Red Wings may be over salary cap to begin 2017-18 season

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Mar 27, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; Detroit Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou (72) celebrates his game winning overtime goal against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

With the way that their cap situation is looking, the Detroit Red Wings figure to be over the salary cap once the 2017-18 season rolls around.

Detroit’s cap figure currently sits at ~$78.9 million. This includes the $2.56M of dead space from bought-out forward Stephen Weiss, who Detroit will be paying ~$7.5M deferred over the next four seasons. The team also has Johan Franzen under contract still through 2019-20. However, Franzen will provide the team with some cap relief (approx. $4M) when he is place on long-term injured reserve.

Still, it leaves the Red Wings in a precarious position of being over the cap and perhaps forced to part ways with a player via trade or waive.

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Jan 5, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Detroit Red Wings center Andreas Athanasiou (72) shoots the puck past Los Angeles Kings goalie Jeff Zatkoff (37) for a goal in the first period during a NHL hockey game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Forward Andreas Athanasiou is yet to be signed, though the two sides anticipate a deal will be completed in the near future. With no word on how much he may sign for, there is a possibility he’ll be signed to a two-year “bridge” style contract, setting him up for a larger pay day down the road. Red Wings general manager Ken Holland is continuing to negotiate with Athanasiou’s agent.

“I made a number of offers; we continue to talk,” Holland reported. “We’ve had a number of conversations.”

Athanasiou has emerged as a valuable player on a roster starved for offense. His lightning quick speed and quick hands have made him among the exciting young players in the NHL.

The team plans on carrying 13 forwards, seven defensemen, and two goaltenders. However, a 21-man roster may be a necessity due to the cap. Holland also reported that the team’s players who underwent procedures during the offseason — Jonathan Ericsson (wrist), Luke Glendening (shoulder), and Tomas Tatar (ankle) — should be ready to go by the start of the regular season.

“If everybody is healthy when we get to opening day, we’ll probably have to make a move,” Holland said. “I’m anticipating we’ll be over by a little bit.”

Meanwhile, defenseman Ryan Sproul may not be ready to begin the season after recovering from surgery to repair his ACL.