The Detroit Red Wings have handed 28-year-old forward Justin Abdelkader a seven-year contract extension, the team announced on Thursday.
The deal is worth a reported $29.75 million, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie. That comes out to a $4.25 million AAV until age 36.
Additionally, Craig Custance reports that Abdelkader gets a full no-trade clause the first four years and a limited one in the final three.
And tossing a black cat onto the crackling fire, Pierre LeBrun reports that it’s a front-loaded deal with Abdelkader receiving $20 million in the first four years.
That term is perplexing. Holland undoubtedly shaved a few dollars off the AAV by giving Abdelkader term, but we’re talking about a 28-year-old who set an offensive high-water mark of 23 goals and 44 points at age 27. His previous highs were 10 goals and 28 points set the season before (though he was on a 20-goal pace in the 2012-13 lockout season).
UPDATE: Ken Holland announced today that the team has signed LW Justin Abdelkader to a seven-year contract extension pic.twitter.com/SMgR02djzK
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) November 12, 2015
Ponying up term and a pretty hefty AAV based on last season seems dangerous, when, for the first time in his career, Abdelkader was riding shotgun with Henrik Zetterberg and getting nearly four times more power play ice time than he’d ever had before.
The conditions were in place for him to succeed, as many do when they wind up on a line with Zetterberg, despite Z’s age.
Additionally, you have to wonder what this does to the team’s ability to re-sign their young players down the road, with this and John Franzen’s cap hit eating space for a good long while. Riley Sheahan, Teemu Pulkkinen, Danny DeKeyser, Alexei Marchenko, Landon Ferraro and Petr Mrazek are all restricted free agents this summer.
Abdelkader may need to send Mike Babcock a fruit basket when the first check on his new deal comes through on July 1.
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Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.