Red Wings’ Vladimir Tarasenko agrees to 2-year, $9.5M contract: Why it makes sense for Detroit

By Lukas Weese, Max Bultman and Chris Johnston

The Detroit Red Wings and forward Vladimir Tarasenko have agreed to a two-year, $9.5 million contract, the team announced Wednesday. The contract carries an average annual value of $4.75 million.

Tarasenko, 32, played for the Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers in 2023-24 after the Panthers acquired Tarasenko at the trade deadline.

In 76 regular season games played in 2023-24, Tarasenko scored 23 goals and had 32 assists. He was a member of the Panthers team that won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. In 24 playoff games, Tarasenko scored five goals and had four assists.

He doesn’t create as many scoring chances as he used to, but he still has the kind of shot needed to put the puck in the net. Tarasenko is built like a tank and can win puck battles along the wall and weave through the kind of traffic we’re used to seeing in playoff hockey.

Tarasenko finished this season with even better offensive numbers than last season and won the Stanley Cup for the second time in June.

Tarasenko’s signing follows the Red Wings reacquiring forward Patrick Kane on a one-year, $4 million contract with up to $2.5 million in bonuses and a full no-trade clause, according to league sources. After joining Detroit midway through last season following hip surgery, Kane scored 20 goals and had 47 points in 50 games for the Red Wings, who reached a playoff tiebreaker. Kane and Tarasenko are reunited after playing together on the New York Rangers.

Detroit also traded forward Robby Fabri and a conditional 2025 fourth-round pick to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for goalie Gage Alexander, the teams announced Wednesday. The Red Wings finished fifth in the Atlantic Division last season with a 41-32-9 record.

Why Tarasenko is a good pick for Red Wings

After losing David Perron to Ottawa, trading Fabbri to Anaheim and also signing Daniel Sprong as a free agent, Detroit had a lot of scoring players to replace in their forward group. Tarasenko certainly helps with that, after a season in which he scored 55 points between the Senators and Panthers.

That’s not enough to replace all the forwards the Red Wings lost this offseason, but it certainly makes a big difference and it’s easy to imagine Tarasenko completing Kane’s passes in Detroit’s top six. Max Bultman, Red Wings reporter

Where Detroit’s roster stands now

Tarasenko isn’t necessarily the star he once was, but he’s still a very effective scorer and the Red Wings had a hole in the top six. Tarasenko fills that with a little upside (he had 82 points in 2021-22 at age 30).

On paper, it appears that Detroit has most of its major signings in place, but could add another forward to round out its group. By getting rid of Fabbri’s money, the Red Wings also have enough cap space to extend young restricted free agents Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond to contracts of any length. — Bultman

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(Photo: Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

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