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.

Red Wings Rally for Stadium Series Win

The Detroit Red Wings rallied from down 2-1 entering the third period on Saturday for a 5-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche in their Stadium Series matchup at Denver’s Coors Field.

Gustav Nyquist‘s scored just 1:27 into the third period. Nyquist lifted a no-look backhander from the left faceoff circle past Colorado netminder Semyon Varlamov to tie the game, 2-2.

With 6:32 left in the period, Darren Helm fed Justin Abdelkader from behind the goal for a quick shot from the side of the crease past Varlamov for a 3-2 lead, Detroit’s second of the night.

The lead was short-lived, as Alex Tanguay blasted home a rebound over sprawling Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek just 14 seconds later.

The game seemed to be headed to overtime until Brad Richards banged the rebound of a Niklas Kronwall shot from the point off Varlamov’s pad, through the air, and into the net for a 4-3 win.

Helm added an empty-net goal to wrap up the game’s scoring.

Tomas Tatar had opened things up 5:07 into the first period. After a brief scramble around the side of the net, Tatar collected the puck and snapped a shot from the bottom of the left circle through a screen by Nyqyust,

Nathan MacKinnon tied things up at 7:44 of the period, rifling a shot from the left wing past Mrazek on a rush.

With 5:22 remaining in the first, Tyson Barrie lifted a shot over Mrazek to make it 2-1. The Red Wings challenged the goal, saying Carl Soderberg interfered with Mrazek, but the call stood.

The Red Wings went scoreless on five power play tries while the Avalanche didn’t score on either of their chances with the man-advantage.

Mrazek finished the night with 24 saves on 27 shots. Varlamov stopped 23 of 27 chances.


Detroit’s healthy scratches were Brendan Smith and Teemu Pulkkinen… The game was briefly interrupted in the third period as wind lifted fake snow into the air, dumping some of it onto the playing surface.

Red Wings Rout Coyotes for 5-1 Win

The Detroit Red Wings earned a point in their ninth consecutive game Thursday night with a 5-1 victory over the visiting Arizona Coyotes.

Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard stopped 26 of the 27 shots he faced to earn the win – his fourth in a row – and five different players scored for the Red Wings.

The game could have been very different, as the Coyotes thought they had opened the scoring just 1:22 in. Klas Dahlbeck scored on a play that Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill challenged. Video review revealed that Connor Murphy was offside and the goal was wiped out.

Instead, it was Justin Abdelkader‘s goal with 7:30 left in the opening frame that got things started. Detroit rookie Dylan Larkin forced a turnover behind the Arizona net and chased it up the side boards, then worked the puck to Abdelkader in front of the net for a backhander past goalie Mike Smith.

Niklas Kronwall made it 2-0 with 42 seconds left in the period on a blast from the slot off a feed from Tomas Tatar. Just 18 seconds later, Gustav Nyquist bounced a shot from the neutral zone past Smith to give the Red Wings a 3-0 lead.

The period would end with Kyle Chipchura laying a hard hit on Brendan Smith. Smith replied with a slash to Chipchura, then the two fought.

Arizona got on the board at 5:52 of the middle frame. Jordan Martinook snapped a shot from the inside edge of the right faceoff circle through traffic and past Howard off a feed from behind the net by Steve Downie.

Danny DeKeyser replied for the Red Wings just 1:26 later with a blast from the blue line past Anders Lindback, who replaced Smith in the Coyotes’ net to start the second period.

Darren Helm would round out the game’s scoring with his first of the season. Lindback lost the puck behind the net and it came out to Helm, who put it in before Lindback could get into position.

Lindback finished the night with 26 saves on 28 shots while Smith stopped 13 of 16 chances he faced.

The Red Wings lost both Teemu Pulkkinen and Drew Miller to injury in the first period. Pulkkinen was boarded by Martin Hanzal and Miller took a shoulder to the head from Dahlbeck.

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.

Datsyuk Scores 300th as Red Wings Fall to Bruins in OT

Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk scored his 300th career goal but it wasn’t enough for the Red Wings, who allowed late goals to the Boston Bruins to drop a 3-2 decision in overtime.

