Steve Yzerman might not be done adding to Red Wings roster
Detroit — After a busy offseason, the Detroit Red Wings still might not be ready to finalize their roster.
As of Wednesday, the Wings had 22 players signed (on a 23-man roster) with $9.538 million available on an $81.5 million salary cap.
So there's still room for general manager Steve Yzerman to add talent, if he chooses.
And it sounds like Yzerman will at least scour what left of the unrestricted free-agent market, and continue to explore possible trades.
“There are a lot of players still on the free-agent market,” Yzerman said Wednesday during a Zoom call with the media. “We have a lot of bodies right now (but) I do think there’s room potentially to add, and I would consider it as we go along, or we get closer to knowing when we’re going to start (the regular season).”
It’s been a difficult market for many UFAs, what with many teams having no flexibility because of a stagnant salary cap during the pandemic.
To make matters worse, there’s a good chance the salary cap could remain flat for another year or two after this one, due to revenues impacted by the pandemic.
So teams are limiting spending – or not spending at all – as many free agents remain unsigned.
There’s also the potential for Yzerman to make a trade with a salary cap-strapped team. In that scenario – much like when the Wings acquired defenseman Marc Staal from the New York Rangers – the Wings might also receive a draft pick from a team looking to unload a player because it is up against the cap ceiling.
“As far as the trade market, I’m not really active in that right now, it’s pretty quiet around the league,” Yzerman said. “Certainly we’d be open to listening, but things are quiet right now.”
The last remaining Wings’ restricted free agent is forward Dmytro Timashov, and it appears doubtful he will return.
Timashov is weighing different offers and will probably play in Europe rather than return to the NHL.
“Dmytro is looking around, weighing his options, and is still a possibility to re-sign with us,” Yzerman said.
The Wings claimed Timashov, 24, off waivers from Ottawa late last season.
Timashov only played five games (no points) with the Wings before the pandemic ended the regular season.
In 44 games with Ottawa and the Wings, Timashov had four goals and five assists.
Yzerman doesn't know when the NHL will begin the regular season.
The NHL and the players’ association are beginning discussions on how and when to begin the next season, amid an ongoing pandemic.
Tampa Bay won the Stanley Cup on Sept. 28 after the NHL instituted a successful Return-to-Play.
When and how to begin next season are now crucial questions.
“I’m optimistic we’ll come up with something that works and we’re just kind of waiting for guidance from the league as to what the plan will be,” Yzerman said. “The cooperation (between the NHL and players’ association) has been fantastic. My understanding is they are working to put a plan in place.”
Still, there are numerous obstacles to overcome, including the closed border between the USA and Canada.
Most analysts believe the NHL will attempt a 48- to 56-game season, with an emphasis on divisional play.