Big Red Wings free agent splashes: Chiarot, Copp, Perron

Big Red Wings free agent splashes: Chiarot, Copp, Perron
Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s early in 2022 NHL Free Agency, but the Detroit Red Wings already rank among the most aggressive spenders in the league. Much like their Atlantic Division-mates in Ottawa, the Red Wings are pushing hard to exit their rebuild. The multi-million dollar question is: how far along are the Red Wings after free agent signings of Ben Chiarot, Andrew Copp, and David Perron.

You can definitely throw Ville Husso in the mix, too, even though they snatched him up before he could become a UFA.

Red Wings splurge on free agents: Chiarot, Copp, Perron (and Husso, basically)

Let’s run down each move, then round back to the larger question of how far Detroit really traveled.

Ben Chiarot part of a set of questionable free agent defensemen signings

If you want a theme to go with the normal “that doesn’t seem like a good idea” vibes of most free agent years, it was that bad defensemen contracts often came in at four years. Personally, Brett Kulak resonates as the exception. His four-year deal with a $2.75M cap hit feels like the type of deal the Oilers should have focused solely on, instead of bigger gambles on Evander Kane and Jack Campbell.

The Blue Jackets’ investment in Erik Gudbranson is troubling. The Blues are banking on Nick Leddy being better than the charts say. Like those teams, the Red Wings are betting big (four years, $4.75 million cap hit) that Ben Chiarot is better than projections indicate.

Even if the truth is somewhere in between the fawning “eye tests” and the dicey analytics, it seems like a dangerous move. Especially for a team that still has an awful lot of work to do in adding useful defensemen beyond Moritz Seider and a select few other possible solutions.

If nothing else, other Red Wings free agent signings are easier to defend.

Nice bargain on Perron

With certain moves, the main criticism revolves around wondering if Detroit is “there” yet. David Perron headlines such a concern.

Perron is somehow 34 already. That would make a long-term contract really dicey. Wisely, the Red Wings limited the term to two years, and got a nifty bargain at just $4.75M. He checks boxes both from analytics and simple counting stats standpoints. Heck, Perron’s even done some great work in the playoffs.

I just wonder if the Red Wings will be anything more than respectable during his two years under contract. It’s a bit surprising a more established contender didn’t knock harder on Perron’s door if the price was that reasonable.

Maybe the Red Wings can make a jump in time?

Digestible deal for Copp

Heading into 2022 NHL Free Agency, Andrew Copp carried the potential to be one of those players whose value inflated too high.

All things considered, the Red Wings made a respectable free agent investment in Copp. The 28-year-old can thrive in a number of different roles, and five-year deal ($5.625M cap hit) isn’t explosively risky.

It’s fair to wonder how that contract will age, though. While Chiarot’s contract personally weighs in at “bad” and Perron’s leans toward quite good, Copp trends more toward the middle. Maybe it would’ve been wiser to go younger, and cheaper, like Dylan Strome or Sonny Milano?

Ville Husso investment looks better by comparison to other moves

In 2021-22, Ville Husso often looked outstanding. That said, 57 career regular-season games (and seven bumpy playoff contests) only give you so much “data” on Husso. His numbers at other levels tailed off a bit in 2018-19 and 2019-20.

It’s possible that the Red Wings’ consecutive offseason swings at younger goalies (Alex Nedeljkovic in 2021, now Husso) may both end up being whiffs.

Sure, some of that is “the price of doing business.” But they enter 2022-23 paying that duo a combined $7.75M in salary cap terms. Spending that money isn’t really “shrug, and see what happens” material. It’s a lot closer to throwing down the gauntlet.

It’s easier to feel OK-to-good about the Red Wings’ goalie changes after seeing the Maple Leafs’ strange investment in Matt Murray and other shakier bets. Even so, these moves keep stacking the stakes higher for a Red Wings team that might not be ready for such gambles.

Will spending almost $25M pay off?

The Red Wings also added Dominik Kubalik (two years, $2.5M cap hit) and Olli Määttä (one year, $2.25M). Those aren’t moves that will radically change things either way (though Kubalik could be a nice value).

They do add to the overall costs, though.

Between Husso, Chiarot, Copp, Perron, Kubalik, and Määttä, the Red Wings added nearly $25M in salary cap/free agent commitments during this offseason. Remarkably, they still have room to add more if they’d like.

Of course, the Red Wings can’t just look at this offseason. Some cheap contracts are coming off the books soon.

Now, the Red Wings aren’t poorly positioned to handle those situations. Only some of the contracts they signed could make things a little tougher down the line.

But it’s unclear if this aggressive push will be worth it. In the end, the Red Wings may wish they waited just a little longer to truly try to rise from their rebuild.

Scroll Down For:

    Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

    Ilya Mikheyev
    Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
    2 Comments

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

    Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

    Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

    Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

    Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

    austonmatthews
    Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

    The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

    Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

    After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

    Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

    Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

    caufield surgery
    David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

    But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

    “I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

    Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

    “I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

    Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

    Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

    Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

    All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

    matty beniers
    Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

    Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

    The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

    Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

    Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.