For realz, dude. She's sitting in the second row right there...NO DON'T LOOK NOW.
And with that, the Red Wings have made their final roster move of the summer. Theoretically. I suppose it's POSSIBLE Willie Mitchell takes Derek Meech money, but methinks that ship has sailed. Justin Abdelkader signed for two years, at an incredible cap hit of $727,500 -- making a salary of $750k the first year and $825k the second. He'll continue a hockey career that has taken place (as a home player, anyway) entirely in the state of Michigan.
Excluding Mattias Ritola, there are now fourteen forwards on the roster and 24 players signed altogether -- one more than the NHL roster limit, meaning -- SURPRISE! -- Derek Meech is likely to be traded before the end of training camp.
Gator is expected to play on the fourth line with Patrick Eaves and Darren Helm -- with Kris Draper and Drew Miller rotating in or enjoying cheese fries, dollar hot dogs, and several dozen cold ones with Budd Lynch and Murph.
The Red Wings are in no way obligated to shed salary prior to the start of the season, so they'll likely hang on to all of their assets throughout training camp, in case of injuries, before making any tweaks. But it appears the opening day roster is just about set -- and it looks a little something like this:
Z -- Pav -- Buns
Mulo -- Flapjacks -- Voldemort
Loins -- Mr. Willa -- Scuttles
Gator -- Danger -- Eaves
(SNP / Drapes)
Shiny Nickel -- Dearborn
Kronwall -- Stuart
Rig -- Salei
(Amazon / Meech)
And since we received some e-mails from folks who didn't know who we were talking about with our oft-ridiculous nicknames, the Rosetta Stone:
Zetterberg -- Datsyuk -- Holmstrom
Franzen -- Filppula -- Bertuzzi
Cleary -- Modano -- Hudler
Abdelkader -- Helm -- Eaves
(Miller / Draper)
Lidstrom -- Rafalski
Kronwall -- Stuart
Ericsson -- Salei
(Kindl / Meech)
Including the bonuses that are potentially due to newly signed players like Mike Modano and Ruslan Salei (about which I'll have a post soon -- because I'm a tad uneasy about those kinds of contracts), we're looking at a little more than $775k over the cap. $850k of that can be deferred to next season (I'm shaking my fist...you can't see it, but trust that that's what I'm doing right now), and Derek Meech's $500k will likely be removed from the equation. I'm not sure if you can pay SOME bonuses (and have them count against the cap this season) and defer the rest -- so I'll be on the lookout for a CBA Nerd to explain it to me (NOT found at Best Buy).
If ALL of the bonuses are deferred until next season -- and Meech is put on a bus to Atlanta -- the Wings will have a comfortable cushion for injury call-ups and the like. That's a wrap on the off-season. Let's lace them up already.
Photo Credit: Harry How, Getty Images