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Report: Wings to buy out Tootoo, re-sign Gustavsson

Jun 16, 2014, 5:52 PM EDT


Two years ago, Detroit signed a pair of veteran free agents in Carlo Colaiacovo and Jordin Tootoo.

Now, the Wings could be paying both to play elsewhere.

Having already used one of its compliance buyouts on Colaiacovo last summer, Detroit is primed to use its second on Tootoo, according to the Free Press. Wings GM Ken Holland has indicated he’ll try and trade Tootoo before buying him out but, given Tootoo’s been on the market for an entire year and was subjected to waivers earlier this season, flipping him in any sort of deal seems unlikely.

Tootoo, 31, signed with Detroit in June of ’12, inking a fairly lucrative three-year, $5.7 million deal. The former Nashville Predator never really seemed to fit with the Wings’ style of play and though he continued to showcase his trademark passion and energy, Tootoo always seemed like an odd fit on a puck-possession team. Last year he appeared in just 11 games for the Wings, registering one point.

In other Detroit news, it appears the club will re-sign Jonas Gustavsson to be Jimmy Howard‘s backup next year, rather than hand the reigns to AHL Grand Rapids netminder Petr Mrazek. Gustavsson played well last year, going 16-5-4 with a .907 save percentage and 2.63 GAA, and filled in admirably against Boston in the playoffs when Jimmy Howard went down with injury.

There was some though that Mrazek, an AHL second-team All-Star this year, would ascend to the No. 2 gig in Detroit, but the Wings appear to want the 22-year-old to continue playing — and playing often — at the American League level, rather than sit behind Howard in the NHL.

  1. smarshall3789 - Jun 16, 2014 at 6:57 PM

    Solid moves here. I know there’s people who want Franzen brought out but holland isn’t stupid the guy has trade value. I’d rather trade him to get something back for him instead of paying him to go elsewhere to tear it up. Jonas was very solid last year and they need to keep Merzak playing a lot so he can blossom into Howard’s eventual replacement.

    • mshantz22 - Jun 16, 2014 at 7:11 PM

      The problem is that if he retires before his contract ends, the red wings will have a cap hit of around 3 million for a recapture penalty.

  2. hockeydon10 - Jun 16, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    Franzen’s not going anywhere. His production vs. his cap hit make him too good a fit.

    • smarshall3789 - Jun 16, 2014 at 7:11 PM

      His production for half a season!?!? The guy plays great for 30 games then just falls off the map for 52 and looks like he’s lost. It’s time to move on to many young guys who will play consistent to hold a spot for a streaky player!

      • hockeydon10 - Jun 16, 2014 at 7:35 PM

        Oooo… I see you used the all-powerful “!?!?”

        Yes, .73 PPG is what you get in the NHL for a 3.9 million cap hit. Capgeek actually has this great tool for comparing him to the nearest 20 players with that cap hit. He’s actually more productive than the majority of those 20.

        Look, I completely understand the frustration that he’s not Franzen version 2008-09, when he was running at .83 PPG, or the version that tore apart the Avalanche in the playoffs. But neither of those are the normal Franzen. That’s why Holland signed him to a 3.9 cap hit.

      • timmmah10 - Jun 17, 2014 at 10:32 AM

        The problem with Franzen isn’t the totals at the end of the season, it’s the lack of consistent play. You’re a Box Score fan and all that matters is that he scores 20 goals, but you ignore that those goals were all scored in 10 games leaving him much under value for the other 72 games.

        Franzen is one of those frustrating players that don’t fit the Detroit area mantra. People from Detroit love hard working players and Franzen is just a floater or glider. The frustrating part is that the times he shows effort he just looks dominant out there.

        I was actually thinking they might buy out Stephan Weiss after last year’s injury woes, but I know that could be a touchy subject when signing free agents.

      • hockeydon10 - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:35 AM

        I guess it’s irrelevant at this point. They’re negotiating with Clearey, meaning there is zero chance Franzen goes anywhere.

    • dtownbeatdown - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:53 PM

      His numbers are the biggest smoke and mirrors in hockey. He is a big body, that may be one of our weakest players on the puck. I don’t care what cap geek says. I would rather go by what is seen on the ice. Stats don’t always compute. Especially for a guy who will get 3-4 points in one game, than go pointless in the next 5 and not contribute at all during that stretch.

      Not trying to knock what you say, because I understand stats are stats. But we all know he has not been much of help of late, and he should of had a break out year this past season due to Datsyuk and Zetterberg being out for so many games. Guy just doesn’t know how to step up, and physicality is not part of his game.

      • hockeydon10 - Jun 17, 2014 at 6:20 AM

        In looking at his splits [stats] I’m not seeing what you’re seeing. In looking ath the games I’m not seeing what you’re seeing. I see a guy that gets points at a certain clip then has a good game once in a while. I’m not seeing a guy that dominates then disappears. If his regular play is around .7 PPG then he has a great game or three during the regular season and it pushes him up to .73, his nominal is really .7.

        Great players being out with injury doesn’t magically make other players have great years.

        Also, if what you’re saying is true, all those reasons are why his cap hit is only 3.9.

