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Breaking: Red Wings make two big UFA signings

Uh… so much for the rebuild!?

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According to a report from Detroit Red Wings insider Helene St. James, the team has agreed to terms with unrestricted free agents Jonathan Bernier and Thomas Vanek.

Red Wings poised to sign UFAs G Jonathan Bernier (3 yrs at around $3M cap hit) and F Thomas Vanek (1 yr, $3M). They almost had Cam Ward on 1 yr but he chose CHI. Rest of $$ goes to re-sign RFAs Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou.

Bernier, 29 years old, had an outstanding season with the Colorado Avalanche last season, going 19-13-3 with a 2.85 goals against average and .913 save percentage. The season before he had an even more impressive season with the Anaheim Ducks going 21-7-4 with a 2.51 goals average and .915 save percentage. He’ll provide the Wings with a solid 1A/1B option with longtime starter Jimmy Howard.

As for Vanek, the 34 year old returns to the Wings, the team he spent the majority of the 2016-17 season with. In fact, Vanek experienced big success during his time with the Wings the first time around, scoring 15 goals and 38 points in 48 games. Vanek put up an even more impressive 24 goals and 56 points in 80 games split between the Vancouver Canucks and Columbus Blue Jackets last season. On a one year, $3 million deal… Wings fans have to be happy with this deal, right?

Then again, Vanek does take a roster spot away from a younger player. Good deal, Wings fans?

For what it's worth, the Red Wings have approximately $12 million in cap space to spend on free agents this offseason, but they'll first need to sign restricted free agents Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou. That's a pretty big chunk of their young core, so expect those three players to be locked up to long term deals in the short order. Of course, last season Red Wings general manager Ken Holland elected to play hard ball with restricted free agents Athanasiou and Tomas Tatar. Could he elect for the same strategy again this offseason? It's no coincidence that Tatar is no longer with the franchise...