Without question, the biggest fish on the NHL market this off-season will be Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos, who is an unrestricted free agent this summer. Stamkos is expected to be coveted by a plethora of teams, including the Detroit Red Wings.
Detroit, however, will need to make some moves of their own if they even want to consider signing the superstar Stamkos. The biggest thing holding back the financially-strained winged wheel right now is the contract of 37-year old Pavel Datsyuk, who is strongly considering retirement from the NHL and has reportedly received a one-year offer from SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL in Russia.
However, TSN’s NHL Insider Darren Dreger is now reporting that Detroit is ‘actively trying to move that one year’ of Datsyuk’s in an effort to clear more cap space.
Interesting, TSN was just talking about Stamkos re-signing in Tampa. @DarrenDreger only mentioned one other team, The Detroit Red Wings.
— Brad Krysko WWP (@BradKrysko) June 3, 2016
If the Wings were somehow able to move Datsyuk and his contract, they’d be off the hook for his $7.5 million guaranteed next season, or at least a good portion of it. They already have three players – defenseman Kyle Quincey ($4.25M), center Brad Richards ($3M) and forward Darren Helm ($2.125M) – coming off the books this summer. The team’s plans for those three in particular remain to be seen, though indications are that at least Quincey may not return next season.
It was also reported earlier on Friday that the team may be interested in signing a countryman of Datsyuk’s, 29-year old Alexander Radulov, who last played in the NHL with Nashville back in 2011-12 and has been playing in Russia ever since.
It was said that the Wings would give him a one-year deal roughly between $4 million and $5 million for said term. That would definitely hinder their chances of going after Stamkos, so perhaps if they miss out on the Lightning star, Radulov would be their second option.