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What Detroit really has - cap space, developing players and expiring deals

August 21, 2020, 11:01 PM ET [30 Comments]
Jeremy Laura
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Thanks to HenryHockey for taking some time to impart his thoughts on possible deals between Detroit and Nashville. I’ve really enjoyed the “potential trade partners” series, and will be getting back to it soon. This is just a brief respite to do an inventory/analysis on what Detroit has at this point in the rebuild era.

Cap Friendly is a great place to start. Just letting the picture paint itself in terms of roster and dollars committed. At this point, Detroit has 44.5 mil committed to 10 roster players. Let’s take a look.

Locked down - NHL roster players that are signed going into next season.
FORWARD
Dylan Larkin - 3 more season at 6.1 million
Frans Nielsen - 2 more season at 5.25 million (modified NTC)
Justin Abdelkader - 3 more season at 4.25 million (NTC)
Darren Helm - 1 more season at 3.85 million
Valetteri Filppula - 1 more season at 3 milion (35+ NTC)
Luke Glendening - 1 more season at 1.8 million
DEFENSE
Patrick Nemeth - 1 more season at 3 million
Alex Biega - 1 more season at 875,000
Filip Hronek - 1 more season at 714,166
Danny Dekeyser - 2 more seasons at 5 million (listed as IR)
GOALIE
Jonathan Bernier - 1 more season at 3 million
NON ROSTER - players listed as in the minors
FORWARDS
Joe Veleno - will have a chance to start in Detroit
Filip Zadina - will most likely start in Detroit
Michael Rasmussen - out of waiver options
Evgeny Svechnikov - out of waiver options
Chase Pearson - probably AHL
Givani Smith - out of waiver options
Mathias Brome - will have a chance to start in Detroit
DEFENSE
Mo Seider - Will have a chance to start in Detroit
Dennis Cholowski - will have a chance to start in Detroit
Jared McIsaac - likely to play in minors, could surprise
Gustav Lindstrom - will have a chance to start in Detroit
Joe Hicketts - likely AHL
Dylan McIlrath - likely AHL
Brian Lashoff - likely AHL
Albert Johansson - not sure
GOALIES
Fillip Larsson - will have a shot, likely AHL
Calvin Pickard - will have a shot, likely AHL
Kaden Fulcher - likely AHL
Victor Brattstrom - not sure

Summary - this is a “prove it year” for players like Svechnikov and Rasmussen. Cholowski hasn’t really made a huge “mark” on Yzerman. His future will depend on how he comes in. Zadina seems to have locked down a roster spot. Veleno needs to take a step forward. Givani Smith could become a solid depth guy. Seider looks like the real deal. The feeling I got from last season is that Yzerman is deeply focused on development over just throwing kids in the lineup to see how they fare. In some ways he’s protecting them from a tough environment and letting them get minutes and reps in the minors. 3 more years of Abdelkader looks grim, but the organization seems willing to send him to the minors this coming year. Nielsen only has 2 years left and Filppula just one more. Contracts will continue to come off the books.

The “gone guys”. Expired contracts that aren’t (or shouldn’t be) coming back
Sam Gagner - I like him, but I think he wants to try and go back to EDM
Jonathan Ericsson - time to hang them up and get much needed surgery
Trevor Daley - great guy, warrior who gave his body to the sport
Cody Goloubef - probably find opportunity elsewhere
Jimmy Howard - will need to find another team if he wants to keep playing

RFAs that need a new deal
Anthony Mantha
Tyler Bertuzzi
Adam Erne
Robby Fabbri
Brendan Perlini
Christopher Ehn
Dmytro Timashov
Madison Bowey

RFA summary - Mantha and Bertuzzi are part of the “core” at this point. Adam Erne feels a bit like Abdelkader 2.0, but Yzerman may re sign. Robby Fabbri made a positive impact and should be back. Perlini is a bit of a hard luck case. He had 14 goals, 17 goals, and 14 goals in succession the past 3 seasons before last year. With only 1 goal in 39 games, last year was a huge struggle. May have to try and get a job on a PTO. Timashov has 4 NHL goals in 44 games (split between Detroit and Toronto). A depth player, not sure if he’ll be back. Madison Bowey, I have no idea. If Yzerman ops to give him another shot, it will be closely watched.

Detroit has a lot of transitional players. Players who are finding their game (Veleno, Zadina, McIsaac, Seider, Rasmussen, Svechnikov) and will continue to develop. Ras and Svech need a really solid year. There are also declining players (Abdelkader, Nielsen, Filppula, Helm) whose contracts are simply going to need time to run out. I don’t really include Glendening as he’s a fixture in a role and performs in those parameters. Between these groups, you have a lot of areas for internal improvement (some addition by subtraction). It would be nice to have a stabilizing presence on the blue line and some more depth at center. Most of what the team possesses in terms of what other teams would need is cap space and a few extra draft picks. Some of you have rightly pointed out that, at this point, many players just don’t have a lot of value around the league.

Take a gander and let me know your thoughts. We are gaining relief by seeing some contracts gone and seeing younger players step up. Are there areas that Yzerman should make a marked improvement or just be patient and wait out another year of contracts?
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