With 1:44 left in regulation, Boston’s Colin Miller tied the game at 2-2. After a long shift of Detroit control in the Boston zone, the Bruins finally got the puck into the end and were able to change faster than the Red Wings. Miller jumped on the ice and into the Detroit zone, taking a pass from Loui Eriksson and blasting a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle past Wings goalie Petr Mrazek.

Miller would figure into the overtime game-winner as well, as his initial shot from nearly the same spot as the tying goal was tipped by Frank Vatrano in the crease and past Mrazek for the 3-2 win.

It was Vatrano’s second goal of the night, as he had opened the game’s scoring 7:11 into the first, slapping a shot from the high slot through traffic to make it 1-0.

Datsyuk’s milestone marker tied things up at 2:26 of the second. In the left circle, Datsyuk sent a saucer pass to himself over the stick of defender Torey Krug, then snapped a shot from the slot past Bruins goalie – and former Red Wing – Jonas Gustavsson.

With 5:07 left in the middle frame Tomas Tatar gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead. Tatar jumped off the bench on a line change and picked up the loose puck, driving into the slot to rip a shot past Gustavsson.

Gustavsson finished the night with 32 saves on 34 shots while Mrazek stopped 19 of the 22 chances he faced.

Neither team scored a power play goal, with each team getting three tries with the extra attacker.

The Red Wings are back in action on Friday when they host the Edmonton Oilers.


The game was celebrated as Detroit’s 200th consecutive sellout… Former Red Wing Landon Ferraro, claimed by the Bruins off waivers on Sunday, assisted on Boston’s first goal of the game. It was his second assist in as many games for the Bruins after having none in his Detroit career.

Mrazek Stops 35 as Red Wings Best Kings

Detroit netminder Petr Mrazek stopped 35 of the 37 shots he faced and helped lead the Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night.

Dylan Larkin scored the eventual game-winning goal at 6:08 of the second period, banging home the rebound of a Justin Abdelkader chance to give the Red Wings a 3-1 lead.

Jeff Carter‘s second goal of the night made it 3-2 with 9:17 left in the middle frame. Breaking into the Detroit zone, he snapped a shot from the top of the left circle past Mrazek.

The Red Wings would hold the Kings to just eight third-period shots and Mrazek would stop them all to preserve the lead and get the win.

Detroit opened the game’s scoring with 5:50 left in the first period on the power play. Henrik Zetterberg worked the puck down to Justin Abdelkader at the front of the Los Angeles net, who then moved it on to Tomas Tatar for a shot past goalie Jhonas Enroth.

Just 2:11 later, Carter scored on a shorthanded breakaway to tie things back up.

At 3:45 of the second, Mike Green jumped in from the point to bang a rebound chance in, making it 2-1.

Enroth finished the night with 26 saves on 29 shots.

The Red Wings are back in action Saturday night when they visit the St. Louis Blues.


Detroit got forward Brad Richards back from injury for the game. Andreas Athanasiou was returned to the Grand Rapids Griffins to make room on the roster for Richards.

Pregame: Sharks @ Red Wings – 11/13

Pavel Datsyuk returns to the Detroit lineup tonight as the Red Wings host the San Jose Sharks. Datsyuk has missed all 15 games this season recovering from offseason ankle surgery. He’ll slot in on the top line with Henrik Zetterberg and – fresh off his seven year contract extension – Justin Abdelkader. The full forward lines are as follows:

Abdelkader – Zetterberg – Datsyuk
Tomas TatarDylan LarkinGustav Nyquist
Riley SheahanAndreas AthanasiouTeemu Pulkkinen
Drew MillerLuke GlendeningDarren Helm

Jimmy Howard gets the start in goal for the Red Wings against Martin Jones.

Stupid stat of the day: This is Detroit’s ninth Friday the 13th game all-time. The Red Wings are 4-3-1 in the previous eight.

Game time is 7:30 PM on FSD.

Zetterberg’s Milestones Help Red Wings Past Senators

Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg notched a pair of milestones on Saturday night, helping the Red Wings to a 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators.

With 7:05 left in the opening period, Tomas Tatar snapped a shot from the right faceoff dot past Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson. Zetterberg earned the secondary assist on the power play goal, his 500th career NHL assist.

Another power play goal made it 2-0 at 5:29 of the second. Gustav Nyquist tipped a Zetterberg shot/pass in the slot through traffic and past Anderson, Zetterberg’s 800th career point.

