Red Wings need to buy out Justin Abdelkader or Frans Nielsen

The Detroit Red Wings need to buy out either Justin Abdelkader or Frans Nielsen, clearing a spot on the organization’s roster.

While the quest for the Stanley Cup continues and the Detroit Red Wings continue to sit on the sidelines, they will continue to prep for the offseason. They are in a good spot cap-wise; they could benefit from buying out one of their forwards.

The Red Wings should buy out forward Justin Abdelkader or Frans Nielsen to reduce some cap space and open up a roster spot. Given that the organization have some young talent that could get a chance in the NHL this year, having that extra spot might be even more beneficial.

As it stands, the Red Wings have a projected cap hit of around $46.83 million, with about $34.68 million in projected cap space. The hope is that some of this gets eaten up by an Anthony Mantha extension and a strong free agency push, possibly a big-name defenseman.

The organization does have a bunch of restricted free agents to attend too, but conducting a buy out could open up some more space with a burden over the next few seasons.

Since both Abdelkader and Nielsen are over the age of 26, the Red Wings could buy them out at two-thirds of their contract value over double the term of their remaining contract length.

This could get beneficial for decreasing their cap hits while also freeing up a roster spot. Take a look at each player’s case: (Information courtesy of CapFriendly’s buyout calculator)

Justin Abdelkader

If the Red Wings were to buy out Abdelkader, he would be owed $9,500,000, but a buyout would save the Red Wings $3,166,667, carrying an annual cost of $1,055,556. This would be paid out over a six-year term.

The organization has not seen production out of Abdelkader; he has been invisible when he was actually in the lineup.

The Red Wings could eliminate Abdelkader’s presence on the roster, making it so that they could provide playing time to someone on the cusp of making the team. Rather than an old veteran clogging the bottom of the lineup, the Red Wings could phase in younger talent.

Abdelkader seems like the better option for a buyout compared to Nielsen; Abdelkader’s buyout may be longer, but it is more beneficial as the use for Abdelkader in the lineup has significantly diminished.

Frans Nielsen

If the Red Wings were to buy out Nielsen, he would be owed $4,000,000, but the buyout would save the Red Wings $1,333,333, carrying an annual cost of $666,667. This smaller amount would be paid out over a four-year term.

He has more of a use than Abdelkader, a centerman who can be buried in the bottom of the Red Wings lineup. The lack of production is frustrating, but he still offers more value than Abdelkader.

However, buying out Nielsen would free up a centerman position, and Michael Rasmussen might be chomping at the bit to get a chance to prove himself at the NHL level.

The Detroit Red Wings will have some decisions to make this offseason, and buying out Justin Abdelkader, or Frans Nielsen should be one of them.