Projecting the Red Wings Opening Night Roster: Before Free Agency

Jonatan Berggren of the Detroit Red Wings. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Jonatan Berggren of the Detroit Red Wings. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Now that the NHL Draft has concluded, the offseason is officially underway. And for the Red Wings, this is going to be a very interesting couple months.

The Detroit Red Wings and the rest of the NHL have already begun preparing their rosters for this upcoming season. And in that, it has already been eventful.

There has already been a couple huge trades, some big potential free agents re-signing with their respective clubs, and movement in the Draft. All of this happened in the couple short weeks since the Colorado Avalanche hosted the Cup. And it’s not going to slow down either, with free agency opening this coming Wednesday, July 13.

This could be the offseason that really brings the Wings back into contention for a Playoff spot. With tons of cap room and a stable of assets, Steve Yzerman has the opportunity to make this team substantially better.

So as a fun way to document that projected improvement, I am going to project what I think is the best available opening night lineup with the players currently under contract (not including unsigned free agents), then we will come back and revisit/update at various points through the offseason to hopefully watch the team improve before our very eyes.

For the record, the Red Wings currently unsigned players are Zadina, Stephens, Elson, Gagner, Juolevi, Walman, Dekeyser, Staal, Greiss, Helberg, Pearson, Barber, Renouf, Fulcher, Larsson, and Pickard.

Without further ado, let’s get to it (all contract info via CapFriendly).