Welcome to Daily Faceoff’s daily NHL roundup where we bring you the NHL’s most important news and rumours every day.
What will Steve Yzerman do with his cap room?
The Detroit Red Wings have quietly had a big off-season. They could also be in a position for it to be even bigger.
After finishing with the league’s worst record in 2019-20, general manager Steve Yzerman has added Vladislav Namestnikov, Bobby Ryan, Troy Stecher, Jon Merrill, and Thomas Greiss, making the team quite a bit more competitive.
Despite all those additions, the Wings still have more salary cap room than anybody in the league. They currently sit with about $18 million in room with three unsigned restricted free agents (Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Dmytro Timashov) to deal with. Once all three of those players are signed, the Wings will likely have around $8 or $9 million left to spend.
Over at MLive, Red Wings reporter Ansar Khan speculated that Yzerman could capitalize on the rest of the NHL’s cap struggles and get a quality player who fell through the cracks on a cheaper-than-expected deal. Some names Khan mentioned are Mike Hoffman, Mikael Granlund, and former Red Wing Andreas Athanasiou.
For a rebuilding team like the Red Wings, signing a guy like Hoffman to a one-year deal would make a lot of sense. They could offer him a lot of prime playing time and then flip him to a contender for a high draft pick at the trade deadline, similar to the likely plan with Taylor Hall in Buffalo.
What’s happening with Jake DeBrusk?
There are still quite a few RFAs who have yet to sign contracts but one of the interesting names out there is Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk.
Heading into the off-season, there was speculation that if the Bruins were to make a big off-season splash it was likely that DeBrusk would be a player involved in a trade. The 2015 first-round pick has finished his entry-level deal and is in line for a pretty significant raise after a 27-goal showing in 2018-29 and a 19-goal performance in the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season.
Over at NBC Sports, DJ Bean speculates that the Bruins might be better off just keeping DeBrusk rather than looking for a deal. The Bruins have an elite top line with two of the best wings in the game, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, but then there’s isn’t much after that in terms of depth on the wings.
In 2019-20, Pastrnak put up 95 points and Marchand had 87 points, and then DeBrusk was third among wingers with 35 points. After DeBrusk, Anders Bjork was the Bruins’ next highest scoring winger with 19 points. Moving him for another winger is the only thing that really makes sense. But if there isn’t a deal out there, keeping him around is the most sensible play.
Bean suggests that DeBrusk probably is what he is at this point — a solid-but-streaky winger who will hit the 20-goal plateau — and that the Bruins would be best to offer him a shorter-term deal because of their difficult salary cap situation.
Chris Tierney, Devon Toews, and Josh Ho-Sang avoid arbitration
Three players headed to arbitration reached deals with their respective teams on Tuesday.
Chris Tierney and the Senators agreed to a two-year deal worth $3,500,000 annually. Tierney is a quality veteran who can help the Sens’ young talent as they work through their rebuild.
Devon Toews and the Avalanche agreed to a four-year deal worth $4,100,000. Colorado dealt two second-round picks to acquire Toews, a very underrated top-four defender, and got him inked to a reasonable deal. This is a huge add for the Avs’ blueline.
Josh Ho-Sang and the Islanders agreed to a one-year deal worth $700,000. The 2014 first-round pick has put up good numbers in the AHL but the Islanders have been reluctant to give him an extended chance at the NHL level. Ho-Sang is somebody to keep an eye on as a trade candidate this year. Surely somebody can give him a real opportunity.
Some other big names still slated for arbitration include Ryan Strome, MacKenzie Weegar, and Tyler Bertuzzi.