For the past two years, Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman has patiently rebuilt his roster with promising youth. Flush with salary-cap space this summer, he could be active in the trade market to shore up his defense corps.
Kevin Allen of Detroit Hockey Now projected the Wings could have $27 million in cap room once they re-sign their nine restricted free agents. They include forwards Jakub Vrana and Tyler Bertuzzi and defenseman Filip Hronek. They could gain more depending on who they lose in the upcoming expansion draft and possible contract buyouts for Frans Nielsen and Richard Panik.
Allen doesn't anticipate Yzerman making a big splash in the unrestricted free agent market but noted many teams will attempt to shed salary this summer. The Wings GM could target clubs at risk of losing a good player to the Seattle Kraken for nothing in the expansion draft.
The Red Wings need some help on their blueline. Allen suggested calling the St. Louis Blues about defenseman Vince Dunn. He also pointed out the Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild could also move a rearguard for salary cap or expansion draft reasons.
A restricted free agent with arbitration rights coming off a one-year, $1.875-million contract, the 24-year-old Dunn will seek a lucrative deal this summer. With $17.3 million in cap space and Jaden Schwartz, Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou among their free agents, Dunn could become expendable. He frequently surfaced in trade speculation during the regular season.
Other targets could include the Hurricanes' Brady Skjei, the Penguins' Marcus Petterssen or Mike Matheson, or the Wild's Matt Dumba or Carson Soucy.