5 players the Red Wings shouldn’t bring back next season

The Detroit Red Wings have been going through a long rebuild since Steve Yzerman returned to the organization, so now it’s time to take the next step.

Carolina Hurricanes v Detroit Red Wings
Carolina Hurricanes v Detroit Red Wings / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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With a prospects pool that should see some of the top talents become full-time Red Wings next season, there won’t be room for everyone currently in the lineup to return. But that’s the way things should be if the Yzerplan is to continue to steadily work its magic. 

This doesn’t mean every player in a contract season should go, as someone like Patrick Kane has proven to be a valuable asset for a team that could evolve into a championship contender next season and beyond. Kane may be 36 next season, but if he keeps producing like he’s in his prime and continues to play a primary role throughout these last three weeks, he needs to return. 

But not every pending unrestricted free agent has enjoyed the same high-end productivity as Kane. The names listed in the following slides have been serviceable, but if Yzerman brings them back to the organization in any capacity, he runs the risk of them getting in the way of some high-performing prospects who could otherwise start making their mark in the NHL.

There should be a small exodus from the Red Wings this offseason

If Yzerman believes multiple players are ready to make the jump, they need to be in the Motor City and not in Grand Rapids. Yzerman has built this current squad thus far through stopgaps via free agency and trade, which were necessary if his plan involved properly developing his young talent. 

As with the Kane signing, there are other outliers here whom Yzerman traded for, most notably Alex DeBrincat. Others haven’t worked out to the same extent, and they deserve to be gone following the 2024-25 season, meaning you won’t just see pending unrestricted free agents gracing this list. 

Which players must Yzerman part ways with to free up room for who should be quite a few incoming prospects? Here are five who need to continue their respective careers in a different uniform. 

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