Commentary

Red Wings have financial flexibility

Detroit finds itself swimming in cap space as it considers in-season acquisitions

Originally Published: October 18, 2011
By Matthew Wuest | CapGeek.com
Ken HollandDave Reginek/NHLI/Getty ImagesKen Holland will have plenty of money to play with at the trade deadline.

No, it's not a misprint: The Detroit Red Wings have cap room, and lots of it.

The Red Wings, who have long walked a fine line near the cap's upper limit as one of the NHL's top spenders, are in a strangely unfamiliar position early this season, ranking just 18th in the league in projected cap spending around $59 million.

In large part, the Red Wings' change in cap fortune is the result of Brian Rafalski's unexpected retirement, which shaved $6 million off their payroll. General manager Ken Holland opted not to replace Rafalski's big ticket in full, perhaps because of the underwhelming nature of last summer's unrestricted free-agent market.

The Red Wings' cap payroll sits roughly $5.3 million below the $64.3 million upper limit. If they don't spend those dollars until February, that figure will translate into as much as $24 million in acquirable cap hits at the trade deadline.


To see which other teams boast plenty of cap space for in-season acquisitions and which will likely have their hands tied at the trade deadline, you must be an ESPN Insider.