With the NHL announcing their plans for how the 2020-21 season would commence, I thought I’d look at nine fun ways for the Red Wings to spend their $9.5 million cap space to reach the upper limit of $81.5 million. This is meant to be a fun and satirical piece as I’m not looking to speculate on rumours or potential mock trades, nor am I trying to report anything new. I just wanted to look at fun ways for the Red Wings to spend almost to or at the cap. With that being said, let’s begin!
Trading for Mathew Barzal From the New York Islanders
When the NHL returned to play last summer (it feels so long ago now), Mathew Barzal caught my eye as a superstar in the making. The Coquitlam, B.C. native scored 17 points in 22 postseason games for the defence-minded New York Islanders, including putting home his first playoff overtime winner against the Washington Capitals in Game 3 of their first-round series. At 23 years old, Barzal is arguably a top-10 center in the league right now (I’d be happy to make that argument) and would be an awesome player to watch every night, especially in a Red Wings uniform.
The Detroit Red Wings haven’t decided how to give the occasion the recognition it deserves, but the plan is to have a captain again for the first time in nearly three years.
General manager Steve Yzerman, whose own naming to the captaincy was done at a news conference, wants somebody — think Dylan Larkin Jersey — to wear the “C” during the pandemic-shortened 56-game season. The Wings have relied exclusively on alternate captains since Henrik Zetterberg Jersey retired in September 2018.
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“We haven’t figured out how roll that out, but our plan hasn’t changed,” Yzerman said.
That was one of the many subjects Yzerman discussed during a half-hour Zoom meeting with media Tuesday afternoon, two days after the NHL formally announced plans for a 56-game season.
Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin (71) looks on during the first period against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Little Caesars Arena, on April 2, 2019, in Detroit.
Here are the highlights.
European to Christmas Vacation
The Wings loaned multiple players to European teams, and some, like Filip Zadina Jersey and Michael Rasmussen, already have returned to Detroit. Yzerman said Gustav Lindstrom Jersey and Mathias Brome will be recalled. Moritz Seider and Joe Veleno are not eligible to be recalled from their Swedish Hockey League teams until their seasons are over. Players in the metro Detroit area have been skating at Little Caesars Arena since the start of December.
The Wings can officially begin training camp on Dec. 31.
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The season is slated to start Jan. 13. The NHL has yet to release a schedule, but the Wings will play eight games against each of the Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning in the temporarily realigned Central Division.
Yzerman has seen a preview of the schedule and said there will be 10 games in 18 days in January. That should get guys into game shape quickly, given there won’t be any exhibition games.
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With no fans in the stands — which not only affects ticket sales but also in-arena concessions — the NHL is looking at allowing advertising on players’ uniforms to offset financial losses.
“I think it’s a good opportunity to see if we can’t generate revenue from it,” Yzerman said. “It’s the norm outside of North America.”
Y go blue
Yzerman sported a Red Wings “Michigan college night” hat that had a block M on the bill. “It’s about as close I could get to ever getting accepted at University of Michigan,” Yzerman joked.
Mathew Barzal New York Islanders
Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)
He’s currently an RFA, so I’m sure the Islanders will find a way to bring him back. The Red Wings have already made one transaction with the team from Long Island, sending Dmytro Timashov Jersey to Uniondale in exchange for future considerations on Dec. 11. Even if it isn’t Barzal getting dealt (which in all likelihood, it won’t), the Islanders are going to have to move somebody and the Red Wings are prime candidates to acquire someone.
Trading for Patrik Laine From the Winnipeg Jets
I’m surprised that the Patrik Laine/Winnipeg Jets relationship has soured so much. They seem like the perfect fit for one another. The Jets would have a young superstar who loves scoring goals while Laine would be the face of a Canadian franchise whose jersey could be seen on every Manitoba street corner. For one reason or another, it seems like those two parties are heading towards a divorce, and maybe the Red Wings could be a beneficiary of it.
Did you know that Laine is only 22 and already has three seasons of 30 goals under his belt? He would have four if the 2019-20 regular season didn’t get cut short. He’s already played 300 regular-season NHL games and I don’t know why you wouldn’t be interested in someone of his capabilities. Similar to Barzal, the possibilities of Laine being a Red Wing are slim to none but it’s always fun to dream.
Trading for Matthew Tkachuk From the Calgary Flames
Ok, yes, the Red Wings acquiring Matthew Tkachuk is a fantasy of mine because I love him a lot and would be thrilled to have him on my team. He brings a style of play that you either love or hate and you don’t see it much anymore in 2020. There’s nothing to suggest the Flames would entertain moving him (and it would be silly if they did) but I would buy his jersey tomorrow if he got moved to the Red Wings. Not going to lie, I’ve even considered purchasing a Tkachuk Blasty jersey just because I love the combination so much.
It’s #FreeBlasty time 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Y2IcyF8jIF
— Matthew Tkachuk (@TKACHUKycheese_) November 17, 2020
Seeing the oldest Tkachuk brother play for the Red Wings would be great when the Atlantic Division is back to normal as it would be more meetings with his younger brother, Brady, who plays for the Ottawa Senators (although we’ll see them play against each other in the North Division this season). Honestly, I’ll still root for Matthew because he’s a fun player who makes the league more exciting when he’s playing. If he ever gets to play for Detroit, it would be amazing, but I’m not counting on it.
Trading for Jamie Benn From the Dallas Stars
Again, there is no evidence to suggest that the Dallas Stars are going to move Jamie Benn to the Red Wings, or that either team would make this move, to begin with. It’s just a fun idea that would get Detroit to spend their remaining cap space. But, if Benn were to wind up with the Red Wings for this upcoming season, he’s definitely someone whose jersey I’d buy ASAP.