Abdelkader, Quincey still waiting on deals

DETROIT — While the Red Wings wait to hear what unrestricted free-agent forward Shane Doan wants to do, there’s still the matter of restricted free-agent forward Justin Abdelkader.

The Wings have been talking to Abdelkader’s camp for a while, and the negotiations were going well enough that Abdelkader opted not to file for arbitration by the July 5 deadline, unlike teammate Kyle Quincey. Quincey has a hearing July 25, and while the sides could reach an agreement before then, Quincey would, through arbitration, be assured a one-year deal that would leave him an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Abdelkader, 25, is coming off a two-year contract that averaged $787,500 against the salary cap. His actual salary in 2011-12 was $825,000. He had eight goals among 22 points in 81 games last season, bettering the 19 points in 74 games he had in 2010-11. He showed his versatility last season by playing both center and left wing, though the Wings prefer to slot him in the fourth-line center spot.

Darren Helm, also 25, signed a four-year deal worth $8.5 million earlier this off-season, but Abdelkader isn’t going to get the same $2.125 million cap-average. Abdelkader hasn’t shown the same offensive upside, but he’s a regular part of the penalty kill, and his 148 hits last season trailed only Brad Stuart’s 177 on the team.

Abdelkader is more likely to come in around the $1.25 million mark. He’ll have a role either playing wing on a line with Helm or centering maybe Drew Miller and Jordin Tootoo on the fourth line. Abdelkader made a favorable impression on Wings coach Mike Babcock while playing for Team USA at the World Championships in May, and the Wings are hoping that’ll translate into further success for the coming season.

The Wings already have 15 forwards under contract for next season. Tomas Holmstrom is still on the market, but he is expected to retire. As for Doan, the Wings are among the numerous teams who’ve expressed interest in the Coyotes captain, whose preference is to stay in Phoenix.


Posted by Tribune News Services

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