The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/22/13 at 12:17 AM ET
The Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the Red Wings' management plans on easing its roster crunch by making some pre-draft or pre-free-agency trades (the Wings have $10.6 million in Capgeek-estimated cap space, but they're going to spend $4 million-plus re-signing Joakim Andersson, Jakub Kindl, Gustav Nyquist and Brendan Smith, and they may need to spend up to $3 million to re-sign Damien Brunner), but if the team can't move bodies, it may buy out Mikael Samuelsson, Todd Bertuzzi or Carlo Colaiacovo--and she also reports that each and every one of the NHL's 30 teams can make cap compliance buy-outs at any time from 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Final ends until July 4th, the day before unrestricted free agency begins this summer!
The No. 1 buyout candidate is Mikael Samuelsson, who was a non-factor this past season, felled by one injury after another. He's got a year left at $3 million, money that could be well used towards funding a top-six forward.
There's a hurdle, though: As of now, Samuelsson isn't healthy, and that makes him ineligible to be bought out. General manager Ken Holland said earlier in the week that Samuelsson has been told by doctors seen in the past two weeks that surgery is not required for the latest injury, which involved a sore pectoral muscle/shoulder. The best the Wings can hope for is that Samuelsson heals in the next 10 days, though it doesn't take a conspiracy theorist to see that for the player, there'd be motivation to fight against being cleared.
The no. 2 candidate is defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, who will make $2.5 million next season. Colaiacovo was pushed down the depth chart when Danny DeKeyser joined the group in March, and right now, the six regulars figure to be DeKeyser, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Brendan Smith, Kyle Quincey and Jakub Kindl, with Brian Lashoff as the seventh guy.
There's also been murmurs about Todd Bertuzzi, who has a cap hit of $2 million, but here's why I'd keep him: While Bertuzzi was sidelined Feb. 7 by nerve pain in his back and right leg, he gritted it out and returned in the playoffs. Furthermore, he's one of the team's biggest forwards, and he goes to the net. This will be needed next season, when the Wings move to the more physical Eastern Conference. There's also this: Bertuzzi is a shootout artist. The Wings went 1-4 in shootouts after Bertuzzi got hurt last season.
The Wings don't need to buy out any one because they're $10 million below the salary cap. They're going to look to make a trade before the June 30 draft, but if that doesn't work out, buyouts could fatten their piggy bank before free agency.
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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.