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‘Retirement’ Talk

Ansar Khan of Mlive answers a few questions from the fans...

Q: Do you expect (Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall) to lace them up for the Wings in 2017-2018? I think they are much closer to retirement and have fewer reasons to stick around than most people probably think.

A: I think they'll play at least two more seasons, but I wouldn't be shocked if they hung up the skates after this year. It depends on their health.

Kronwall, 35, was plagued by knee issues last season, which they said can't be remedied with surgery. He withdrew from the World Cup but hopes to be ready for the start of training camp.

Zetterberg, who turns 36 on Oct. 9, has a history of back trouble, but managed to play all 82 games in 2015-16.

After this season, Kronwall will have two years remaining at a cap hit of $4.75 million, but his salary decreases to $3.5 million and $1.75 million. Zetterberg will have four years to go at a cap hit of $6.083 million but an actual salary of $7 million for 2017-18, $3.5 million in 2018-19 and $1 million in each of the final two seasons.

I don't think either will officially retire before their contracts expire and leave the team facing a cap recapture penalty....

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Comments

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People seem to really love lumping Zetterberg in with every problem the Wings have, don’t they?  Holland was a fool for signing him to that contract because he should’ve known the rules would change several years later.  And now he’s an injury problem, because he missed half the season a few years ago.  Never mind that in the two seasons since his surgery he has missed a total of 5 out of 164 regular season games.

Yes, he’s getting older and yes he’s slowing/wearing down, but he’s also consistently been the team’s #1 or #2 scorer every year for a decade (technically he was tied for #3 on 13-14, but his point total was the second highest, since Alfredsson and Kronwall both had 49).

I could definitely see Kronwall hanging them up soon, but I’m not sure I see any reason for Zetterberg to retire any time soon.  You know, beyond some fans’ “he should because I say so” argument.

Posted by Garth on 08/29/16 at 08:48 AM ET

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I don’t think either will officially retire before their contracts expire and leave the team facing a cap recapture penalty….

Why is Kronwall getting lumped into any discussion about cap recapture? His contract is a completely legal 7-year signed when he was under 35 contract, is it not?

Posted by RyanVM on 08/29/16 at 08:52 AM ET

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I am surprised Howard’s and Mrazek’s shootout save percentage is almost the same. Definitely thought Howard’s numbers would be a lot worse. Also curious if any NHL goaltenders have lower than .667 percentage with a minimum of 50 shots faced.

Posted by VPalmer on 08/29/16 at 08:53 AM ET

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Posted by RyanVM on 08/29/16 at 09:52 AM ET

It still backdives, so there would be some recapture hit if he retires early.

Posted by Garth on 08/29/16 at 08:58 AM ET

Colin's avatar

I could see Z retiring with 2 years left on his contract. I don’t see it being worth it for him to stay for $1m/season at his age UNLESS we are actual contenders by then.

Once again though, this scenario isn’t the end of the world because the 2yr term, $6m cap hit, and only $1m due means that his contract will be a target for budget teams. If he goes back to Sweden to finish his career, then we come out of it even better.

Posted by Colin from Ken Holland's new yacht, "Incompetence" on 08/29/16 at 09:21 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

I got excited when I saw an article by Khan about retirement.  Oh well.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 08/29/16 at 09:25 AM ET

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It still backdives, so there would be some recapture hit if he retires early.

Posted by Garth on 08/29/16 at 09:58 AM ET

Ah, I thought it only applied to now-illegal contracts, not ones that were signed under the new CBA. TIL!

Once again though, this scenario isn’t the end of the world because the 2yr term, $6m cap hit, and only $1m due means that his contract will be a target for budget teams. If he goes back to Sweden to finish his career, then we come out of it even better.

The recapture penalty goes to the team that signed the player to the original deal, so trading him to a budget team doesn’t help if he retires early.

Posted by RyanVM on 08/29/16 at 09:31 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 08/29/16 at 10:25 AM ET

LOL

Posted by ilovehomers on 08/29/16 at 09:37 AM ET

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The recapture penalty goes to the team that signed the player to the original deal, so trading him to a budget team doesn’t help if he retires early.

The point of trading him would be that he wouldn’t actually retire.

