Red Wings: Steve Yzerman will be busy with RFA players this offseason

(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Red Wings will have twelve total restricted free agents this offseason.

The Detroit Red Wings season is over, and attention has seemingly turned to the 2020 NHL Entry Draft and 2020 NHL Draft Lottery. Beyond the draft, Red Wings General Manager (GM) Steve Yzerman is going to have his hands full with restricted free agents this offseason.

Yzerman will have twelve total restricted free agents (RFA’s) within their organization. This count includes non-rostered RFA’s as well. Most of them will be able to choose to file for arbitration if they wish, but given how things usually go, this will likely not happen.

For those who are a little fuzzy on how the RFA process works rather than a standard unrestricted free agent, let me explain a bit of how it works. The entire process is built on games player’s professional experience and signing age.

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Dan Greene of The HockeyBlawg has a piece discussing the exact specifics as well as provides the charts for an in-depth look at this process.

Players who are an RFA generally are players who are past entry-level but not eligible for unrestricted free agency yet.

A player who is an RFA may also meet requirements to fit arbitration requirements if the player wanted to pursue that option.

Players who are in the RFA position will earn a one-year contract worth at least the salary that they made in the prior season.

Before examining the Red Wings situation with twelve different players, here is an example as to how the system works, using forward Anthony Mantha. He is a restricted free agent this offseason according to the National Hockey League’s NHL) system.

Given that Mantha is twenty-five years old, has over one year of professional experience qualifies him as an RFA for this offseason. He will also be eligible for arbitration if he so chooses. In contrast, someone like Dmytro Timashov does not have a year of player experience, so he is not eligible for arbitration.

Between rostered and non-rostered Detroit Red Wings RFA players, Yzerman will have some work ahead of him.

Looking at the Red Wings roster construction via CapFriendly, the Red Wings have a forward heavy “class” of RFA’s to work with. The Red Wings will have some departures this offseason, hopefully, names like Justin Abdelkader or even Darren Helm.

Here is a list of the Red Wings players who will have RFA status this offseason:

  • Rostered Players
    • Bertuzzi, Tyler
    • Bowey, Madison
    • Ehn, Christoffer
    • Erne, Adam
    • Fabbri, Robby
    • Mantha, Anthony
    • Perlini, Brendan
    • Timashov, Dmytro
  • Non-rostered Players
    • Hirose, Taro
    • Svechnikov, Evgeny
    • Turgeon, Dominic
    • Wood, Kyle

Each of these players will require Yzerman to prepare a qualifying offer at the bare minimum. Given the offseason and cap space for the Red Wings, there should be a few extensions well above the qualifying offer amounts.

Yzerman needs to make sure that Tyler Bertuzzi, Robby Fabbri, and Anthony Mantha all get paid this offseason. If those three are kept around for the long haul, the Red Wings are going to be able to have a leg up as the rest of the prospects develop and bloom into NHL talent.

This offseason is unlike most given that the rest of the season has not unfolded due to the outbreak of COVID-19. It is going to require some interesting tactics from Yzerman to get things squared away, especially with all of the RFA players to deal with.

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The Detroit Red Wings may be focused on the draft lottery right now, but they will need to focus on the twelve RFA’s that are going to need to work on contracts this offseason.