Inside the Article:
Like a terrible broken record, the Detroit Red Wings got absolutely zero luck once again in the NHL Draft Lottery. While they ended up getting the selection slot that they entered the Lottery with the highest odds to receive, it's still incredibly frustrating for GM Steve Yzerman, who said that his plan upon returning to Detroit was to build through the Draft.
There will be several free agents available this summer
The good news is that there are several pending free agents that will be available this summer for Yzerman to choose from in order to strengthen the roster as it is and to push towards a postseason spot next season. Let's take a look at some of the top names that he could be considering.
The most familiar name to Red Wings fans, Bertuzzi was traded from Detroit to the Boston Bruins at the Deadline back in March. He was very productive for his new team as they evenutally won 65 games. While they were shocked in Round 1 against the Florida Panthers, Bertuzzi scored 10 points (5G, 5A) in the postseason, his first taste of playoff action.
The reported issue with Bertuzzi being unable to come to terms on a new deal with Detroit was the length of the contract he was allegedly seeking. Could he be convinced to return to the Red Wings with a more team-friendly deal?
Domi led the Chicago Blackhawks in scoring with 49 points in 60 games prior to his being sent to the Dallas Stars at the Deadline. He would fit in nicely in a top-6 role with Detroit.
James van Riemsdyk
He was nearly a Red Wing at the Deadline, but a reported deal with the Philadelphia Flyers fell through in the 11th hour. During his heyday, van Rimsdyk was known as one of the better power forwards in the NHL in the vein of a Keith Primeau.
The longtime Tampa Bay Lightning veteran already has ties to Yzerman, who signed him to two separate contracts during their time together in the Sunshine State. A two-time Stanley Cup winner, Killorn has a career total of 466 points (198G, 268A) and vast postseason experience.
The Maple Leafs forward who was the runner-up to Moritz Seider in Calder Trophy voting in 2022, Bunting is known for providing consitent offense while also being a bit of a hot-head. Detroit would have loved a player like Bunting in the lineup this past March when they were physically pushed around by the division rival Ottawa Senators in back to back games that essentially sealed their fate as postseason outsiders.
The bruising and extremely physical defenseman, who is about to battle in the Stanely Cup Final with the Florida Panthers, is exactly the type of player that Detroit needs on the back end.
Another right-handed shot, Dumba is also known for his physicality. He's coming off a less than average season by his own standards with the Minnesota Wild, and will be looking to prove himself with his next contract.
Having just wrapped up his season with the New Jersey Devils, Graves is an imposing presence, standing at 6'5 and weighing in at 220 lbs. He's also only 28 years of age, meaning he's entering the prime of his career.
If the Red Wings decide against bringing back Alex Nedeljkovic for a third season in the Motor City, there are plenty of options that Yzerman could look to on the free-agent market while presumeable goaltender of the future Sebastian Cossa continues to hone his skills in the minors.
The veteran Talbot made it clear that he would not be back with the Ottawa Senators, Detroit's Atlantic Division rival with whom he played last season. He has a career record of 218-156-36 with a 2.65 GAA and a .914 save percentage.
With a career spanning nearly 600 NHL contests, the Russian-born Varlamov could provide adequate goaltending for Detroit and a valuable veteran presence for Husso. His current cap hit with the Islanders is $5 million, though he'll have to sign for much lower than that on the open market.
Wrapping It Up: Options abound for the Red Wings
Because Yzerman's stated goal of drafting high and langing a generational talent hasn't worked, he's going to have to adjust his plans and look to build more through trades and free agency.
Thankfully, this offseason will feature plenty of players for he and the team to choose from. Which of these players would you like to see him target?