Jake Gardiner GP:62 | G:3 | A:27 | P:30
It is no secret to Red Wings fans the need for a skilled defenseman. With another disappointing season at the hands of the Boston Bruins, leaves Jake Gardiner officially the odd man out for cap reasons in Toronto. After having another bad game 7 where he was the direct result of at least 1 goal (drop pass right behind the net), Gardiner is most-likely going to be in a new teams sweater next season.
Gardiner tied his rookie season (2011-2012) in points with 30, after coming off a career high of last year with 52 points. A down year to say this least. With the constant pressure from the Leafs nation, Gardiner is in dire need of a change of scenery.
Being a great power-play QB, Yzerman may look to add Gardiner to the team. With Mike Green‘s injuries, look for Yzerman to try to sign Gardiner to something along the lines of a 3-year deal worth about 19 million. This would come out to 6.3 million per season, which would be about the range of Gardiner’s talent, and giving his defensive woes. If my next entry proves to be too expensive, Gardiner may be a cheaper alternative route shall Yzerman want another d-man.
Erik Karlsson GP:53 | G:3 | A:42 | P:45
With a transition after a long career in Ottawa, it was expected to take some time to get accustomed to a new environment. As the season went on, he did just that. As a right-handed defenseman and a very bleak defensive market this offseason, Erik Karlsson will have to hear many pitches from NHL GM’s moving forward.
As a UFA, I’d like to see Yzerman attempt to land Karlsson, but for the right price. What that price will be is unknown as Karlsson has a history of injuries that can make any GM cautious of a long-term contract. When healthy, it’s still ERIK KARLSSON PEOPLE! No need to even mention his accoladed as we already know them. He could be seeking a 7-year deal worth 11AAV or so per season.
Ryan Dzingel GP:78 | G26 | A:30 | P:56
For my last entry, I am well aware of other UFA’s that are better players, such as Jeff Skinner, Anders Lee, etc. Ryan Dzingel, who was traded along with another UFA Matt Duchene, to the Columbus Blue Jackets, may be the cheapest option. Yzerman may look to add Dzingel who can play both left wing and right with tremendous speed.
Although he is due for a considerable payday from his 1.8 million cap hit, I doubt he will crack more than 5 million per season. Yzerman could grab one of the better available wingers without having to break the salary cap. At only 27, Dzingel appears to be entering his prime now.
Signing him would help solidify the Red Wings top-6. Dzingel would be an excellent replacement for the void Nyquist left when traded and also give Blashill more flexibility on the 1st and second line.