With the addition of Todd Bertuzzi to the Red Wings, it’s fair to say they’re done signing folks. As it stands right now, there are 13 forwards, 8 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders. These figures include Darren Helm, but not include Justin Abdelkader (who is CERTAINLY bound for Grand Rapids now). And now to the numbers…
G – Osgood (1.416)
G – Howard (0.716)
D – Lidstrom (7.45)
D – Rafalski (6)
D – Stuart (3.75)
D – Kronwall (3)
D – Lilja (1.25)
D – Ericsson (0.9)
D – Lebda (0.65)
D – Meech (0.483)
F – Datsyuk (6.7)
F – Zetterberg (6.083)
F – Franzen (3.954)
F – Filppula (3)
F – Cleary (2.8)
F – Holmstrom (2.25)
F – Draper (1.583)
F – Bertuzzi (1.5)
F – Williams (1.5)
F – Maltby (0.883)
F – Leino (0.777)
F – Helm (0.599)
F – Eaves (0.5)
If all of those players were healthy, the total cap hit is $57,747,980 which is $947,980 OVER the cap.
Andreas Lilja is all but guaranteed to start the season on Long-Term Injury Reserve, freeing up $1.25M, and leaving the team $302,020 under, which is a nice bit of wiggle room to guarantee a goaltender call-up or Abdelkader to shuttle back and forth from Grand Rapids to Detroit.
Now it becomes tricky.
If at any point Lilja is healthy enough to re-join the active roster, there’s a problem. Ken Holland has said numerous times that he’s interested in keeping 7 defensemen (not 8, like last year), so someone WILL be moved upon Lilja’s return. I’ve long thought it would be Lebda (as opposed to Meech). However, if Lilja’s number comes back on and Lebda’s goes off, the team will find itself $297,980 over the cap again.
Clearly, Lilja’s return will necessitate other roster moves. Patrick Eaves is on a 2-way contract, so he’ll be paid less money in Grand Rapids, but he will have to clear waivers to be sent down. Could he clear? Maybe. Maybe not.
Are there any players on that list that are waiver exempt, you ask? Why yes there is… Darren Helm. I can’t imagine that they’d send Helm back to Grand Rapids – not after two stellar post-seasons. If he hasn’t earned himself a roster spot by now, I can’t imagine what he has to do to make it permanent. However, if they find themselves in a bind (i.e., needing to shed salary to make a bigger move), don’t be surprised to see Helm be demoted — even if its in name only.
But, we’d be naive to assume that there will be no other injuries during the season. After all, Todd Bertuzzi is joining the team. So, no further moves may be necessary if the injury bug bites at the right time.
I’m not one for predicting lines, but I’ll give it a go and see where it takes us…
Zetterberg — Datsyuk — Holmstrom [Flying Circus]
Leino — Filppula — Franzen [2 Finns and a Mule]
Bertuzzi — Helm — Cleary [Crash/Bang/Felon]
Maltby — Draper — Eaves/Williams
I can’t see Williams playing on the fourth line because of his salary, so perhaps he takes Helm’s spot on the third line, with Helm dropping down to share centermen duties with Draper? I have no idea… it’s never what we all expect anyway.