3 pending UFA forwards the Detroit Red Wings need to re-sign

The Detroit Red Wings have four pending UFA free-agent forwards, three of whom should be re-signed this offseason.

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There are a bunch of storylines to hit on with the Detroit Red Wings right in the mix of the postseason race, but looking ahead to the summer is also entertaining. Now, this topic does take into account where the Red Wings currently sit in the standings. Detroit currently controls the second Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference with a 29-20-6 record (64 points). With Detroit firmly in the playoff picture, they'd need a significant collapse over the next couple of weeks for general manager Steve Yzerman to suddenly become a seller ahead of the March 8th trade deadline.

That being said, I wouldn't expect Yzerman to become a large buyer at the deadline, either. The Red Wings have one of the strongest farm systems in the league, so if Yzerman felt comfortable moving a mid-round draft pick over the next couple of seasons to add a player who could help right now, I could see that occurring before he elected to move a prospect who he feels will make an impact in Detroit over the next year or two. The Red Wings could use a defensive defenseman ahead of the deadline if they remain in the hunt. A player like Chris Tanev in Calgary fits the mold.

The Flames are holding out hope for a first-round selection. That's far too steep for the Red Wings, but if they can secure his services for a second-round pick in hopes of extending him, he'd be a nice upgrade to pending free agent Shayne Gostisbhere. With goaltender Ville Husso on the shelf, the Red Wings might find themselves in the market for a goaltender to pair with Alex Lyon down the stretch. This, although a need, seems unrealistic with how many playoff teams are looking for goaltending help; it will only drive the asking price up, which will price the Detroit Red Wings out of things.

All of this deadline talk sort of goes hand in hand with why the Detroit Red Wings need to re-sign a few of their pending unrestricted free agents this summer. The Red Wings are progressing in the right direction, and admittedly so; it's taken Steve Yzerman quite some time to get this team to this point; the needle is clearly pointing upward. It's time the Red Wings look to bring back a select few pending UFAs with hopes of making another playoff run next season.

The Detroit Red Wings need to re-sign Daniel Sprong.

Talk about making the most of your opportunities. Daniel Sprong has totaled 15 goals this season for the Detroit Red Wings, averaging less than 13 minutes of ice time per night. Sprong is a very unique player. He's provided the Red Wings with a rare fourth-line scoring punch off the wing, and he's been interchangeable working on the power play this season. Only three of his goals have come with the man advantage, so he's been widely productive during even strength situations.

Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde recently described Sprong as a unicorn. Lalonde said he hasn't exactly seen a player with this much skill and can cash in his limited opportunities at the rate Sprong has over the past couple of seasons. Lalonde was quick to mention that Sprong will never be up for the Selke, which is awarded to the league's top defensive forward, but his overall offensive skill masks his defensive deficiencies.

Sprong joined the Red Wings this past summer on a one-year deal worth $2 million. Yzerman saw Sprong's productivity last season with the Seattle Kraken, where he notched 21 goals and 46 points over 66 games while averaging just over 11 minutes a night. Sprong has continued that same scoring pace this season and should be someone Yzerman looks to extend following the season.

Earlier this season, I wondered what Sprong's offensive ceiling would/could be if he played top-six minutes. Still, I have realized that his lack of defensive awareness will keep him from playing 17-18 minutes per night, which should keep him fairly affordable. Sprong, 26, has already played with five NHL teams. If Yzerman can bring Sprong back on a two or three-year deal that carries an annual value in the $3 million neighborhood, it seems like a no-brainer.