Breaking down which offensive free agents make most sense for the Detroit Red Wings.
Who fits, who doesn’t?
It’s no secret that the Detroit Red Wings need offense. They were ranked last in the NHL in goals scored and goals per game, and were 29th on the power play.
I have the mindset that the Red Wings need to continue building through the draft until they’re better able to compete, and 2020-21 doesn’t feel like the year they will so they shouldn’t pay big money for free agents.
With that in mind, I’m combing through the list of offensive free agents that might be suitable for the Red Wings shared earlier this week by Detroit News writer Ted Kulfan and refining it further.
On the list includes: Taylor Hall (Arizona), Vladislav Namestnikov (Colorado), Evgenii Dadonov (Florida), Alex Galchenyuk (Minnesota), Tyler Toffoli (Vancouver), Tomas Nosek (Las Vegas), Mikael Granlund (Nashville), Erik Haula (Florida) and Jesper Fast (New York Rangers).
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Which ones make the most sense for Detroit?
Well let’s eliminate Hall (will want to play for a contender), Hoffman (too expensive), Toffoli (likely resigning with the Canucks), Granlund (expensive), Nosek (not productive enough) and Dadonov (likely wants to play for a contender). Of the remaining list, here’s my top choices and why they make the most sense to join the Red Wings next season.
General manager Steve Yzerman drafted Namestinkov in 2011, and the guy lives in the Detroit area during the offseason. Don’t tell me that doesn’t play into decisions, just ask Lions general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia. Familiar could be key in landing the steady forward (17 goals last season).
Galchenyuk is the Fabbri flyer. He’s only 26 and still hasn’t reached lived up to expectations. He was pricey with a $4.9M cap hit last season, but when you only score eight goals, that price should drop. Yzerman has shown he likes to take chances on young talent who have been forgotten or might have untapped potential. This could be another opportunity to swing for the fences.
He fits the bill of young and cheap enough with higher ceiling than some of the others. He had 29 goals two seasons ago and would be a nice bridge-the-gap signing.
Better to be too early than too late. Typically, this goes for letting someone loose, but in this case it’s seeing if Fast can break out offensively. He’s slightly younger than some of the others listed above and will come at a price point Yzerman can be comfortable with on the short-term. He’s more likely another Brendan Perlini, but a test year when the team isn’t expected to compete makes sense.