Red Wings receive high marks for work in NHL free agency

The Detroit News

The Detroit Red Wings were busy Wednesday, the first day of NHL free agency, and it appears people took notice.

A flurry of moves from general manager Steve Yzerman helped the Red Wings land on a number of "winners" lists from national outlets once the dust settled.

Forward David Perron signed a two-year deal with the Red Wings on Wednesday.

The Red Wings added to both ends of the ice, led by forward Andrew Copp (Ann Arbor/Michigan) landing a five-year deal. He was joined by forwards David Perron and Dominik Kubalik, along with defensemen Ben Chiarot and Olli Maatta, whose signing was made official Thursday, along with the addition of defenseman Mark Pysyk

Yzerman started the roster refurbishment on the first day of the NHL Entry Draft, trading for goaltender Ville Husso.

"GM Steve Yzerman entered free agency with one of the largest amounts of available cap space," wrote Bryan Murphy of The Sporting News, "and he didn't hesitate to utilize it. 

Murphy slotted the Wings among his winners in free agency, identifying Detroit as "an Atlantic Division team that could make noise next season." He wasn't alone, as ESPN, The Athletic and CBS Sports were among other outlets who largely hailed the Red Wings' moves.

" ... Yzerman put in work on Wednesday, signing a haul of good players on solid contracts," wrote ESPN's Kristen Shilton.

The Perron deal (two years, $9.5 million) appears to have generated the most positive feedback, with the 34-year-old coming off a 27-goal season in 67 games.

"Even at the age of 33, Perron scored 27 goals and added 30 assists in 67 games last season, and he is still a valuable top-six winger," writes Austin Nivison of CBS Sports, who gave the signing an A-plus. "The only real concern is Perron's age, and he only signed for two years at $4.5 million per season, so there is no risk for the Red Wings there. Detroit is entering the next stage of its rebuild, and Perron is a veteran who can contribute while helping to bring the young players along. Even if things don't quite come together in the next couple seasons, Perron will be a nice trade chip. This is a fantastic deal for the Red Wings." 

Shayna Goldman of The Athletic also called the Perron signing Yzerman's best work of the day, noting it was the moves on offense with Copp and Kubalik where the Red Wings really made an impact. Goldman wasn't as high on Chiarot's four-year, $19 million deal, calling it "a choice, and not a very good one." 

"Detroit may not be a threat in the Atlantic Division yet," Goldman writes, "but this should be a more competitive team that doesn’t face a disastrous second half of the season that likely destroys morale."