Red Wings Make Moves with Gustavsson, Tootoo, Bertuzzi and Samuelsson

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Free agency is rapidly approaching and teams are making shifts behind the scenes prior to July 1.

The Detroit Red Wings have started their movement towards a successful 2014-2015 season, which could include another playoff run in the making. If the Red Wings can put together a healthier, larger and logical roster for the upcoming season, they could be in contention for the 2015 Stanley Cup.

Wings Use Compliance Buyout on Jordin Tootoo

Jordin Tootoo, 31, is approaching the final year of a three-year, $5.7M contract that he signed on July 1, 2012.

Last season, Tootoo played most of his games for the Red Wings AHL affiliate, Grand Rapids Griffins. The right-handed enforcer played 51 games scoring six goals and collecting 18 points last season for the Griffins, while only collecting one assist in 11 games for the Red Wings.

Due to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Red Wings have one possible compliance buyout left for their franchise, which has now been used to relieve Jordin Tootoo of his contract in Detroit. The first was used to buyout defensemen Carlo Colaiacovo in the Summer of 2013, prior to last season.

Jonas Gustavsson To Get Extension

At the end of the 2013-2014 season, backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent.

The 29-year old goalie from Sweden played in wake of an aching Jimmy Howard and posted solid numbers for the Wings throughout a injury-filled season. Gustavsson played in 27 games and went 16-5-4 with a .907 save percentage and 2.63 goals against average. Coming off of his previous two-year, $3 million dollar contract with the Wings, “The Monster”, a nickname that he acquired from previous teammates, is looking at a one-year, $1.5 million dollar contract extension.

General Manager Ken Holland is looking to give Grand Rapids Griffins goaltender Petr Mrazek another year of development before making him the full-time, back-up goaltender for the 2015-2016 season. Thoughts of having a future back-up in Mrazek is what held back Holland from cooperating with Gustavsson. And it led to his request of an extra two years in Detroit.

Petr Mrazek, 22, has played two of his three-year, NHL entry-level contract. Through the past two seasons, Mrazek has played in 11 games for the Red Wings and has taken full control of the net in the AHL. In 2013, Mrazek appeared in nine games for the Wings due to injury of both Howard and Gustavsson. The youngster from the Czech Republic posted two shutouts, a .927 save percentage and 1.74 goals against average. He went 2-4-0 in the 2013-2014 season.

Red Wings to release Bertuzzi and Samuelsson

39-year old Todd Bertuzzi and 37-year old Mikael Samuelsson are both getting the boot from the Red Wings front office during this offseason. According to the Macomb Daily, GM Ken Holland will not be bringing the two forwards back.

Bertuzzi has played five seasons with Detroit and only collected nine goals and seven assists last year, with a minus-17 rating on the season.

Samuelsson played in only 31 games throughout the past two seasons and has posted a lonely single goal alongside three assists in those appearances.

The Red Wings will not have to worry about losing cap space for these two veterans. As for their future in the league, no teams have reportedly been interested in either of their resumes so far, and the two will most likely retire.

As the Red Wings are at the beginning stages of their 2014-2015 re-build, there have been notable comments from the general manager that the Wings are likely to dip their hands in both trade options and free agent signings.

“It’s going to be an important three days,” Holland said. “I respect the opinions of our pro scouts, I want to hear how they evaluate our team, and go over the other 29 teams, especially the ones in the east.”

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For more information on the Detroit Red Wings and NHL hockey from analysts and journalists at Michigan State University – tune into Octopi Hockeytown podcasts and embrace the Spartan debate at www.impact89fm.org/sports

*Information from the Detroit Red Wings was used in this report.


Austin Goodman is the host of Octopi Hockeytown for Impact Sports.

Photo: Detroit Red Wings