves when he needs to. Not bad for a third-stringer when your starter is hurt and your backup has no confidence.

Things I didn’t like:
Justin Abdelkader got his ass kicked in the early fight.

The first Edmonton goal. Yeah, I mentioned it as being pretty, but it never should have happened. I debated about this during the game with @onthewings and @wingingitmotown and I think there’s plenty of blame to go around on this one but it mostly falls in one spot.

First off, I feel like MacDonald committed too early. That said, it was a breakaway at that point so I can’t fault him much. How did Gagner get that open? A mess at the Detroit bench. Jakub Kindl and Ericsson both went for a change. Kindl got off the ice but Ian White didn’t get on quickly. Meanwhile Ericsson challenged Ben Eager to a fight (which didn’t happen) after Eager hit Danny Cleary. The way I see it, White might have been able to prevent the breakaway but probably not. Ericsson could have either gotten off the ice or stayed in the play and broken things up. He did neither, so he gets most of the blame from me.

The last thing I didn’t like? The goalie interference call on Tomas Holmstrom. While it’s a chance to show off the new DH.N Multimedia Archive, I just see it as a horrible call.

To end on a high note… Eighteen consecutive wins at home. That’s a nice little run there.

Late Goals Lift Red Wings over Oilers

Todd Bertuzzi and Darren Helm scored within 44 seconds of each other late in the Red Wings’ Tuesday night matchup with the Edmonton Oilers, carrying Detroit to a 5-3 win.

Bertuzzi’s second of the night broke a 3-3 tie with 2:50 remaining and Helm added an insurance marker with 2:06 left in the game.

Bertuzzi scored on a shot from the left faceoff circle that deflected off of the skate of defenseman Ladislav Smid in front of the net and past goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.

Helm outwaited Khabibulin on a rush, cutting to the slot and snapping a shot into the top corner after Khabibulin went down.

The goals came after the Oilers had rallied from two down to start the period, tying the game.

On a delayed penalty 4:54 into the third, Theo Peckham jumped up and snuck into the slot, where he took a pass from Sam Gagner and snapped a shot past Detroit netminder Chris Osgood.

Gagner would tie the game with 8:29 left, slipping a shot from the left circle through Osgood’s pads after a faceoff win.

Henrik Zetterberg opened the game’s scoring just 3:43 in with a slap shot from the blue line.

Gilbert Brule responded with 8:22 remaining in the first, skating around Kris Draper to get to the slot and take a feed from Liam Reddox, backhanding a chance past Osgood.

Bertuzzi’s first of the night made it 2-1 at 6:40 of the second, when he scored on a wraparound chance.

Draper raced to the net to take a feed from Helm and backhand a shot over Khabibulin with 9:17 remaining in the middle period to make it 3-1, setting up the third.

Though the Oilers did get a goal on a delayed penalty, neither team scored on the power play. The Red Wings had two tries while Edmonton had three.

Osgood stopped 22 of 25 shots in earning the win. Khabibulin made 32 saves on 37 chances.

The Red Wings now have two days off before they visit the Calgary Flames as their five-game road trip continues.


Detroit was without Patrick Eaves for the third consecutive game. Tomas Tatar continued to play in his place.