        And who would you replace him with anyway? Free Agents that produce at .73 over the course of a season aren’t going to be signing for 3.9.

        (Like I said, I understand the frustration. I get frustrated at him too. It’s just that from a managerial standpoint, you don’t just dump someone with that production to cap hit ratio.)

  3. cliffatola - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:52 PM

    For the love of god they should have let Gustavsson walk !

    • adamal17 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:18 PM

      Why? Because he had better numbers than the starter or because you think Mrazek (the guy that let in seven goals in a playoff game as his last start) would be a better option? Monster had some injury issues but having him push Howie instead of having a rookie that MIGHT play 15 games is better for everyone. Mrazek will get his 45 or so starts in GR and get a call up and be over prepared as long as the Monster agrees to a one year deal.

      • cliffatola - Jun 17, 2014 at 8:54 AM

        You mention one playoff game in the AHL. Texas looks like they are going to win the Calder Cup and I didn’t see the game myself did you ? In scenarios like that I would bet his team checked out on him at some point. Howard is an average goalie that the Wings have made look better than he actually is for years and yes Gustavsson had better numbers last year as the backup but he has shown that he is not capable of being an NHL starter because of his injuries. Mrazek staying in Grand Rapids isn’t a great idea because players like Jurco, Sheahan , Sproul and possibly one or two others will challenge for NHL jobs this fall leaving Mrazek to get shelled and possibly bolt to the KHL. There is some usefulness to young goalies getting to the NHL and starting somewhere around 15-20 games in their first season which is very similar to what the Bruins did with Rask.

      • adamal17 - Jun 17, 2014 at 3:03 PM

        Cliffatola…Jurco, Sheahan (along with Gus and tatar) will be in the NHL next year without question. Sproul has another year of seasoning as do almost all D men in GR (So he won’t get shelled…seeing as how Tampa and Detroit have the best prospect pool by far than any other team). The Grifs have THE BEST coach in the AHL and have a great goalie coach. The fact is that the wings are stuck with Howie until that contract ends. Mrazak has one year left on his entry level deal. Holland won’t be stupid enough to make a kid who is expected to challenge for the starting job IN TWO YEARS play only ten or fifteen games and ride the pine for the rest. Let Petr play in the AHL and get his pro experience. The Monster (hopefully) stays healthy and shows Howie that he can take the job if Howie faults again. In the end it will all be about numbers. One year for Monster and after that they will give Mrazek a two year deal to be the backup. He’s not a sure thing and won’t bolt for the AHL when the Wings do what they did with Howard…and throw him to the wolves in two years and hope for the best.

    • dtownbeatdown - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:03 AM

      Howard went 21-19-11, meaning he got the wings 53 pts (in 51 games played) out of a possibility of 102 pts he could of got. Not saying he would go undefeated, just putting up numbers on how much opportunity they give a goalie that will never be elite. Whereas Gustaffson played 25 games and only had 5 less wins than Howard. He also got the wings 36 pts in 25 games. You should be calling for Howards number, not the monster. You could say Howard doesn’t have defense in front of him, but Gustaffson is being dealt those same cards.

      If the monster wasn’t injury prone the guy could have a chance at being a pretty good starting goalie.

  4. pjblake2redwings - Jun 17, 2014 at 8:40 AM

    I would rather have Monster starting over Howard. Everytime there is a pressure must win game Howards get the “flu” or leaves mid game. He thinks he is a 5 star caliber goalie when Monster played better last year

    • hockeydon10 - Jun 17, 2014 at 8:45 AM

      Problem with Monster is his fragility. Can’t rely on a ‘tender that gets injured that much. He has stretches where he looks like he could be a starter on an NHL team. Maybe not a great starter, but certainly not the worst. He just can’t seem to stay healthy.

    • shoobiedoobin - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      I’m lazy so it takes something especially ignorant or stupid for me to reply, but you threw a stupid dart dead in the middle of the idiot bullseye. Every time? Really? There must be a psychological condition that causes one or two events to seem so huge that the person thinks they happen all the time. I know 9 out of 10 homer fans are tards when it comes to the starting goalie on their team, especially in Detroit, but are you even reading what you’re typing?

      Anyway, this move is everything that’s wrong with the team attitude. Granted there’s not much wrong and Holland/Babcock get it right almost all the time, sometimes they needlessly bury an energy guy and keep giving the laziest player in the NHL chances. Franzen should without a damn doubt be bought out and sent away. Stop being the battered wife, stop defending this slug. He floats like a balloon, his goal scoring is so grossly overrated and he clearly doesn’t give a damn about anything. He’s a horrible influence on his teammates, he doesn’t get open and doesn’t use his size. WTF is he doing on this team? How does Babcock tolerate this guy when Tootoo goes out, blasts everyone within a 5 yard radius of him, defends teammates, energizes linemates and plays with the heart this team is sorely (SORELY) lacking.

      It’s unreal to me.

  5. beergold - Jun 17, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    As noted in the story Tootoo plays with “passion and energy” ….if he wants to play for 750,000 to 1 mill a year he would be a great fit in Toronto where they have very few players who can make the same claim.

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