After some much needed rest after being eliminated by Boston in the first round of the playoffs, and after an injury-plagued season that saw them rack up 421 man-games lost (second only to Pittsburgh, with 529), the #Detroit Red Wings organization has started to make some moves to kick off this off-season.
- The Red Wings have released their schedule for the #2014– 2015 season, with the home opener on October 9th against the Boston Bruins. See the full schedule here.
- They kicked things off by signing some more young blood to the team. 21-year old Tomas Nosek, a forward of the Czech ExtraLiga, was signed to a 2-year entry level deal on June 15th. He’s a young center who can also play the wing when needed, and led his team in scoring this past season, good for 19 goals and 44 points in 52 games played. He’s being heralded as a great two-way player, a play style that will mesh nicely with the Red Wings organization, but will need to work on his skating and speed as he transitions to the North American game. He’ll compete for a roster spot in this coming pre-season, but all indications have him playing at least a year with the Grand Rapids Griffins to develop.
- Confirmed by Ken Holland, neither Mikael Samuelsson nor Todd Bertuzzi will rejoin the team for next season. Both players are coming off of rather disappointing seasons. Samuelsson played in only 26 games, good for 1 lone goal and 2 assists. While Bertuzzi’s physical play and play in front of the net were welcomed sights, his numbers weren’t much better. He put up 9 goals and 7 assists in 59 games, battling fatigue and minor injuries all season. He also participated in one playoff game. Both players have expiring contracts that will not be renewed for next season.
- Jonas Gustavsson was re-signed to a 1-year deal this week. He put up tremendously improved numbers compared to last season, good for a 16-5-0 record (8-0-0 to start the season), with a .907 save percentage and 2.63 GAA. While battling a nagging groin injury for most of the season, the same injury that limited him to just 7 games last season, he gave the Red Wings a chance to win every time he was put between the pipes. Gustavsson was seeking at least a 2-year deal, but the organization wants to bring up prospect goalie Petr Mrazek as full-time backup starting in the 2015-2016 season. His entry-level deal expires next summer, and the fear is that if he isn’t guaranteed NHL playing time, he may choose to go back overseas to play.
- The Vancouver Canucks requested an interview with Grand Rapids’ head coach Jeff Blashill, who was recently signed to a contract extension, to possibly bring him on as their new head coach. The Red Wings organization denied their request, as the speculation is that once Mike Babcock chooses to either retire or not re-up a contract with Detroit, that Blashill will be brought up to take his place. Though they will now need to find a new assistant coach, as the Carolina Hurricanes signed Bill Peters as their new head coach starting next season.
- The team is still awaiting word as to whether or not Daniel Alfredsson will choose to play another season or not. He’s stated that if he does opt to play again, he would like to play for Detroit again, presumably for another season. Alfredsson was a good spark to the offense this season, while battling the nagging injuries that many older players experience (back issues, fatigue, muscle pulls). He put up 18 goals and 31 assists this season, good for 49 points in 68 games played. He also got an assist in 3 playoff games. Talks are also ongoing with Daniel Cleary as to whether or not he will ink a new contract with the team. Just a day before training camp last season, when all signs were that he was to sign a contract to play with the Philadelphia Flyers, Cleary had one final chat with Ken Holland and they agreed on a 1-year contract to keep him in Detroit. The low cap-hit of the contract was no excuse for poor numbers during the season, though, as Cleary only put up 4 goals and 4 assists 52 games, in what was another injury-plagued season for him.
- Finally, the team is set to use their last compliance buyout on Jordin Tootoo to release him as a free agent. Tootoo played only 11 games for the Red Wings, and put up a single assist. While his physical presence on the ice was more impressive than his numbers, he was waived due to cap issues, and ended up playing 51 games in Grand Rapids, where he notched 6 goals and 12 assists. The Red Wings want Tootoo to be able to play NHL minutes, even if it is not with this organization.
We’ll keep you posted on any more moves or lackthereof made by the organization as we get closer to the draft. And as always, GO WINGS!