The Detroit Red Wings are relatively strong at left wing. The last few drafts have produced strong prospects who will be playing for roster spots over the next few years. Tyler Bertuzzi and Adam Erne will potentially enter free agency one year from now. The Red Wings need to keep stockpiling left-wingers as they continue in the next rebuild phase. Many of the wingers in Detroit’s organization can play either left or right-wing.
Here is a look at Detroit’s current situation at left wing.
Returning Left Wingers
Tyler Bertuzzi recently completed his 6th season in the NHL, all with the Red Wings. For most of the season, Bertuzzi played on the top line with Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond. Bertuzzi scored 30 goals for the first time in his career and placed second in Red Wings scoring. Bertuzzi has one year remaining on his current contract before becoming a UFA. He will earn $4.75M next year.
Robby Fabbri just completed his 7th season in the NHL and third with the Red Wings. Fabbri missed most of the second half of the season with a knee injury and is unlikely to be ready for training camp. Fabbri played most of his season on the second line with former junior teammate Pius Suter. Despite only playing 56 games, Fabbri placed 6th in forwarding scoring for Detroit. Next season, Fabbri will begin the first year of his three-year extension with the Red Wings. Fabbri will have a yearly cap hit of $4M during the three years of his contract.
Jakub Vrana recently completed his 6th season in the NHL. Vrana missed the first half of the season with a shoulder injury. In two seasons with the Red Wings, Vrana has played 37 games and scored 21 goals. Vrana will likely play a significant offensive role as he enters his first entire season since 2019-2020. Vrana has a cap hit of $5.25M for two more years before becoming a UFA.
Adam Erne recently completed his 6th season in the NHL and 3rd with Detroit. Erne had a drop in production compared to the Covid-shortened season in 2021. Erne has a cap hit of $2.1M next season before he can become a UFA next summer.
Left Wingers in the System
2021-2022 Team: Grand Rapids (AHL)
Taro Hirose played most of last season in Grand Rapids. Hirose has played 57 games in the NHL in four professional seasons, all with Detroit. Hirose recently signed a two-year extension with the Red Wings. He has an NHL cap hit of $850,000 and will earn $325,000 if he plays in the AHL next year. Hirose can become a UFA at the end of his current contract.
2021-2022 Team: Frolunda (SHL)
Elmer Soderblom recently signed his three-year entry-level contract with Detroit. Soderblom was recently recognized with the “Young Player of the Year” award (see above). He is expected to start the season in Grand Rapids (AHL), but with a good showing in training camp, and with Robby Fabbri expected to miss the first part of the season, Soderblom might be able to force his way into Detroit’s opening night lineup. Soderblom will have an NHL cap hit of $878,333 and earn $70,000 if he plays in the AHL.
2021-2022 Team: Portland (WHL)
Cross Hanas was Detroit’s top-scoring prospect last season. He recently signed his three-year entry-level contract with the Red Wings. Hanas is expected to begin his first professional season in Grand Rapids (AHL). Hanas has an NHL cap hit of $859,167 and will earn $80,000 if he plays in the AHL.
Unsigned Left Wingers
2021-2022 Team: Grand Rapids (AHL)
Kirill Tyutyayev was injured for most of his first season in the Detroit organization. Tyutyayev is an intriguing prospect who recently signed an extension to play with Grand Rapids (AHL). Although unsigned to an NHL contract, Tyutyayev remains Detroit property as he attempts to return from an undisclosed season-ending injury.
2021-2022 Team: Univ. of Denver (NCAA)
Carter Mazur played his first season in the NCAA last year. Mazur helped Denver win the NCAA National Championship. Mazur will return to Denver for his sophomore season next year. Detroit maintains Mazur’s rights until June 2025.
2021-2022 Team: Univ. of Connecticut (NCAA)
Chase Bradley just completed his freshman year at Connecticut (NCAA). Bradley will return to Connecticut for his sophomore season next year. Detroit holds Bradley’s rights until June 2025.
2021-2022 Team: Windsor (OHL)
Pasquale Zito recently completed his 2nd season in the OHL, all with Windsor. On Wednesday, his team was defeated in the 7th game of the OHL finals. Zito was an alternate captain in Windsor and will return for his final year of junior eligibility next year. Detroit holds Zito’s rights until June 2023.
The Detroit Red Wings are relatively strong on left-wing but need to sign Tyler Bertuzzi to an extension before he becomes a UFA next summer. Failure to sign Bertuzzi by the deadline will undoubtedly mean he will be traded for much-needed organizational depth or draft picks that will help extend the rebuild. There are several top wingers available in the draft next month, and it will be interesting to see which way the Red Wings go with the #8 selection.