Who’s leaving? Who’s staying? A Red Wings roster forecast

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Detroit left wing Tomas Tatar led the team in goals (25) last season.

Detroit — The festivities surrounding Joe Louis Arena’s closing are over — as is the Red Wings’ playoff streak.

That was known late last month when the Red Wings were officially eliminated after a streak of 25 consecutive seasons in the playoffs.

But it came into stark focus Monday when the regular season ended and attention turned to NHL playoff matchups.

So how to make sure the Red Wings aren’t in this position next year?

They’ll have plenty of time to figure it out, and many options to strengthen and change the look of the roster.

Trades, free agent signings, the entry draft, the expansion draft.

“The league is really close,” general manager Ken Holland said. “If you can make a couple right moves and have some things happen to your team, you can make a little move and sometimes it doesn’t take a much of a move to get into the thick of things.”

So, which of the Red Wings who ended on the roster Sunday will return on opening night when the 2017-18 season begins at Little Caesars Arena?

Four Wings head back to Grand Rapids for playoff push

Good question.

With Holland expected to be aggressive on the trade market, and the expansion draft looming with the Vegas Golden Knights entering the league (every team will lose one player in the draft, helping stock the Vegas roster), there will be changes.

The Wings have 11 selections in the entry draft, also, which offers the potential to also make trades, if Holland so chooses.

Here’s an early look at who could stay or go:

Likely staying


Petr MrazekAGE: 25. CONTRACT: Ends 2018, $4 million per. STATS: 18-21-9, .901 SVS, 3.04 GAA. Expected to be the goaltender of the present and future, Mrazek had a miserable season. Tough decision who to protect/save in expansion draft, but Mrazek’s youth likely wins out over Howard.


Justin AbdelkaderAGE: 30. CONTRACT: Ends 2023, $4.25 million per. STATS: 64 games, 7 goals, 14 assists. Injuries didn’t help, but Abdelkader just didn’t produce offensively as expected. One of the team’s few physical, big forwards, he’s not going anywhere.

Anthony ManthaAGE: 22. CONTRACT: Ends 2018, $863,333 per. STATS: 60 games, 17 goals, 19 assists. Mantha certainly showed he has the ability to score goals, and isn’t afraid to stick up for himself or teammates. A concern is his ability to play hard every game.

Henrik Zetterberg

Henrik ZetterbergAGE: 36. CONTRACT: Ends 2021, $6.08 million per. STATS: 82 games, 17 goals, 51 assists. No second half slump this season. None at all. Simply put, Zetterberg was the Red Wings’ best player from Day One of training camp.

Frans NielsenAGE: 32. CONTRACT: Ends 2022, $5.25 million per. STATS: 79 games, 17 goals, 24 assists. The key free agent signing from last summer didn’t overwhelm anyone, but didn’t disappoint either. Probably what everyone expected, a good, steady pro.

Dylan LarkinAGE: 20. CONTRACT: Ends 2018, $925,000. STATS: 80 games, 17 goals, 15 assists. Opposing teams appeared to catch up to Larkin this season. Now, it’s his turn to counter. Will play center from here on, which could help the development.

Andreas AthanasiouAGE: 22: CONTRACT: restricted free agent. STATS: 64 games, 18 goals, 11 assists. Produced some electrifying goals with his otherworldly speed but disappointed, too, with his inability to compete at an NHL level nightly. Athanasiou is part of the core, but there’s maturing to get done.

Tomas NosekAGE: 24. CONTRACT: Ends 2018, $612,500 per. STATS: 11 games, 1 goal, 0 assists. Compared to a year ago when Nosek came up from Grand Rapids, he looked faster and stronger. He’s always carried himself like a pro, which will likely translate to an NHL job next season.


Niklas KronwallAGE: 36. CONTRACT: Ends 2019, $4.75 million per. STATS: 57 games, 2 goals, 11 assists. Had another down season statistically, and his troublesome knee continues to be an issue. Kronwall isn’t going anywhere, but it’s fair to wonder whether he’ll able to finish out his contract.

Danny DeKeyserAGE: 27. CONTRACT: Ends 2022, $5 million per. STATS: 82 games, 4 goals, 8 assists. Given a long-term contract last summer, DeKeyser fell off his usual production and dependability. Still, he isn’t going anywyhere; at least for now, very much part of the nucleus.

