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Who Will Be the Two Odd Men Out for the Detroit Red Wings?

Yahoo Contributor Network
Who Will Be the Two Odd Men Out for the Detroit Red Wings?

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Mikael Samuelsson's contract will probably keep him on the Detroit Red Wings this year, even though his …

COMMENTARY | Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said restricted free agents Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson will be signed by September.

Assuming these two get signed, that would put the Red Wings roster at 25 players, two above the limit.

The team has a plethora of forwards and only so many roster spots. So who are the two odd men out?

Mikael Samuelsson

Mikael Samuelsson is dead space. He played in just nine games this year and had a goal and two assists. He's 36 years old and can't seem to stay healthy for more than a minute.

The problem is his contract will probably keep him on the team. He's got a no-trade clause in his contract, which means he won't be going anywhere unless he agrees to it.

And he's got no reason to want to leave. He's getting paid $3 million to be on a team that will probably make the playoffs for the 23rd time in a row and will probably make a legitimate run at the Stanley Cup. It doesn't get much better than that for an aging athlete.

The other thing that works against the Red Wings is Samuelsson's contract was signed after his 35th birthday, which means all $3 million of his contract goes against the cap even if he is waived. So waiving him doesn't free up cap space, it just frees up a roster spot.

Cory Emmerton

This next one was tough as Cory Emmerton fills a lot of roles for the Red Wings. He's a fantastic penalty-killer, and he has shown signs of brilliance, just enough as a fourth line center to warrant keeping him.

However, he's not as good of a scorer as Patrick Eaves, and he's not an agitator like Jordin Tootoo is. Even though Tootoo played in just one playoff game this year, I find it hard to believe the Red Wings would sign him to a three-year deal just to dump him after the first year.

It's unfortunate for Emmerton as he spent three years with the Grand Rapids Griffins and appeared to be finally turning the corner on the way to becoming a full-time Red Wing this year. However, the timing couldn't be worse for Emmerton with the emergence of Nyquist, Andersson and Tomas Tatar.

The four winners

That makes Todd Bertuzzi, Tatar, Eaves and Tootoo the four forwards that should stick around. Bertuzzi has one more year left on his contract, so he'll most likely be gone after next year.

I think Bertuzzi has one more solid year in him assuming he stays healthy. Plus, coach Mike Babcock won't want to get rid of a skillful, big body guy like Bertuzzi.

Eaves also has one more year left on his contract. However, I could see him signing an extension with the Red Wings. He'll be 30 next year, plays on the PK and grinds it out on the fourth line.

Tatar did not play with the Red Wings during the playoffs, but instead helped the Griffins win their first Calder Cup. I'm hoping his fantastic play in the Calder Cup playoffs made Babcock and Holland realize that he is a valuable asset and deserves to be on the Red Wings in October.

Tom Mitsos is a Michigan native who covers the Detroit Red Wings for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He also is a high school sports reporter at MLive Media Group. You can follow Tom on Twitter.

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