The annual National Hockey League (NHL) Entry Draft is this Wednesday and Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee.  Round 1 will be on Wednesday night, with rounds 2-7 on Thursday.

Your Detroit Red Wings have two picks in the first round, at pick #9 and #17.  And they have a total of ten picks over the two-day Draft.

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But just as importantly (if not more), NHL free agency starts this Saturday.  The Red Wings have 15 skaters signed for next season.  But they have seven unrestricted free agents (among them forwards Pius Suter and Adam Erne and defensemen Jordan Oesterle and Robert Hagg) and three others who are restricted free agents (Joe Veleno, Matt Luff, and Gustav Lindstrom).

The good news is that the Wings have plenty of salary cap room entering free agency.  According to, Detroit has more than $30 million to spend this summer.  They're even below the salary floor of just over $60 million.

So knowing that, who can the Wings get to help them end the seven year playoff drought?  They really have two or three options:


They could afford two top-level free agents with the cap room they have.  Patrick Kane, Ryan O'Reilly, and Vladimir Tarasenko are available.  As are defensemen Matt Dumba and Oliver Ekman-Larsson.  All could help the Wings immediately.


They can also use the money to sign lesser free agents but get more than just two guys.  They did this last year with the signings of Dominik Kubalik, David Perron, Andrew Copp, and Ben Chiarot.  That was a mixed success, largely due to injuries.  They also need more physical toughness on this roster.  You saw a lack of it this past season.


Other than Pius Suter and maybe Jordan Oesterle or Magnus Hellberg,  I'm not sure I'd sign any of their unrestricted free agents to significant money.  None are good enough to warrant more than a two-year deal at most.

Especially when you have to commit big money in another who, you ask???


Forward Lucas Raymond and defenseman Moritz Seider (pictured above) are restricted free agents next summer.  And therefore, IMO, you must extend them now to keep them from getting a ridiculous offer from another team that you'll have to match.

And the Red Wings will have to match any offer on the table.  Even though Raymond struggled at times this past season, he is part of the present and future of the team on the frontline.

But he's not as important as Seider,  This guy is the heir apparent to the great Nicolas Lidstrom on the blue line.  Like Raymond, he struggled a bit early last season.  But the Calder Trophy winner for top rookie in 2021-22 was terrific later on. He's going to be a 25-30 minute guy on defense for the next 10-15 years.  You must commit big dollars and big years to him this summer (or during the season), Seider is that important to this organization.  In fact, he's the second-most important player on the Wings other than team captain Dylan Larkin, IMO.

This is another big off-season for Steve Yzerman.  Injuries and a lack of physical toughness kept them out of the playoffs this past season.  The fans have been patient.  The team is better than it was two years ago.  But even though the Eastern Conference is really tough, they need to make the playoffs this coming season.  If Stevie Y makes the right moves (as he's shown he can), it can happen next year,  If not, the seat should be getting warmer under Yzerman's seat.  And he'll get criticized for the first time by the fans as an executive.

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