Contract negotiations are soon to begin for three of Detroit’s key restricted free agents.
GM Ken Holland is planning to speak with the agents for defenseman Danny DeKeyser and forwards Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar at this week’s NHL Entry Draft in Philadelphia, per MLive. The news comes just shortly after reports surfaced that Daniel Alfredsson is interested in returning next season, meaning Holland might need to work quickly in order to get his financials in place.
It’s already been a fairly busy offseason for the Wings. They used a compliance buyout on Jordin Tootoo’s contract, announced they wouldn’t be bringing back veterans Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson, and inked backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson to a one-year extension.
Now, there are deals to be made with a trio of young talents.
The most pressing is DeKeyser, the 24-year-old rearguard that blossomed in his second professional season. Despite missing significant time with a separated shoulder, he racked up 23 points in 65 games while averaging 21:38 TOI — technically considered a rookie this year, DeKeyser finished second among all freshman D in minutes per game (only Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba played more.)
DeKeyser’s first NHL contract was a two-year, $2.7 million pact, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of bump he gets on his new one.
As for Tatar and Sheahan, they’re both coming off solid efforts in the last of their three-year entry-level deals. Sheahan turned into an everyday player for Detroit halfway through the season and finished with 24 points in 42 games, while Tatar posted career highs across the board in games played (73), goals (19) points (39) and TOI (14:21).
One thing to keep an eye on is how long it takes Holland to actually finalize deals for his RFAs. Talks are starting early but, traditionally, Detroit has let these types of negotiations linger well into the summer — last offseason, Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist weren’t signed until mid-August.