NHL free agency opens on Friday, meaning the Detroit Red Wings' time to re-sign defenseman Jonathan Ericsson before he hits the open market is running out. The Red Wings have been negotiating with Ericsson's agent about a new deal for a while, but so far the two sides haven't been able to come to an agreement. Ken Holland is trying to get something done, though.
"We've done a lot of talking (with Ericsson's agent) the last 4-5 days,'' Holland said. "We'd like to re-sign him. I don't think money's as big an issue. He's 27, he wants to know where he fits going forward and how it affects his role.
"We'll see between now and Friday if we can get a deal done.''
Holland doesn't exactly sound all that confident in getting Ericsson re-signed. My feeling is if Ericsson hits the open market he will end up signing with another team. Quite a few teams out there are looking for defensemen and/or need to sign some bigger deals to get to the cap floor, so I wouldn't be surprised if a team overpays for Ericsson.
Holland told Ansar Khan that the situation with Ericsson is similar to the situations with Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller. The Red Wings are trying to re-sign them, but it's not clear right now if they will be able to get a deal done before Friday. Even if they are unable to, I think Eaves and Miller are much less likely to sign elsewhere.
Two players that we know will not be signing elsewhere are Kris Draper and Chris Osgood. The long-time Red Wings have basically said that they will play in Detroit for another season or retire, but right now neither player knows if he will be offered.
Holland told both players that no offer will be made before Friday because the Red Wings want to get a look at their free agent options. If they don't see anybody that would be an upgrade and need to fill spots, Draper and Osgood could still be brought back. For Draper, his return could come down to whether or not the Red Wings re-sign Eaves and Miller, and Osgood's return will hinge on the Red Wings not finding a solid backup goaltender at a reasonable price.