One pending free agent the Red Wings can steal from their Atlantic Division rivals

Even if the Detroit Red Wings look to promote in-house, it doesn’t mean Steve Yzerman won’t still look outside the organization for help this summer.

Ottawa Senators v Detroit Red Wings
Ottawa Senators v Detroit Red Wings / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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Zemgus Girgensons, Forward/Buffalo Sabres

Zemgus Girgensons would provide just as much of a physical presence for a Red Wings team that’s finishing just 20 checks per game. One big plus with a player like Girgensons is that he could come right into Detroit and play the exact same role as a bruiser on the fourth line, but one who can surprisingly rack up some goals. 

He’s found the net at least 10 times in each of the last three seasons before 2023-24 that he’s been healthy to play in - he took 2020-21 off - and with eight this season, he may get there once again. But when you watch Girgensons play, his defense, especially the physical nature of his game, jumps out more than anything else. 

He has 132 hits this year, but he’s more than just that type of player who exclusively finishes checks. We know this because Girgensons has been plus-50 in the Corsi For at 5-on-5 over the past two seasons. And despite the Sabres struggling through a lost year in 2023-24, he’s also been on the ice for 19 goals for and just 17 against. 

Girgensons also has an on-ice save percentage of 93.4 at 5-on-5, and he’s also quick to build rapport with any linemate he may have.