Detroit Red Wings Re-Sign Miller, Make Offers to Other RFA’s
The Detroit Red Wings have made some moves for their team before free agency starts on Friday. They have re-signed Drew Miller to a one year deal. Darren Helm was offered a contract, but rejected it and is going to test the open market. Along with that, Detroit has made offers to the nine restricted free agents. Detroit traded away Pavel Datysuk’s contract to Arizona, so the cap space is at $18 million now and Detroit will want to get these players signed before Friday. Each of the nine players were offered a contract and while no players have re-signed, there aren’t any signs pointing that any of the players won’t be returning to the organization for the 2016-2017 season. Let’s breakdown the re-signing of Drew Miller and the nine players who could end up back in Detroit.
Drew Miller – LW
Drew Miller is back for his eighth year in the D and while he is known for being a penalty killer, Miller hasn’t produced much of anything since being in Detroit. He has scored 51 goals, dished out 49 assists for 100 points with a -18 rating in his 449 games in Detroit. Miller can help Detroit out on the penalty kill for another year. We will have to see if Detroit will find a player in Grand Rapids that can replace Miller in 2017.
Danny DeKeyser – D
DeKeyser left Western Michigan and had offers from many teams entering the league in 2012. He chose his hometown team Detroit Red Wings and has been a solid defenseman since joining the team. He has 14 goals and 61 assists for 75 points along with a 27 rating. He has been on the same line as Kyle Quincey for most of last season, but with Quincey gone he will have to find a new buddy if he returns to Detroit next season. DeKeyser is 26 and could be a top line defenseman for the team in just a few years.
Petr Mrazek – G
Mrazek looked to take the starting job from Jimmy Howard this year and while he did slump at the worst time and played in only three of the five games in the playoffs, Mrazek seems to be the leading candidate to start next season. Mrazek had his best year yet, going 27-16-6 with a 92% save percentage and four shutouts. Detroit plans to have him start as they are trying to trade Jimmy Howard before the season starts and Mrazek will be a better and cheaper option. He is also only 24, so he will have even more time to improve and become a solid goalie.
Teemu Pulkkinen – RW
Pulkkinen saw more playing time in Detroit this year, moving up from 31 to 36 games and he has improved his game. His shot is powerful and gives Detroit a strong weapon on the fourth line. He had six goals and assists last year for 12 points with a 2 rating. Pulkkinen didn’t get sent down to Grand Rapids at all last year, showing him that he is worthy to be in the NHL, just not as a regular just yet. Pulkkinen has been rumored to be packaged in some trade scenarios, so there is no certainty that he will play for Detroit next year even if they bring him back.
Alexey Marchenko – D
Another Griffin that got moved up to the Red Wings last year without ever getting sent down. Marchenko played in 66 games and got two goals with nine assists for 11 points and a -5 rating. While his rating is negative, Marchenko is young as a 24 year old and with Quincey leaving, that only gives him more of a chance to play and get better. Marchenko could see time in Grand Rapids this year, but if he stays in Detroit for all 82 games that won’t come to a shock to many fans.
Colin Campbell – C
Now we are hitting players that will most likely stay in Grand Rapids, but could play a few games in Detroit in 2016. Campbell had 10 goals and eight assists for 18 points and a 12 rating. Campbell did have a low amount of points, but with a good /- rating, that will help him out and give him some slack for his amount of points. He can be a good depth player in Grand Rapids and can be a fourth, third and maybe a second line player.
Ryan Sproul – D
Sproul had his best season last year, getting 12 goals and 23 assists for 35 points and a 0 rating. In his career, Sproul has had only one positive year and many negative and zero years. His game has improved offensively, but it seems that he is on the ice for many of the times opponents score, so his defensive skills must improve if he wants to play in the NHL. Being only 23, Sproul has a lot of time to improve that skill and he could be good enough to move to the NHL at a young age still.
Jared Coreau – G
Coreau seems to be the next possible backup goalie for the Red Wings. He went 29-15-2 and had a 92% save percentage with six shutouts. Coreau is 24 as well, so Detroit has two good goalies who are under 25 and can be a good duo if Coreau is called up. If Jimmy Howard gets traded, then expect Coreau to get brought up. He was called up to the Red Wings a few times last year, but never hit the ice. Coreau could also learn and gain a lot if he stays another year in Grand Rapids before replacing Howard in 2017.
Mitch Callahan – RW
Callahan is another player who needs more time to develop. He had 19 goals and 13 assists last year for 32 points and a 3 rating, so he isn’t a bad player stats wise, but Detroit has better players than him on the team already. If there was another team that could use a fourth line right-winger, he could make their team. He has done fine in Grand Rapids the past two years, getting 70 points in the two years total. He just isn’t needed up in Detroit just yet.
Louis-Marc Aubry – C
The final player offered a contract was Aubry. A 24 year old center who has stepped up from 2014. He came close to doubling his point total, going from 16 to 29 points. He scored 17 times and had 12 assists last year with a 8 rating. Aubry is somewhat like Callahan, can put up some numbers, but just isn’t ready for the NHL yet. Aubry is going to have to get around 35-40 points next year for Detroit to bring him up in 2017, but for now if he returns he will have to play for the Griffins in Grand Rapids.