Salary cap estimations
A cap hit of slightly more than $6 million for Zetterberg is remarkable. Had he gone free agent, you could expect Zetterberg to get $8-10 million for a shorter deal.
So where does this leave the Red Wings?
Before the Zetterberg deal, the Wings had 14 players under contract for next season -- six forwards, seven defensemen and one goalie -- for a total of $41.1667 million. Let's pencil Zetterberg in at $6.1 million for a cap hit to err on the cautious side. (I still can't believe they got him that cheap.) That puts the Wings at $47.567 million with 15 players signed.
Here's the position list that the team still needs to sign ... one backup goalie, no defensemen, four forwards. That's a minimum because it brings the roster size to just 22 players - one short of the maximum -- the number that the team is carrying this winter.
Let's plug in the same cap maximum as this season -- $56.7 million. With Z under contract, the Wings have a total of $9.133 million to sign those five players. You can pencil in $750,000 or so for a backup goalie. If you plug in $800,000, the Wings have $8.333 million remaining for four forwards.
Although seven defensemen currently on the team are under contract, there will still have to be decisions made next fall. Jonathan Ericsson will likely make the roster. Chris Chelios could retire. To make room for Ericsson, let's plug in his $900,000 salary. That means that either Derek Meech will be gone or he'll be kept in the role of eighth D/spare forward. Either way, let's plug in $483,333 for Meech's salary or an 11th forward.
So that brings the cap room left to $6.950 million and the team would still need to sign three forwards. Of course, this is assuming no cap reduction and no cap raise.
Take out $500,000 for a minimum-wage forward and that $6.450 million to squeeze in a couple of difference-makers. Jiri Hudler and Johan Franzen could conceivably sign for that as a combined figure, especially with Zetterberg coming in so low. If Marian Hossa signs for just over $6 million, the Wings would have to jettison hopes of signing Hudler and Franzen.
And in all of this, Mikael Samuelsson hasn't been mentioned. He's going to come in at least around $1.2 million. So if Franzen signs for a lot, Samuelsson could be the other signee if Hudler can't fit under the cap.
Who knows how this will play out. There are other options such as trades and buying out current contracts. My guess is that Franzen will be the next option. (Trust me, I'd love for the numbers to work out to keep Hossa.) With Valtteri Filppula at $3 million, Dan Cleary at $2.8 million and Niklas Kronwall at $3 million, perhaps the team could get Franzen in at an approximate cap hit of $3 million. That would leave $3.95 million to sign both Hudler and Samuelsson (or comparable players), which could happen.
If the Wings go the Hossa route, without a guaranteed cap increase, it looks like they'd have to get him for $1 million pay decrease, then sign two minimum-wage forwards.