Though there hasn’t been much action to speak of across the league over the last month, there’s still some work to be completed for the Detroit Red Wings, which includes making a final decision on their lone restricted free agent.
While the front office has already handed out new contracts to a pair of crucial RFAs this offseason, as forwards Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha both received extensions earlier this winter, they’ve also been tasked with locating a new deal for Dmytro Timashov. But despite their best efforts, neither side has found any common ground just yet, as the 24-year old remains unsigned.
Despite this extended stall in negotiations, general manager Steve Yzerman has admitted publicly that the organization hasn’t ruled out a potential return for Timashov and it seems there’s still a chance they could come to an agreement on a contract for next season. That being said, management has allowed him to explore some alternative options overseas and he was linked to Djurgardens IF of the SHL back in the summer, although nothing has materialized with them up to this point.
With the calendar inching towards 2021, time is starting to run out for the 5-foot-10 winger to find a new home in Europe and he’ll need to decide on his playing future over the next few weeks. But since most of the European leagues have been operating for over a month now, joining a team overseas at this point of the season could prove to be extremely difficult for him.
From the Red Wings’ perspective, they’ll also need to make a final decision on Timashov very shortly, especially since the latest reports suggest they might be able to open training camp before the end of December. At that point, the front office will have until the first third of the regular season is completed to finalize a new contract with the young winger.
If neither side can agree by then, the native of Ukraine will become ineligible to participate in the remainder of the season, forcing him to sit out for the entire 2020-21 campaign. Since he’ll be turning 25-years old next October, if the former Maple Leaf doesn’t sign an extension before next off-season’s free-agent signing period opens, then he’ll become an unrestricted free agent and will be able to sign with any team he chooses.
So how do both sides move forward? Well, it seems there are a couple of ways this situation could play out. With one roster spot currently available, the Red Wings still have the ability to retain Timashov for at least one more season, meaning it’d make sense for the organization to offer him a one-year bridge deal. But based on his $694K salary from last season, there’s a very strong chance he’d receive a similar amount in 2021 and he’d definitely be forced to compete for every second of playing time as well.
Considering he spent three consecutive seasons in the AHL and only averaged eight and a half minutes of ice time in the NHL last season, it’s possible the left-hander wouldn’t be on board with being utilized as a depth option in a bottom-six role. If that’s the case, and since he remains unsigned it probably is, then he’d likely be better off holding out for an international offer, which would provide him an opportunity to rebuild his value in 2021.
While this route could help him return to North America for the 2021-22 campaign, Timashov would probably have to play some of the best hockey of his career wherever he suits up, as he produced just four goals, eight points, 93 hits, 37 shots on net, 11 blocks, and five takeaways over his 44 games split between Toronto and Detroit last season.
Despite being claimed by the Red Wings a few weeks before the league’s shutdown, it seems unless something drastic occurs in the near future, Timashov’s tenure with the Red Wings will likely come to an end after just five games. That being said, anything can happen in 2020, so there could still be a small chance both sides patch things up before the 2020-21 campaign begins.