Welcome to The Hockey Writers’ 2023 Free-Agent Targets series for the Detroit Red Wings. During it, we will be looking at a handful of free agents from each NHL team who the Red Wings should consider pursuing this summer.
The latest installment examines some pending free agents who last played for the New York Rangers. The Rangers pushed all their chips in this year by acquiring Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane in their efforts to attain the Stanley Cup. In the end, they fell to the New Jersey Devils in Round 1 of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
- Detroit Red Wings Projected Cap Space: $30,665,278
- New York Rangers Projected Cap Space: $11,762,917
There are some depth options and big names to consider for the Red Wings. Let’s take a look at a few potential options.
Tyler Motte found himself traded to the Rangers before the 2023 Trade Deadline. In a depth role he gathered 19 points in 62 games. He adds grit to the lineup as his 118 hits and 60 blocks this past year can attest. This season was the second straight year that Motte was traded to the Rangers before the deadline.
Related: Red Wings 2023 Free Agent Targets Edmonton Oilers
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Motte fills a need for the Red Wings: more grit in the lineup. He can plug into the bottom six effortlessly. He’s coming off a one-year, $1.35 million contract, the most lucrative of his career. Having set a new career high in goals and points this season, a $1.5-1.75 million contract seems entirely possible. With the cap space the Red Wings have this offseason, they should jump on this depth signing.
Jaroslav Halak has been with three organizations across the past three seasons. For the 2022-23 campaign he suited up for the Rangers, sporting a 2.72 goals-against average (GAA), .903 save percentage (SV%) and 10 wins in 25 games played. Halak has been pretty consistent with a .905 and .903 SV% in the two seasons before 2022-23.
With only Ville Husso under contract, the Red Wings need a suitable backup goaltender. Halak isn’t one of the top options, but is a respectable alternative should the top goalies sign elsewhere. With a $1.5 million contract as his most recent he could be had for between $1.5-2 million for one or two years. Signing Halak would show Red Wings fans that management is all in on Husso as the starter. Halak hasn’t started more than 40 games since his 2018-19 season with the Boston Bruins.
Vladimir Tarasenko was the first of two huge deals made by Rangers general manager Chris Drury to turn his team into a Stanley Cup contender. Tarasenko finished the 2022-23 season with 50 points in 69 games. He is known for his shot and could find a spring in his step with a new organization for the 2023-24 season.
Tarasenko would vault into the Red Wings’ top six. Depending on how Derek Lalonde wants to deploy Lucas Raymond, I can definitely see Tarasenko playing wing to Dylan Larkin. He’d get top power-play minutes so that the Red Wings can utilize his deadly shot with the man advantage. Coming off a $7.5 million contract, I could see Tarasenko commanding a $8-9 million salary. With over 30 million in cap space, Steve Yzerman should send Tarasenko without fear of hitting the cap ceiling.
The potential additions of Motte, Halak and Tarasenko could turn the Red Wings into a playoff team. Whether or not Yzerman has these players in his offseason plan remains to be seen.