Red Wings resign Gustav Nyquist to two-year deal

DETROIT — The Detroit Red Wings got their last restricted free agent signed to a bridge contract Tuesday, and have a few more moves to make over the coming six weeks. That includes figuring out a way to add Daniel Cleary to the lineup.

Forward Gustav Nyquist agreed to a two-year, $1.9 million deal that has a salary cap hit of $950,000. That’s an entirely amenable number for the Wings, who think very highly of Nyquist’s smarts and skills.

“Gus has been a tremendous producer, in college and in the American league,” general manager Ken Holland said. “He had a good playoff for us. He’s one of the young guys we’re looking for to come in and contribute some secondary scoring, make us a little deeper and give us the ability to roll four lines.”

Nyquist, 24 on Sept. 1, had three goals and three assists in 22 games for the Wings last season, and contributed two goals and three assists in 14 playoff appearances. A fourth-round pick from the 2008 draft, Nyquist has steadily impressed through a college career at Maine and a season with the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins. He and fellow restricted free agents Joakim Andersson and Brendan Smith all were signed to two-year deals, taking each of them through to unrestricted free agency status.

“We’re hopeful all take big steps for us,” Holland said. “The deals are fair for us and the young player.”

The latest deal does put the Wings at a salary cap payroll of just under $68 million, about $600,000 over the limit. It also gives them 16 forwards; the plan is to carry 14. And the plan is still to re-sign Cleary, who remains on the unrestricted free agent market but who wants to stay as badly as the Wings want him back.

Teams don’t have to be compliant until October, so the Wings can go into camp with the group as is. They’ll need to move at least two forwards — Jordin Tootoo and Cory Emmerton are prime candidates — but matters are made murkier by Darren Helm, Mikael Samuelsson and to a lesser extent, Todd Bertuzzi.

Bertuzzi missed a large chunk of last season while Helm and Samuelsson basically sat out all of the season. Holland said he has been getting “good reports on all three —basically, the indications is they are all healthy and ready to go,” but the proof will come during exhibition games. The Wings heard all spring, for example, that Helm was doing better, but he never made it into another game after a lone appearance in January.

Camp begins mid-September, and the eight-game exhibition schedule starts Sept. 16.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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