Posted by Garth on 08/29/16 at 09:50 AM ET

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The point of trading him would be that he wouldn’t actually retire.

Posted by Garth on 08/29/16 at 10:50 AM ET

It was mostly in response to the “If he goes back to Sweden to finish his career, then we come out of it even better.” comment.

Posted by RyanVM on 08/29/16 at 10:02 AM ET

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Unless you’re saying he doesn’t actually retire and he’s loaned to the Swedish team. Which is actually an interesting thought…

Posted by RyanVM on 08/29/16 at 10:03 AM ET

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It was mostly in response to the “If he goes back to Sweden to finish his career, then we come out of it even better.” comment.

Ah fair enough, I guess I just don’t really of him as a guy who would do that.

But yes, it wouldn’t be much help if he wants to go back to Sweden.

Unless you’re saying he doesn’t actually retire and he’s loaned to the Swedish team.

I’m not 100% on the rules regarding that.

Posted by Garth on 08/29/16 at 10:37 AM ET

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Garth,

I have no issue with Z’s contract, it was legal when signed, nothing can be done.  If they(Z, Franzen, Kronner) are done before the end of the term, there is the LTIR route, as I expect Franzen to finish his NHL career there. 

The problem comes that KH, knowing that there may be recapture issues tying a large chunk of the cap, hands out contracts like Abbie, Helm, Howard, E, Neilsen, and Glendening’s like they are candy.  Instead of securing his potential leaders for term, (Tatar, AA next year, Larkin 2 years)  He has given all his flexibility to players that won’t/shouldn’t make the top line of our team.

Meanwhile the youth unless they are automatic top line or 4th line grinders spend their time in GR.

Sounds like a great plan for a non contending team.

Posted by murph1jj on 08/29/16 at 12:20 PM ET

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The problem comes that KH, knowing that there may be recapture issues tying a large chunk of the cap, hands out contracts like Abbie, Helm, Howard, E, Neilsen, and Glendening’s like they are candy.

There’s no cap recapture on Ericsson’s contract because his actual pay is the same as his cap hit every year.  Helm’s while being a stupid, terrible contract, also isn’t likely to have recapture implications either because it’s only a five year deal and he probably will still be playing at 34.  Abdelkader’s highest pay will be this year and it’s only $5.5M, and he’ll only be 36 when he’s done, so there’s likely not any recapture there either.  There’s also basically zero percent chance that Howard retires before his contract is over too.  Ditto for Glendening.

The only one of the contracts you listed with any serious chance of having recapture implications is Nielseon’s, but when you look at his history, he misses very few games (the only significant time he missed was in the first full season of his career) and doesn’t seem like there’s any reason to think he won’t be playing at the end of the contract.

You arguments regarding recapture simple aren’t there.  You’ve listed some bad contracts, but that’s a completely different argument.

Posted by Garth on 08/29/16 at 01:21 PM ET

Colin's avatar

The recapture penalty goes to the team that signed the player to the original deal, so trading him to a budget team doesn’t help if he retires early.

Posted by RyanVM on 08/29/16 at 10:31 AM ET

Sorry, I meant to combine this with him retiring the NHL to play in Sweden a la Pav. In this case the contract would be voided, which means no salary due to the team which assumes the contract and no cap recapture penalty for us.

 

Posted by Colin from Ken Holland's new yacht, "Incompetence" on 08/29/16 at 01:48 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I can’t possibly see Z leaving the NHL to play in Sweden.  He loves it here, he has roots here.  I don’t think he’ll go back to play.

Posted by TreKronor on 08/29/16 at 01:56 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Zetterberg situ is not like Pavel’s, the pay in the Swedish Leagues is not equivalent nor close to the NHL.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 08/29/16 at 02:22 PM ET

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which means no salary due to the team which assumes the contract and no cap recapture penalty for us.

Posted by Colin on 08/29/16 at 02:48 PM ET

That’s not how it works. The Wings will be on the hook for Z’s recapture penalty if he retires early regardless of whether he’s playing for them or not. Datsyuk was a different situation since his was an over 35 contract which falls under different rules.

Posted by RyanVM on 08/29/16 at 02:24 PM ET

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Garth,

I didn’t mean to imply that there were recapture issues with the new contracts, just that the amount/duration along with the possibility of recapture for the other three will tie up a large portion of the cap for the coming years.

