Brendan Smith filed for arbitration Wednesday, the lone Detroit Red Wings player to do so. Odds are that Smith and the Wings will reach a deal prior to the arbitration hearing, which would occur sometime in late July or early August. And GM Ken Holland tipped his hand a bit by saying that the Wings would ask for a two-year deal for Smith, should the case reach arbitration.
So, what sort of deal might Smith be in line for here? He may not get a huge bump over his $875,000 salary from this past season, if the two sides get to arbitration — Smith had just eight points and a plus-one rating in the regular season, before netting a pair of goals and dishing out three assists in the postseason.
A reasonable landing spot for Smith and Holland would be somewhere between the $1.375 million salary of Danny DeKeyser and the $2.4 million that the more-proven Jakub Kindl will make in 2013-14. If we estimate Smith at a $2 million-per-year hit, here’s where that would leave the Wings:
Henrik Zetterberg ($6.083m) / Pavel Datsyuk ($6.700m) / Daniel Alfredsson ($5.500m)
Justin Abdelkader ($1.800m) / Stephen Weiss ($4.900m) / Johan Franzen ($3.955m)
Tomas Tatar ($0.840m) / Darren Helm ($2.125m) / Todd Bertuzzi ($2.075m)
Patrick Eaves ($1.200m) / Cory Emmerton ($0.533m) / Drew Miller ($1.350m)
Mikael Samuelsson ($3.000m) / Jordin Tootoo ($1.900m)
Niklas Kronwall ($4.750m) / Kyle Quincey ($3.775m)
Jonathan Ericsson ($3.250m) / Jakub Kindl ($2.400m)
Danny DeKeyser ($1.350m) / Brian Lashoff ($0.725m)
Brendan Smith ($2.000m) /
Jimmy Howard ($5.292m)
Jonas Gustavsson ($1.500m)
CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(these totals are compiled with the bonus cushion)
SALARY CAP: $64,300,000; CAP PAYROLL: $67,002,879; BONUSES: $3,010,000
CAP SPACE (23-man roster): $307,121
We’ve covered ad nauseum the predicament Detroit is in up front, with 14 forwards already under contract and Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson — Detroit’s other restricted free agents, along with Smith — no doubt ready to bump that number to 16. Holland has made no bones about his need to unload a couple of guys before the season begins.
Smith in at $2 million would put the Wings right up against the salary cap, with Nyquist and Andersson’s salaries shoving them over whenever those happen. The Wings also continue to have interest in Danny Cleary, so Holland likely needs to clear at least $7 or $8 million in space, in addition to finding roster spots for everyone.
That’s going to be easier said than done — even if the Wings can move Mikael Samuelsson and Jordin Tootoo, that saves them only $4.9 million. Kyle Quincey’s $3.775 hit or Todd Bertuzzi’s $2.075 price tag could put those players in danger of being shipped out of town.