Jonathan EricssonAGE: 33. CONTRACT: Ends 2020, $4.25 million per. STATS: 51 games, 1 goals, 8 assists. The Red Wings value Ericsson’s size (6-foot-5), skating ability and defensive presence. So fans venting about his contract and spot on the roster will have more time to scream.

On The Bubble


Jimmy HowardAGE: 33. CONTRACT: Ends 2019, $5.291 million per season. STATS: 10-11-1, .927 SVS, 2.10 GAA. Very similar to last spring. The Red Wings would rather not have two No. 1 caliber goalies, especially with Howard’s contract. But the trade market is tight — and Howard was really good this season.


Gustav NyquistAGE: 27. CONTRACT: Ends 2019, $4.75 million. STATS: 76 games, 12 goals, 36 assists. Maybe Nyquist isn’t a goal scorer, but rather a playmaker, someone who creates offense for others. Regardless, the organization will run out of patience ultimately if he isn’t more consistent offensively.

Riley SheahanAGE: 25. CONTRACT: Ends 2018, $2.075 million. STATS: 80 games, 2 goals, 11 assists. Didn’t score a goal until the final game of the season. Had a miserable season, offensively. Wouldn’t be shocking to see Vegas pick him in the expansion draft.

Tomas TatarAGE: 26. CONTRACT: restricted free agent. STATS: 82 games, 25 goals, 21 assists. A dreary first half, and exceptional second half. Tatar is in this column simply because if the Red Wings are to acquire a top-tier defenseman, they’ll have to dangle a player of this caliber in a trade.

Luke GlendeningAGE: 27. CONTRACT: Ends 2021, $1.8 million per. STATS: 74 games, 3 goals, 11 assists. Glendening didn’t make an impact at either end of the ice and begins a four-year contract next season. He’ll be exposed in the expansion draft, but Vegas isn’t likely to select him.

Darren HelmAGE: 30. CONTRACT: Ends 2021, $3.85 million per. STATS: 50 games, 8 goals, 9 assists. Helm continues to be marred with injuries that have cut into so many of his seasons. Will likely be exposed in the expansion draft, but his age and contract will likely scare off Vegas.


Nick JensenAGE: 26. CONTRACT: Ends 2019, $812,500 per. STATS: 49 games, 4 goals, 9 assists. Jensen impressed, was better defensively than thought, but it’s likely he’ll be exposed in the expansion draft and Vegas could do worse than having Jensen on its roster.

Mike Green

Mike GreenAGE: 31. CONTRACT: Ends 2018, $6 million per. STATS: 72 games, 14 goals, 22 assists. Green had the type of season the Red Wings envisioned when they signed him, as he became more comfortable here. But with the organization strapped by the salary cap, maybe they trade him with only one year left on his contract?

Xavier OuelletAGE: 23. CONTRACT: restricted free agent. STATS: 66 games, 3 goals, 9 assists. Steady player who does many things fine, but doesn’t excel in any one area. Could be a player that interests an expansion team.

Ryan SproulAGE: 24. CONTRACT: Ends 2018, $625,000 per. STATS: 27 games, 1 goal, 6 assists. A lost season, basically, as Sproul couldn’t crack the lineup, then injured his knee. Has offensive ability, but consistency is an issue.

Likely departing


Drew MillerAGE: 33. CONTRACT: Unrestricted free agent. STATS: 55 games, 5 goals, 2 assists. The Red Wings waived Miller earlier in the season and ultimately sent him to Grand Rapids before returning to the NHL.

Matt LoritoAGE: 26. CONTRACT: Ends 2018, $637,500. STATS: 2 games, 0 goals, 1 assist. Provides good organizational depth and still might be an NHL contributor down the line. But difficult to envision him on the opening night roster next season with the Red Wings.

Ben StreetAGE: 30. CONTRACT: unrestricted free agent. STATS: 6 games, 0 goals, 1 assist. Provides organizational depth, capable of filling in for spurts at the NHL level.


Robbie RussoAGE: 24. CONTRACT: restricted free agent. STATS: 19 games, 0 goals, 0 assists. Russo still has a future with the Red Wings. He just needs seasoning in Grand Rapids, and roster.