The Detroit Red Wings are almost certainly not done making moves based on recent comments from their general manager, Red Wings legend Steve Yzerman.
The National Hockey League's free agent frenzy has come to a grinding halt after a busy month of October about if free agency is slow than the trade market is even slower. Teams appear to be in something of a holding pattern with most of the big name free agents off the board but that comes as something of a surprise given just how many teams clearly still must make moves to become compliant under the league's salary cap rules. It is in fact perhaps for this reason that Yzerman himself acknowledged that any additional moves may come closer to the actual start of the regular season.
"There are a lot of players still on the free-agent market," Yzerman said as per The Detroit News. "We have a lot of bodies right now (but) I do think there’s room potentially to add, and I would consider it as we go along, or we get closer to knowing when we’re going to start (the regular season)."
If he has the opportunity to make a move in free agency then why would he wait until those free agents are potentially off the board after having been claimed by rival teams? The answer to that question may be found in a move Yzerman made earlier in the offseason. The Red Wings general manager acquired defenseman Marc Staal in a trade with the New York Rangers in late September, and although it added a veteran defenseman to his lineup the genius of the move came via the second round pick he also pried out of the Rangers in that trade.
The Rangers were in desperate need of cap space and effectively were forced into giving up Staal and the 2nd round pick in exchange for nothing, all because the Red Wings had cap space they could afford to lose. The Red Wings are currently sitting on over $9.5 million in projected cap space for next season, and Yzerman may be hopeful that he will get the chance to make another move similar to the Staal trade prior to the start of the regular season.
Waiting to sign a big ticket free agent doesn't make much sense, but waiting for a chance at another steal of trade makes all the sense in the world for a team that is clearly still in the rebuilding process. Yzerman himself admits that things on the trade front are quiet right now, something that has to change before the start of the regular season for cap strapped teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team Yzerman knows very well.
"As far as the trade market, I’m not really active in that right now, it’s pretty quiet around the league," said the Wings GM.
I admit I am only speculating when it comes to another Staal-like trade on the part of the Red Wings and Yzerman, but the man himself admits that another move is definitely possible in the relatively near future and I think that would be the most likely scenario.