As we enter the final days of August, September and the beginning of training camp draws nearer. The fervor of excitement following the Detroit Red Wings’ spending spree in the opening days of free agency has long since died down, and now we anxiously await the start of the new season. In the meantime, there are still some matters to tend to.
The Red Wings have a new goalie in town. What’s he like? What number is he going to wear? What numbers will all of the new players wear!? And then there’s the matter of Detroit’s lone player without a contract: Filip Zadina. What gives?
Let’s find out.
Husso Speaks to RedWings.Com
For the second offseason in a row, Red Wings general manager (GM) Steve Yzerman swooped into the trade market and exchanged a draft pick for a young goaltender coming off of a breakout season. Ville Husso explained to Daniella Bruce and Art Regner of the Red Wings that the move happened quite quickly:
“Everything happened pretty quick on that day. I [was told that] I won’t [be going] back to St. Louis, and then my agent called me and said that I [had] a chance to go to Detroit. I [thought] about it probably like three, five seconds and then I was all in for that.”
The 27-year-old is coming off of his first full season in the NHL. Through 40 regular season games with the St. Louis Blues, he posted a 25-7-6 record, two shutouts, a 2.56 goals-against average, and a .919 save-percentage. The Finnish native was a fourth round pick in the 2014 draft, the same draft that yielded Husso’s tandem partner for this season, Alex Nedeljkovic.
“He texted me right away,” Husso said of Nedeljkovic. “We’ve been chatting a little bit after that. I’m looking forward to [meeting] him first of all…only heard good things about him and how hard he works.” He also mentioned how he expects the duo to push each other and talk about “goalie stuff”.
Husso also talked about how there will be plenty of familiar faces in the locker room, as the Red Wings’ 2022-23 roster should feature no less than four former Blues players, with Husso being the fifth. One thing is for sure: he seems very excited to arrive in Detroit and get started with his new team.
Zadina Remains Unsigned
Less than a month out from the start of training camp, 22-year-old Zadina is the Red Wings’ last remaining restricted free agent (RFA). The Czech winger is coming off of his entry-level contract (ELC) that carried a cap-hit of $894,167.
As you may have heard, Zadina struggled to produce on a consistent basis last season, finishing with just 24 points through 74 games. Through 160 career games, he has 25 goals and 61 points. Since the 2019-20 season, he ranks sixth in points among all players to wear the winged-wheel in that timeframe (Lucas Raymond is one point behind with 69 fewer games played.) Due to his inconsistency over the last year, the sixth pick in the 2018 draft has been a frequent target of trade talk for almost a year now. Due to all of these factors, he isn’t expected to receive a huge payday on his new deal, but he should see a bump up from his ELC salary.
Back in June, THW‘s Tony Wolak projected that Zadina would sign a three-year pact with an average-annual value (AAV) of $1.75 million. Looking elsewhere, Alexander MacLean of Dobber Hockey projected that the AAV on Zadina’s new deal would come in at a little over $1.1 million (the contract length is unspecified). Most other projections out there also seem to hover around this range as well.
Michael Rasmussen’s current deal – a three-year deal with an AAV of $1.46 million – was signed after the 2017 first round pick showed real promise down the stretch during the 2020-21 season. His contract may provide something close to a roadmap for what Yzerman may be aiming for with Zadina’s next deal. With training camp just a few weeks away, both parties will want to get a deal done as soon as possible.
(Update: the Red Wings announced that Zadina has signed a three-year extension, with an AAV of $1.825 million.)
Zadina will still be an RFA at the completion of this new deal.
New Red Wings, New Numbers
The Red Wings announced the numbers of all their new players, as well as a number change for defenseman Jake Walman.
Perhaps most noteworthy are the numbers being worn by Husso and Walman. Husso will be the first player to wear 35 since Jimmy Howard departed from the team following the 2019-20 season. Walman, on the other hand, will be the first player to wear 96 since Tomas Holmstrom retired in 2012. Walman wore the number 8 when he arrived in Detroit after the trade deadline, but it looks like Ben Chiarot may have purchased him a new Rolex in exchange for that number.
Mark Pysyk is also the first player to wear the number 43 following the departure of Darren Helm in 2021.
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- Michael DeRosa targeted PK Subban as a late free agent signing for Detroit.
- Be sure to check out the latest Red Wings Prospect Report!
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I am a Western Michigan University alum whose passion for hockey knows no limits. Dr. Pepper enthusiast. Catch me and my fellow Red Wings writers’ YouTube show “The Hockey Writers Grind Line” which drops every Saturday.