In short, KH’s cap management/planning sucks.

Posted by murph1jj on 08/29/16 at 04:25 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

only way out of Z’s contract would be if he wasnt protected, Vegas takes him, and THEN he retires. With that said, I dont wanna see him go yet nor do I see a need for him to go. He is a great leader/teacher/captain and his value is just as much to this team if not more.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 08/29/16 at 06:38 PM ET

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Over the last 2 years combined, Zetterberg is:

- 3rd among all NHL forwards in total even strength ice time, trailing only John Tavares and Alex Ovechkin
- 91st among all NHL forwards in even strength points
- 128th among all NHL forwards in even strength goals

That to me is pretty damning, especially considering that at this stage in his career he’s no longer killing penalties, playing the hardest defensive assignments on the team, or driving possession like he used to, either.

Zetterberg continues to finish at or near the team lead in total scoring due to his high playing time, but in terms of scoring efficiency he’s basically producing at a 3rd line level, barely distinguishable from Helm or Abdelkader. At this point I think Tatar, Nyquist, and Larkin are all clearly superior players and should be pacing the forwards in usage, with Zetterberg being used as a middle sixer.

I don’t think it was a mistake to signing him to the deal they did (it was absolutely a risk worth taking and allowed the Wings to have a great player well under market value for many years), and I do think that Z is definitely still a useful NHL player. That said, I don’t think he’s a $6 million player any more, either, and that’s concerning considering he’s 35 and has 5 more years on his deal.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 08/29/16 at 08:44 PM ET

SYF's avatar

At this point I think Tatar, Nyquist, and Larkin are all clearly superior players and should be pacing the forwards in usage, with Zetterberg being used as a middle sixer.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 08/29/16 at 09:44 PM ET

The sooner, the better, because I’m probably in the minority on this, but I think D-Boss will have his sophomore slump.  But I sure hope that’s only for a very short time.

Posted by SYF from fishing with Vicky Stark on 08/29/16 at 08:59 PM ET

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Posted by SYF from Twerkin’ with Anastasia Ashley on 08/29/16 at 09:59 PM ET

I’m not sure I really believe in the “sophomore slump” per se (I think it’s mostly confirmation bias), but Larkin is obviously the biggest question mark of those three because he has the shortest track record and we know the least about him. I do think he could slide back a bit because I think he had had more good luck than bad last year, but his underlying numbers are good enough that I think outperforming Zetterberg on a per-sixty basis is a solid enough (though by no means guaranteed) bet.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 08/29/16 at 09:24 PM ET

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Posted by murph1jj on 08/29/16 at 05:25 PM ET

Ah, sorry, I misinterpreted your comment.

Posted by Garth on 08/30/16 at 07:47 AM ET

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Z’s contract isn’t a problem in and of itself. 

But in terms of the imbalance of our roster and our cap dollars, he is part of the picture.  We have about $20M locked up in Z, Nielsen, Abdelkader, and Helm for the next four years—that’s four guys in their 30s and likely declining, each of whom is more likely to score between 15 and 19 goals than between 25 and 30.  That’s too much money for aging top-six forwards who don’t put the puck in the net.

There’s other ways you could break it down—we’re spending how much, for how long, on guys whose peak was over 3 years ago?  How much, for how long, on “two-way centers” who’re really defensive specialists?  How much, for how long, on geriatric Swedes (and Swedes and Danes)?  How much for how long on guys who don’t belong in their current role anymore?

Z is frequently the best player and even the best contract in these groups.  It’s less an indictment of him or his deal and more an indictment of Holland’s failure to build around Z appropriately.

Posted by captaineclectic on 08/30/16 at 09:20 AM ET

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I mean, I always figured that at some point Z would transition to an expensive third-line center or second-line LW with 20/30 type production.  It’s clear that that needs to happen, if not this season, in the next two.  The Nielsen signing, in insolation, could even function with that, freeing Z from top-two center duties.

So of course we signed Darren Helm to a giant contract to be an expensive third-line center and/or mediocre second-line winger.

Posted by captaineclectic on 08/30/16 at 09:29 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.