Red Wings: Justin Abdelkader needs to be bought out by Steve Yzerman

(Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
(Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Red Wings need to be smart and buy out the rest of Justin Abdelkader’s contract.

The Detroit Red Wings rebuild rages on, and the latest announcement from the league amid the COVID-19 pandemic pertains to the salary cap. With changes being made that keep a flat cap for the next few seasons, General Manager Steve Yzerman needs to adjust his plans.

The Red Wings have plenty of cap room and should not be worried like other teams like the St. Louis Blues or Toronto Maple Leafs. Yzerman needs to try and save us some money from one of the former Red Wings GM Ken Holland’s lovely contracts though he has moved on.

If GM Yzerman is to do anything to free up even more cap room, it should be the buyout of Justin Abdelkader and his horrendous contract. The way things stand now, Abdelkader has three years left on his contract worth $12.75 million combined, which could be used somewhere else.

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There is obvious reason for the Detroit Red Wings to want to avoid paying Justin Abdelkader the next three seasons.

With three seasons left, Abdelkader will take home $4.25 million each year for a next to invisible on the ice contribution.

The former Michigan State Spartans winger has been with the organization for thirteen years, and it seems like his time is starting to run out.

The value of putting Abdelkader on the ice is decreasing incrementally from where it used to be.

Looking at the 2019-20 season, Abdelkader found his way into 49 total games being a healthy scratch other nights.

In the 49 games that Abdelkader found his way into, he registered zero goals and three assists for three points on the season. He was a -14 rating on the season, posting an 11:32 average time-on-ice (ATOI) on the season, which was the lowest in seasons where he played more than two games.

Though Abdelkader has been a veteran “leader” in the locker room and assistant captain for each of the last four seasons, it is time to cut ties. Overpaying Abdelkader to be next to nothing in the lineup is not worth $4.25 million for the next three seasons.

What could the Detroit Red Wings do with the money from the buyout?

The original seven-year, $29.75 million contract was the work of Holland, which needs to be taken care of by Yzerman to move forward with his Yzer-plan. Abdelkader is thirty-three years old, and three more years of lackluster performance is not worth the $12.75 million contract.

Saving that money would allow for a few different things; (1) allow the organization to spend more on returning RFA players each offseason, (2) allow the organization to spend more in free agency to round out the roster, (3) or allow the organization to take on a contract with a sweetener in the deal.

The third option seems the most logical given the announcement of a flat cap rather than a growing cap for future seasons. The Red Wings could do what they did this season with Kyle Brodziak and Sam Gagner, but with a player like Patrick Marleau or Joe Thornton.

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It ultimately will depend on what GM Steve Yzerman does this offseason, but it sure seems like the best move for the Detroit Red Wings is going to be buying out Justin Abdelkader.