Kyle Turris cut Detroit’s lead to a single goal with 6:24 left in the middle frame, putting the rebound of an Erik Karlsson shot from the point past Red Wings’ netminder Petr Mrazek.

With 1:55 left in the period, Jonathan Ericsson‘s blue line blast of a faceoff win by Darren Helm made it 3-1.

Dylan Larkin scored just 39 seconds into the third period to make it 4-1. When Anderson came out to his right to challenge Larkin cutting to the net, Larkin raced around the back of the goal and tucked it in the open side.

Danny DeKeyser rounded out Detroit’s scoring at 5:35 of the third, taking a Nyquist drop-pass on a rush and snapping a shot from the left circle past Anderson.

With 4:09 left in regulation, Mark Stone gloved down an attempted clear in the Detroit slot and beat Mrazek to make it 5-2.

Bobby Ryan made it 5-3 with 1:09 left, skating in untouched as the Red Wings scrambled after a turnover to take a pass in the slot from Shane Prince and snap a shot past Mrazek.

Mrazek finished the night with 33 saves on 36 shots. Anderson stopped 23 of 28 Detroit chances.

Each team had three power plays on the night. Ottawa did not score with the man-advantage but the Red Wings scored twice with the extra attacker.

After splitting the home-and-home series with the Senators, the Red Wings are now off until Tuesday when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Red Wings Rally for OT Win over Canucks

The Detroit Red Wings scored twice in the third period and again in overtime, erasing a 2-0 deficit and snapping their four-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Gustav Nyquist scored the game-winner with 1:10 remaining in the extra period. The Canucks were unable to chase down a loose puck entering the Detroit zone and goalie Petr Mrazek came out to get it. Mrazek sent a long pass to Nyquist at the far blue line, who broke in all alone to snap a shot past Vancouver netminder Ryan Miller.

The Canucks had opened the game’s scoring with 6:57 left in the opening period. Alexandred Burrows gained the Detroit zone down the left wing on a power play and fed Christopher Tanev for a shot from the high slot through traffic and past Mrazek for a 1-0 lead.

Another power play goal made it 2-0 at 8:02 of the second period. Quick passing got the puck from Bo Horvat in the left faceoff circle to Burrows behind the goal line and back out to Brandon Sutter in the slot for a quick shot that beat Mrazek.

Two quick third-period goals got the Red Wings even.

At 4:25, Teemu Pulkkinen collected a pass from Tomas Tatar in the neutral zone, then turned and drove to the net, fending off defender Ben Hutton and flipping a shot past Miller to make it 2-1.

Just 2:34 later, Tatar scored a goal of his own on the power play, snapping a shot from the right circe over Miller’s shoulder and tying things up.

Miller finished the night with 25 saves on 28 shot while Mrazek stopped 30 of 32 chances.

The Red Wings went one-for-six on the power play. Vancouver went two-for-four.

With their Western Canadian road trip complete, the Red Wings are now off until Tuesday when they host the Carolina Hurrcianes.


Detroit was without injured defensemen Mike Green and Kyle Quincey, who were replaced by Jakub Kindl and call-up Alexey Marchenko in the lineup.

Pregame: Red Wings @ Flames – 10/23

Riding a three-game losing streak, the Red Wings will shake up their lines as they visit the Calgary Flames tonight.

Part of that shakeup is due to a back injury for Brad Richards, who will miss the final two games of Detroit’s road trip through Western Canada. With Richards out and Pavel Datsyuk not yet back from injury, rookie Dylan Larkin will switch from wing to center the team’s second line.

The expected lines are as follows:

Justin AbdelkaderHenrik ZetterbergGustav Nyquist
Tomas Tatar – Dylan Larkin – Teemu Pulkkinen
Darren HelmRiley SheahanLuke Glendening
Drew MillerJoakim AnderssonLandon Ferraro

Niklas KronwallMike Green
Kyle QuinceyDanny DeKeyser
Brendan SmithJonathan Ericsson

On defense, all three pairs are changed up, with Brendan Smith swapping in for Jakub Kindl in an effort to both spark offense and plug a porous blue line. Kindl joins Tomas Jurco as a healthy scratch.

Jimmy Howard gets the start in net for the Red Wings. Petr Mrazek will get the nod to close out the trip in Vancouver.

Game time is 9:00 PM on FSD.