Red Wings News & Rumors: Arbitration, Anisimov & More

The Detroit Red Wings’ offseason, like most teams, is moving forward at leisurely pace now that the initial boom of free agency has come and gone. The biggest move the team made this week involves getting one of their restricted free agents (RFA) locked down, but that’s not all the news Hockeytown has to offer. Take a look at what you might have missed:

Avoiding Arbitration

As you likely know by now, winger Jakub Vrana was re-signed to a three-year deal with a cap hit of $5.25 million. Acquired from the Washington Capitals in the Anthony Mantha trade, the 25-year-old had 11 points in 11 games with the Red Wings this past season. His new deal represents a nice raise over the $3.35 million he made on his last deal.

THW’s own Tony Wolak provided some instant analysis of the deal, and you can check that out here. The deal makes Vrana one of two current roster players that are signed beyond the 2022-23 season (the other player is Michael Rasmussen, who also signed a three-year extension this offseason.)

With Vrana signed, the Red Wings still have $21.3 million in cap space – the third-most in the league behind only the Ottawa Senators and the Buffalo Sabres. Their remaining RFA’s are Filip Hronek, Givani Smith and Adam Erne. Erne, in particular, has an arbitration hearing set for Aug. 21 if the two sides cannot come to an agreement on a new deal beforehand.

Anisimov Coming to Camp?

An interesting thing to follow in the weeks heading up to training camp could be whether or not the Red Wings make some sort of offer to free agent forward Artem Anisimov, whether it’s on a try-out basis or a contract. The reason for connecting the dots between this player and this team? A story was posted on Instagram on Aug 7 that showed the Russian center practicing alongside Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin and fellow forward Vladislav Namestnikov.

While this is hardly a confirmation of anything, bringing in Anisimov on a try-out basis would go along with general manager Steve Yzerman’s desire to create competition for roster spots, forcing the team’s younger players to truly earn their way onto the team. A veteran of 771 regular season games in the NHL, the 12-year veteran has 376 career points while spending time with the New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago Blackhawks and, most recently, the Ottawa Senators. The 33-year-old could add center depth and another experienced voice in the locker room if Detroit opts to give him a chance.


  • The SHL preseason has begun, which means it’s time for Red Wings fans to begin marveling at the team’s European prospects once again:
  • The Athletic’s most recent “Down Goes Brown” column featured a fun exercise that determined which teams could ice the best lineup of players drafted by the team in separate rounds. The Red Wings had the best lineup, built out of the following players: Yzerman (first round, 1983), Sergei Fedorov (fourth round, 1989), Pavel Datsyuk (sixth round, 1998), Nicklas Lidstrom (third round, 1989), Vladimir Konstantinov (11th round, 1989), Jimmy Howard (second round, 2003). That’s one heck of a lineup if you ask me.
    From the article: “The Red Wings built a dynasty in the greatest draft of all-time in 1989, drafting three European stars who’d form the core of a championship. Then they kept it going by landing some late-round gems a generation later. Under these rules, are they going to be unstoppable? Well, kind of, yeah.” (From “Down Goes Brown: Which team can build the best six-man lineup of players drafted in different rounds?” – The Athletic – 8/10/21)
  • The ECHL’s Toledo Walleye and the Red Wings announced a three-year extension of their partnership.
  • Cameron Butler, a winger for the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League, has accepted an invitation to the Red Wings’ development camp.

While Butler did not play last season due to the OHL not holding a season, he does have good size at 6-foot-4, 203 pounds, and he recorded 32 points through 66 games during the 2019-20 campaign, split between Niagara and the Peterborough Petes. Undrafted and 19 years old, he will be looking to earn an entry-level contract from the Red Wings or another team observing from the sidelines.


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