Red Wings: Justin Abdelkader needs to be placed on waivers

July 24th, 2020 in Red Wings By Bob Heyrman

The Detroit Red Wings are coming off of a league-worst season, producing an atrocious 17-49-5 record.  It’s time to shed some dead weight before the start of the 2020-21 season.

It’s been a terrible few seasons for the Detroit Red Wings in succession, but this past season is hopefully rock bottom. The product on the ice struggled mightily; it was tough to watch.  Adding insult to injury, at the conclusion of the shortened regular season, the franchise that desperately needed to win the NHL Draft lottery, did not.

The Wings needed to win that lottery, the organization needed the consensus top pick, Alexis Lafreniere. The Wings are slated to pick fourth in the draft, with the first overall pick to be determined later.  That team being an already playoff-bound organization.  Many point to the last time Detroit owned the fourth overall pick back in 1983 when Detroit picked Steve Yzerman.  Sure, it goes without saying, it worked out wonderfully back in ’83, and Detroit will have an opportunity to choose a difference-maker. Still, it won’t be Lafreniere, and they needed Lafreniere.

Along with having plenty of upcoming salary-cap space after seeing the contracts of Jonathan Ericsson, Johan Franzen, Trevor Daley, and Jimmy Howard expire, the Red Wings will have an opportunity to land some talented players from organizations that will be cap-strapped next season due to a salary cap freeze.  With the cap expecting to stay the same next season, teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs who at the moment would have less than $5-million to spend to fill out their roster that only has 16 players under contract.

That being said, along with the hefty contracts coming off of the books, the Red Wings should place Abdelkader on waivers.  He’s tying up a roster spot that could be filled by a prospect looking to stay the course at the NHL level like Michael Rasmussen, Filip Zadina, or Joe Veleno.

Justin Abdelkader is the definition of success by default; thanks to the great Pavel Datsyuk.  Abdelkader’s best two years came playing on Datsyuk’s wing.  In back to back seasons, he scored 23 goals and 19 goals.  Unfortunately for Red Wings fans, his success had been perfectly timed. Abdelkader had been due to receive a contract extension.  Rather than signing the forward to a three or four-year deal, general manager Ken Holland, like he often did, went all in signing Abdelkader to a seven-year contract that averages $4.25 million per season.

That deal also included one of those famous no-trade clauses.  Abdelkader’s agreement that has three years remaining on it after this season is one that the organization needs to discard.  There is no trade market for Abdelkader, who recorded just 22 points over the last two seasons, he also failed to score a single goal this past season—in 49 games the 33-year old recorded merely three points while producing an awful 42.1 Corsi For Percentage.

The Detroit Red Wings need to place Abdelkader on waivers and allow him to mentor the young up and coming prospects in Grand Rapids for the remainder of his contract.