What Would It Take for the Detroit Red Wings to Add Steven Stamkos?

Photo: Andrew Fielder | Inside The Rink

The Detroit Red Wings once again did not make the Stanley Cup playoffs. The 2023-24 Red Wings season ended with a win against the Montreal Canadiens in a shootout. The Washington Capitals defeated the Philadelphia Flyers to eliminate the Red Wings prior to the shootout. I have written that the Red Wings’ roster will be different going into next season. Simon Edvinsson and other defensive prospects have a shot at making the Red Wings’ 2024-25 roster.

Edvinsson played meaningful minutes for the Red Wings as they pushed to make the Stanley Cup playoffs at the end of last season. During his second call-up of the Red Wings 2023-24 season, Edvinsson impressed the coaching staff of the Red Wings, including head coach Derek Lalonde who said, “He breaks pucks out, manages his game, has the long stick, keeping plays alive – he’s been really, really good,” What’s exciting for us is his constincency.”

Both the Red Wings’ team defense and offense has improved under Lalonde. Free agent Alex DeBrincat signed a four-year contract with the Red Wings with an AAV of $7.875 million prior to the 2023-24 season. The downfall of the Red Wings’ playoff chances happened when DeBrincat went through a scoring drought, scoring only four goals in the last quarter of the season. DeBrincat scored 27 goals and added 40 assists in his first season with the Red Wings.

General manager of the Red Wings, Steve Yzerman, has experience with building a Stanley Cup contending team after being in the same position with the Tampa Bay Lightning for nine seasons. While the Lightning did not win a Stanley Cup with Yzerman as general manager, the team did accomplish the goal in the first season after Yzerman was let go. Yzerman has now been the general manager of the Red Wings for seven seasons, 2023-24 being the closest that the team has come to making the playoffs.

One player that Yzerman is familiar with due to his time with the Lightning is right-winger Steven Stamkos. Drafted first overall by former general manager Jay Feaster, Stamkos was the consensus first-overall pick in the 2008 draft. “For a franchise that had never won a playoff series, had been to the playoffs once in its existence, never won a division title, and had never even dreamed of winning a Stanley Cup – in my mind, that’s incredible pressure (that Lecavalier faced),” said Feaster. “Here we don’t have that.”

Stamkos will be an unrestricted free agent following the end of the 2023-24 NHL season. In 79 games played for the Lightning during this season, Stamkos scored 40 goals and added 41 assists. Yes, Stamkos is 34 years old, but he showed this year that he still has the scoring touch. Dylan Larkin, the leading scorer on the Red Wings this season, scored 33 goals in 68 games played. The last time the Red Wings had a player score 40 goals was Marian Hossa, who scored 40 goals during the 2008-09 season.

The problem with signing Stamkos is that the Red Wings have less than $3 million in salary cap space going into the 2024-25 NHL season. A player of Stamkos’ stature is not likely to sign for such a small contract, no matter how much of a relationship he has with Yzerman. Stamkos would be the second-line center behind Larkin, who is the captain of the Red Wings. That is, if the team can convince Stamkos can leave the only team he has ever played for.

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One thought on “What Would It Take for the Detroit Red Wings to Add Steven Stamkos?”

  1. Thanks for the article. Three statements puzzled me: 1) that Yzerman was let go from Tampa. According to the reports at the time, Yzerman stepped down from his role. I have never heard that he was fired. Do you have a source on that? I would be interested to read it. 2) That Yzerman has been Wings GM for seven years. He took over in April 2019. That was five years ago. And 3) That the Wings only have $3M in cap space. The Wings are projected to have $29M in cap space (although a chunk of it will go to Raymond and Seider). Not sure where those comments came from. I think Yzerman could find a way to sign Stamkos, if Stamkos were willing to come to Detroit.

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