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.

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.

Red Wings Eliminated in 4-2 Loss to Bruins

Much like in the previous week of games, the Detroit Red Wings had no answer to the Boston Bruins on Saturday, leading to a 4-2 loss in Game Five of their Atlantic Division Semifinal matchup.

It was the fourth-straight loss for the Red Wings, who were eliminated from the playoffs after only managing to win Game One in Boston.

Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, making his second consecutive start in place of the flu-ridden Jimmy Howard, made 29 saves on 32 shots in the losing effort for Detroit.

The Bruins opened the game’s scoring just 3:27. On a power play, Dougie Hamilton carried the puck down the right wing and threw a pass from the corner into the slot. The puck bounced off Darren Helm and right to Loui Eriksson, who cut to the right faceoff circle and backhanded a chance under Gustavsson’s glove.

Pavel Datsyuk tied things up at 5:19 left in the second period. With Detroit on a power play of their own, Henrik Zetterberg fired a long shot that was knocked down by Boston goalie Tuukka Rask. Johan Franzen was on the doorstep to sweep the puck to Datsyuk, who was driving in from the left wing to snap a shot into the back of the net.

Boston captain Zdeno Chara put the Bruins back out in front with just four seconds left in the period, blasting a shot from the top of the right circle past Gustavsson on another power play.

Milan Lucic made it 3-1 at 4:27 of the third. Torey Krug picked off an attempted outlet pass by Franzen at the Detroit blue line and carried it down low on the left wing before sending it to the front of the net where Lucic was wide open to knock a shot past Gustavsson.

Zetterberg would give the Red Wings hope with 3:52 remaining, fighting off Chara and getting to a loose puck at the bottom of the left faceoff circle, then lifting a no-angle shot into the far corner past Rask to make it 3-2.

With 16 seconds left, Jarome Iginla would close things out with an empty net goal.

Rask finished the night with 31 saves on 33 shots.

The Red Wings scored on one of their seven power play tries while Boston scored with the man advantage on two of six attempts.


Defenseman Xavier Ouellet made his NHL playoff debut, replacing Jakub Kindl in the Detroit lineup… Goaltender Jake Paterson was a healthy scratch as Howard was well enough to back up Gustavsson… Daniel Alfredsson returned after missing two games with a back injury, replacing Todd Bertuzzi.

Red Wings Dropped by Bruins in Season’s First Loss

The Detroit Red Wings couldn’t get anything going against the defending Eastern Conference Champion Boston Bruins on Saturday night, dropping a 4-1 decision in their first loss of the 2013-14 regular season.

Team captain Henrik Zetterberg scored Detroit’s only goal of the game as the Bruins stifled their offense and – at times – turned their defense inside out.

Livonia-native and former Michigan State Spartan Torey Krug opened the game’s scoring for Boston at 9:11 of the first period. Just 15 seconds into a power play, Krug was left uncovered in the high slot to take a pass from Milan Lucic and blast a shot through a screen by Zdeno Chara and past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

Zetterberg would tie things up with 3:11 left in the period. After Pavel Datsyuk gained the puck in the neutral zone, Justin Abdelkader drove to the net with it, putting a shot on Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask. Abdelkader whiffed on his own rebound but Zetterberg got to it and snapped a shot past Rask to make it 1-1.

Brad Marchand would put the Bruins back in front only 36 seconds into the middle frame. Racing down the right wing, Marchand snapped a shot off the far post past Howard and into the net.

At 7:58 of the period Jordan Caron made it 3-1. After a series of giveaways by the Detroit defenders, Adam McQuaid worked the puck down to Reilly Smith in the slot, who passed it off to Caron in the left circle for a wrister past Howard.

Chara rounded out the scoring with 7:43 remaining in the third period, sneaking in behind defenseman Brendan Smith in the slot to take a feed from Krug and put a backhander past Howard to put the score at 4-1.

The Bruins scored twice on four power plays. Detroit had two chances with the extra attacker on the night.

Howard finished the night with 33 saves on 37 shots. Rask stopped 25 of 26 Detroit chances.

Having completed three games in four nights to start the season, the Red Wings are now off until next Thursday when they host the Phoenix Coyotes.


After sitting for the first two games as a healthy scratch, Tomas Tatar swapped in for Mikael Samuelsson on the Red Wings’ fourth line.