Red Wings News & Rumors: Bertuzzi, Free Agents, Buyouts & More

It’s going to be a wild July for the Detroit Red Wings and the NHL. The Seattle Kraken expansion draft, 2021 NHL Draft, and free agency season will all take place within a few short days. Before the fun begins, get caught up on the latest Red Wings news and rumors.

Red Wings Listening to Bertuzzi Offers

According to The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta, Steve Yzerman and the Red Wings are willing to entertain trade offers for forward Tyler Bertuzzi. 

Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings
Has Tyler Bertuzzi played his last game in Hockeytown? (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Pagnotta doesn’t believe Detroit is close to moving Bertuzzi, but it’s not the first time teams have called about the forward. “Some teams to keep an eye on include the Flyers, Kings, Canucks, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Boston Bruins,” Pagnotta noted.

Personally, I don’t think now is the right time to trade Bertuzzi. He just had back surgery after missing most of last season. If anything, Yzerman should wait until the 2022 trade deadline. By then, Bertuzzi will be back to full strength and teams will have the allure of a playoff run clouding their vision. 

Related: Contract Projections for Detroit’s 11 RFAs

However, the forward is in need of a new contract and a one-year deal will push Bertuzzi to unrestricted free agency next summer. It’s a tricky situation since the forward missed so much time last season. Maybe Yzerman would prefer to delegate the decision of Bertuzzi’s next contract to another general manager?

Reported Interest in Zach Hyman

In his 31 Thoughts column, Elliotte Friedman agreed with Pagnotta that the Maple Leafs could have interest in Bertuzzi. He also shared that the Red Wings could target Zach Hyman to essentially replace him. 

“It’s expected Detroit will be among his pursuers, although the Red Wings won’t be the only ones.”

–Elliotte Friedman

It would be a change of pace for the Red Wings to sign someone like Hyman. Typically, Yzerman’s free-agent additions have been on one- or two-year deals – Hyman will likely command a longer term contract. In addition, the forward is 29, so about five years older than Detroit’s core of Dylan Larkin, Filip Zadina, and Filip Hronek.

On the other hand, Larkin and Hyman combined to have an outstanding 2014-15 season playing on the same line for the University of Michigan. Hyman recorded 54 points in 37 games, while Larkin produced 47 points in 35 contests as a freshman.

If the Red Wings trade Bertuzzi and sign Hyman, they essentially get an older version of the former for draft picks and/or prospects. I’m not sure that’s a win for Detroit, unless the return for Bertuzzi is comparable to the Anthony Mantha trade.

Red Wings Buyouts?

Now that the Stanley Cup Final is over, teams can begin to buy out players. Frans Nielsen and Danny DeKeyser are often mentioned as potential buyout candidates, but that wouldn’t be in Detroit’s best interest.

Frans Nielsen of the Detroit Red Wings
Frans Nielsen, Detroit Red Wings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

For one, the Seattle Kraken could select one of the two. It’s highly unlikely, but the Red Wings should at least wait and see what happens on that front before committing to anything.

In addition, both DeKeyser and Nielsen have one year remaining on their contracts. Buying them out now would result in a large cap hit this season and a smaller cap hit the following year. With all the cap space available, a smarter approach would be to waive one or both and let them finish out their deal in Grand Rapids. With this approach, the Red Wings would save roughly $1 million against the 2021-22 cap and not have to deal with any additional dead money counting against the 2022-23 budget.

And finally, Detroit needs to add depth on the left side of their blue line. Subtracting DeKeyser from the equation would only exacerbate this. They might as well keep the veteran defenseman for another rebuilding season and let him walk next summer.

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