Detroit Red Wings: Exploring the idea of reclamation projects this offseason

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

If the Detroit Red Wings keep the checkbook closed and focus on smaller deals, they could still have a successful offseason heading into 2020-21.

The Detroit Red Wings are in the minority group of teams that will be relatively unaffected by the flat salary cap across the National Hockey League (NHL) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Initial thoughts lead fans to believe that it will be a big offseason for the Red Wings.

General Manager (GM) Steve Yzerman has already been tied to big-name players, and signing defenseman Torey Krug sounds excellent, but what if they opt to avoid big-name signings? There is an argument to be made against the signing of Krug even though that seems hard to believe.

While the Ottawa Senators have already cut ties and bought out Bobby Ryan, he could be the first of many reclamation projects, as recently suggested by Detroit Jock City Co-Expert, Bob Heyrman.

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A big-name signing is attractive and sounds like the best plan of attack, but there is still another way, keeping the cap space in a good spot while being cost-effective and piecing together a good team.

If the Red Wings go out and sign and/or trade for reclamation project players or investment players, they will find success.

They could become a hoarder of one-year (or at least short term) contracts, having a grouping of players to offer at the 2020-21 trade deadline.

Recouping value that helps the rebuild could be incredibly beneficial for this Red Wings organization who was decimated in past years by former GM Ken Holland.

The Detroit Red Wings already started this last year, so doing it once again could provide even more benefits to the rebuilding organization.

Looking back on the 2019-20 season, Yzerman was able to find some success doing this once before with the trade for Robby Fabbri that worked out exceptionally well as well as the trade for Brendan Perlini which leads him into year two with the Red Wings, looking for improvements.

Not to mention claiming Dmytro Timashov from the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Cody Golubef from the Senators. While these players may have less upside than someone like Bobby Ryan, there is an opportunity that comes with signing them.

Clogging the roster may not be the best move, forcing some of the younger players to yet again miss out on opportunities for promotion to the NHL level. However, if a few, even just one or two of the reclamation projects work out, it means the Red Wings can ship them off to other teams for an excellent return on the investment.

In the case of a younger player, they could always do what Yzerman did and extend the player keeping him around the Red Wings for a couple of seasons to see what he can do. This strategy may be bold, betting on players to be worth something and taking on cap space, but the benefits seem worth it.

Given the league’s cap situation, there is no reason the Red Wings should not be taking advantage of their cap status relative to other teams.

There will be teams who need to start shedding salary, and sometimes those salary dump deals contain that sweetener. Whether it is a former top prospect, the team did not see panning out, draft capital, or even the player being dumped was once a force in the league.

Maximizing the return on these kinds of trades will be easier; asking for a sweetener for taking on a heftier contract allows the Red Wings to make these investments. It will add some cap hit in 2020-21 and enable them to have assets to move at the trade deadline.

Even if those trade deadline deals are similar to 2019-20, where the return was draft capital, it allows Yzerman to take chances on amateur talent to help stock the Red Wings minor league system.

At the end of the day, the benefit of adding these reclamation projects outweighs cap burdens given the Red Wings financial positioning. While the big-name signings are still exciting and the rumors make the offseason what it is, a quieter offseason might not be bad after all.

light. Must Read. Detroit Red Wings need to avoid ‘breaking the bank’ to sign Torey Krug

Ultimately, whatever Steve Yzerman decides with the Detroit Red Wings should garner full support, looking at what the Tampa Bay Lightning have done in 2019-20 should be exciting for Red Wings fans.