Welcome to another round of the joint TPL-WIIM series of pro/no profiles, giving you all the details you need to make an educated opinion about each of the upcoming free agents. At the bottom of the entry, you’ll find a voting form — please feel free to leave additional thoughts in the comments either here or at Winging it in Motown!
Patrick Eaves, winger, #17
6’0″ :: 192 lbs
6 NHL seasons (2 with Detroit)
Regular Season — 63 games, 13 goals, 7 assists, 14 penalty minutes, -2, just under 13 minutes a game.
Playoffs — 11 games, 3 goals, 1 assist, 6 penalty minutes, +1, 11 minutes a game.
After being traded from the Carolina to Boston, the Bruins waived Eaves with the intention of buying out the remaining years on his contract. This made him an unrestricted free agent, and the Red Wings snapped him up for the league minimum on August 4, 2009. He was re-signed last summer, after a strong first season in Detroit, and earned a modest raise to $750,000 for another one-year contract.
As of July 1st, he will be an unrestricted free agent.
Eaves was part of an early-season rotation of bottom six forwards who found themselves spending some time in the press box. In November, with Kris Draper on IR, Eaves and Drew Miller were flipped for one another for ten straight games (until Mike Modano’s injury).
With Modano out for several months, Eaves was able to get into the lineup for every game; and when Kris Draper was healthy enough to return to the roster — it was Eaves who found himself out of the rotation. Draper, Miller, and Hudler formed the new healthy scratch rotation, seemingly solidifying Eaves’ place on the game sheet.
There was a three-game absence with an elbow infection, and a ten game absence following a collision with Torrey Mitchell, but Patrick Eaves was not a healthy scratch after December 4th…until the final game of the regular season, when he sat out against Chicago. In the six games leading up to the finale, Draper and Miller had swapped out for another.
In the post-season, 8 forwards played in all 11 games. Patrick Eaves was one of them.
CASE FOR EAVES
1) Slowly but surely, he’s solidified his spot in the active lineup, and has proven effective as a third or fourth line energy player.
2) He’s capable of scoring big goals — he’s a one-time 20-goal scorer in this League, and added 13 this season in what was very much a complimentary role.
3) In the past two seasons, he’s come very cheap — possibly due to the fact that the Bruins are still paying him more than a quarter-million dollars NOT to play for them.
CASE AGAINST EAVES
1) It’s certainly possible he knows that his value has increased in his two seasons with Detroit and may seek out a bigger pay day (or a bigger role) on another team this off-season.
2) At the same time, it’s possible that he’s replaceable on the open market or from within.
3) With the Red Wings looking for some things to change after two lackluster second round exits, it’s roster spots like Eaves’ that may be commandeered by a more proficient scorer.
WHAT HE’S SAYING
During locker room cleanout, Patrick Eaves sounded nothing if not confident that he’ll return to Detroit. He knows that he’ll be looking for another contract and said that “I’m sure it’ll get done” when asked if he was nervous about proceedings. Sounds to me like he’s a guy that knows he wants to be in Detroit, and won’t necessarily bicker about the terms if it means he can continue being a Red Wing.
Even with $253k supplementing his Red Wings paycheck, Eaves is probably due a raise from his $750k salary from a year ago. His contributions to the team do exceed that number, and with the rising cap, the Wings should be able to do a cool million for the grinder. It’s just a matter of whether or not they feel they have to.
Internal :: Jan Mursak and Cory Emmerton may be able to make the jump, Tomas Tatar may still be a year or two away.
External :: Upcoming free agents in a similar income bracket with a similar skill set and of a similar age include Boyd Gordon, Marek Svatos, Tanner Glass, Sean Bergenheim, Tim Brent, and Tomas Kopecky (just kidding…sorta).
WHAT DO YOU THINK
Thank you for your votes! They are now being tabulated and we’ll have a recap post later in the summer with all of the results!
Photo Credit: Dave Guralnick, Detroit News