Yzerman satisfied free agent signings will improve Red Wings
Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said one of the team’s goals heading into free agency was to improve itself at every position.
And he thinks they have done just that.
The Red Wings have signed five free agents so far: Goaltender Thomas Greiss (two years, $7.2 million total), defensemen Jon Merrill (one year, $950,000) and Troy Stecher (two years, $3.4 million) and forwards Bobby Ryan (one year, $1 million) and Vladislav Nameatnikov (two years, $4 million), since teams could ink free agents at noon this past Friday.
“Bobby Ryan will help our power play, help us score goals five-on-five. We needed a right-hand shot up front,” Yzerman said. “ I think he’ll give us a bump in every aspect. Jon Merrill gives us help on the left side, Stecher on the right side, and I expect him to play in all situations.
“We’re expecting Thomas Greiss to come in and help lower our goals-against average.”
The reasonable, short-term contracts also gave Detroit financial flexibility.
“When you get into the longer-term contracts, generally you’re locked into them,” Yzerman said. “We’re just trying to move cautiously. In the climate we’re in, with uncertainty about our salary cap for years to come (it remained flat at $81.5 million), we just felt this was a good way to go.”
Detroit spent a little over $8.5 million of next season’s salary cap on the five free agents, leaving itself about $18 million of cap space (the NHL’s salary cap is $81. 5 million).
Mantha, Bertuzzi update
Much of the $18 million remaining in Detroit’s cap space for 2020-21 will likely go into signing unrestricted free agents Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi.
Bertuzzi has filed for arbitration.
“I’m confident we’ll get a deal done,” Yzerman said. “I can’t tell for how long or what it is, but it’s both of our intentions to get a deal done, and likewise for Tyler. He filed for arbitration, and ultimately we know we’re going to get a contract done. It may be for one year or (it) may be longer.”
Staal now excited about being a Red Wing
After being shocked when he was first traded to the Wings from the New York Rangers on Sept. 26, defenseman Marc Staal is now looking forward to coming to Detroit and being a Red Wing.
“A lot of the conversation was him (Yzerman) trying to relieve the shock of what happened and speaking about things in Detroit and the area, which I know pretty well already,” said Staal, 33, on www.mlive.com. "I’ve known a lot of guys that have played there that speak very highly of Detroit. So that part of it I wasn’t too worried about.
“I think the next thing was just the opportunity to come in and be a big part of the team and play some minutes and be a guy that’s counted upon every night. I’m looking forward to that responsibility and going in and playing some of my best hockey.”
Because the Rangers were trying to dump salary – Staal has one year left at $5.7 million on his contract – the Red Wings also received s second-round draft pick for the 2021 NHL draft.
“I want to come in and play well, play hard and help the team win,” said Staal, who is 6-4, 209 pounds and a left-handed shot. “Leading by example, if that rubs off on some young guys in how I approach the game and it helps them, then that’s great for everyone.”
Bowman roasted for a good cause
Former Red Wings coach and Hockey Hall of Fame member Scotty Bowman is the subject of a 90-minute taped virtual roast, which will debut on FOX-Sports Detroit at 9 p.m. Wednesday.
The roast will benefit the Jamie Daniels Foundation, which provides education, resources, guidance and support to people battling drug addiction.
Jamie Daniels, the son of Detroit television play-by-play announcer Ken Daniels, died in 2016 at the age of 23 due to complications from opioid addiction.
Ken Daniels helped form the foundation in 2018. Last year, in the first benefit, Daniels’ longtime TV partner, color announcer Mickey Redmond, was roasted live. This year’s event was done virtually because of COVID-19.
The virtual roast will feature former Red Wings Nicklas Lidstrom, Brendan Shanahan, Darren McCarty, Dominik Hasek and Stu Grimson. Players coached by Bowman in Montreal and elsewhere who took part include former Michigan coach Red Berenson, Ken Dryden, Larry Robinson and Glenn Hall.
Red Wings senior vice president Jimmy Devellano, who goes back more than 50 years with Bowman, will also participate.
The list also includes Wayne Gretzky, Jack Nicklaus, Jim Leyland, Dick Vitale, Doc Emrick and Joe Buck as well as Hill Harper and Freddie Highmore from ABC’s “The Good Doctor” and actors Jeff Daniels and JK Simmons.
Former Hockey Night in Canada host Dave Hodge will serve as the emcee.
For those unable to watch Wednesday, the show will be posted on the foundation’s website and shown on FSD many more times.