It looks as though Justin Abdelkader will get a new deal just in the nick of time.
According to MLive.com, the 25-year-old forward is set to sign a new four-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings prior to the CBA expiring at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 15.
Wings GM Ken Holland admitted as much on Wednesday, suggesting the long-brokered deal was close to being finalized.
“I anticipate we’ll get something done before Saturday,” Holland said. “We’re down to the short strokes. We’ve been close for a few days, just finalizing some things.”
Abdelkader scored eight goals and 22 points for Detroit last year, appearing in 81 games.
Holland confirmed the deal would be of the four-year variety but didn’t specify dollar amount. According to various sources, it’s expected to double the $825,000 Abdelkader made annually on his last deal — around $1.7 million annually.
(The deal would put Abdelkader in a similar pay range to Jordin Tootoo, who the Wings signed to a three-year, $5.7 million deal back on July 1. Tootoo will make $1.9 million per season.)
With the contract, Abdelkader is now officially in the group of “16 forwards fighting for 14 jobs“– which is how Holland described his remarkable forward depth back in August.
The 16 are (projected) guys in the fight: Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula, Mikael Samuelsson, Dan Cleary, Darren Helm, Todd Bertuzzi, Damien Brunner, Patrick Eaves, Gustav Nyquist, Drew Miller, Jan Mursak, Cory Emmerton, Tootoo and Abdelkader.
The Wings are also still waiting on what 39-year-old Tomas Holmstrom wants to do with the future — retire, or return to the Motor City for one final year.