With the 2013-2014 season complete and three months of no hockey to look forward to, why not peek down the road at free agency?
How much money will the Red Wings have to play around with when the re-signing and free agency frenzies begin?
The roster currently sits a hair under $51 million, no form of free agents included in that. The cap limit won’t be finalized until June 30. CapGeek has all of their team pages predicted at $71.1 million, though James Mirtle at Globe and Mail said it may be more around $69.9 million, and the new Canadian TV deal could bump it up a few million.
That gives the Red Wings just over $20 million to use this summer. But keep in mind that the Red Wings will have $3-3.2 million in bonuses to pay to players, including $2 million to Daniel Alfredsson. So bump that number down to $17 million.
The Red Wings are looking to use their compliance buyout on Jordin Tootoo, assuming they can’t find a way to trade him elsewhere (though that didn’t work last season, so don’t hold your breath too much). (And let’s stop with the Johan Franzen buyout talks because Holland has flat-out said no dice.) That would mean they are paying $1.33 million over the next two years rather than the last $1.9 million for this upcoming season.
Restricted Free Agents
These three players had a total cap hit of $2.34 million. All three are deserving of pay raises, though it will be interesting to see how much Ken Holland gives them. Likewise, can you see any of them trying to leave? Sheahan and Tatar proved that they can be constants in the lineup, and DeKeyser is one of the best defensemen on the team.
Unrestricted Free Agents
These seven had a total cap hit of $20.1 million. Don’t expect David Legwand, Mikael Samuelsson, or Todd Bertuzzi to be back in the lineup. There are rumblings of re-signing Gustavsson, and let’s not get into the backlash over the rumors about Cleary potentially coming back.
So if you take Legwand, Samuelsson, and Bertuzzi out of the mix, that’s almost $9.6 million in cap space not tied up in players for next season. But that’s assuming Alfredsson, Gustavsson, and Quincey re-sign; they may go elsewhere, they may retire, they may not be offered contracts.
There are plenty of what-if scenarios. Who knows if the Red Wings will offer Alfredsson another one-year contract or re-sign Cleary/Quincey/anyone. What Griffins will make the jump to the NHL permanently? And how many debilitating injuries will we have to deal with next season?
There is some money to play around with in free agency. Just don’t expect another year like 2008 when they signed Marian Hossa…