4 star forwards the Detroit Red Wings need to sign this offseason

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Detroit Red Wings, Tomas Hertl
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The Detroit Red Wings need to consider signing Tomas Hertl.

At this point, San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl may be the biggest offensive contributor on the trade block as the NHL trade deadline vastly approaches.

Hertl is enjoying a career year with the Sharks and is on a current pace to score 40 goals. Hertl has notched 17 goals in 35 games this season, after scoring 19 times last year over 50 games. The 28-year old pending free agent has spent nine years with the Sharks, only recording 20 or more goals three times in his career, including a 30-plus performance once back in 2018-19.

Hertl would be my second choice this offseason for Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings, but I urge the organization to proceed with caution.

History has shown that Hertl is not a bonified top-line goal-scorer but is undoubtedly a capable second-line contributor. Hertl’s skill-set is good enough to push Robby Fabbri down a line similar to the lineup I suggested a bit earlier when discussing Forsberg’s impact on the roster. Still, Hertl has the makings of a consistent depth scorer ranging from 15-20 goals per year compared to Forsberg’s 25-plus.

The San Jose Sharks currently sit tight against the salary cap, having only just over $1 million in wiggle room right now, and won’t see any of their high-priced players coming off the books at seasons’ end aside from Hertl.

Hertl currently earns $5.6 million per season, and after a strong year, will be hoping to sign a multi-year deal worth in the neighborhood of $7 million per season. I doubt the Sharks will be willing to spend that on Hertl, which leads me to believe he will likely be moved ahead of the NHL trade deadline as a rental.

If so, the team securing his services down the stretch will have a chance to extend the veteran forward, but if talks fall through and he becomes a genuine playoff rental, the Detroit Red Wings need to kick the tires on signing him this offseason. Unlike Forsberg, I wouldn’t be willing to sign Hertl for more than four years at the rate previously suggested.