Holmstrom, Red Wings agree to extension

Pending unrestricted free agent Tomas Holmstrom will remain a Red Wing, according to published reports today. The pending unrestricted free agent signed a two-year deal that will reportedly cost the Red Wings roughly $1.875 million per season, which is slightly down from the $2.25 million that Holmstrom made last season.

“I’m very excited about it; I know Tomas is, too,” said Howard Gourwitz, Holmstrom’s agent. “It’s a real honor to play for one team your entire career. To have won four Stanley Cups is a dream come true. He’s really excited and he’s proud to stay here.”

As a former 10th-round draft pick, Holmstrom has made a career in front of the net agitating and screening goaltenders. Many consider him to be the best in the league in front of the net. The 37-year-old Holmstrom has spent all 13 years of his career with the Detroit Red Wings and will likely retire a Red Wing.

Holmstrom and captain Niklas Lidstrom were two of the big pieces of the puzzle that general manager Ken Holland wanted to lock up before the July 1 free agency frenzy begins. The next step for Holland will be to sign forward Todd Bertuzzi who has indicated that he would like to remain with Detroit. Bertuzzi made $1.5 million last season. It’s likely that Holland will ask Bertuzzi to take a slight pay decrease, much like Holmstrom and Lidstrom did, in order to allow management more maneuvering room under the cap.

The Wings currently have 17 players signed for next season at a cap hit of $52.3 million. The cap is expected to rise just about $2 million to $58 million, which will give the Red Wings a little more than $5.5 million of cap space. The Wings still intend to resign restricted free agents Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller, and possibly defenseman Derek Meech. Depending on how much Bertuzzi accepts in order to re-sign with Detroit and how much it will cost to lock up their restricted free agents, Detroit could have anywhere between $1 and $2.5 million under the cap to bring in a much needed gritty, fourth line forward through free agency.

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