Left-shooting defenseman Niklas Kronwall costs the Atlantic Division’s Detroit Red Wings $4.75 million per season through the end of the 2018-19 season.
His cap hit will be virtually erased for at least the next two weeks, though, buying the club more cap space with an injured reserve placement.
The Detroit Red Wings have spent the entirety of the 2015-16 season sitting right at or below the salary cap’s upper limit, staying compliant with the league’s hard cap mandate through a rotating cast of skaters placed on long-term injured reserve. Now, Kronwall will take his place on the LTIR list with a knee injury.
Kronwall placed on LTIR. #redwings
— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) February 1, 2016
The Red Wings projected that a knee scope would yield a 2-4 week missed timetable for Kronwall back on January 19th, so it’s possible that the veteran has been retroactively placed on the team’s LTIR list dating back to that initial announcement. It certainly would help to keep them cap compliant for at least another few games, as the free cap space enables the Red Wings to make call-ups without worrying about salary.
Using the 2013 CBA’s 10-game minimum for long-term injury status plus the games missed ahead of the All Star Break, that means that Kronwall could be back as soon as Valentine’s Day Weekend.
In addition to the blue liner, of course, the Red Wings have two other players out with long-term injuries. Veteran forward Johan Franzen is likely out for the remainder of the year with post-concussion symptoms that held him out of much of the 2014-15 season, and fellow forward Drew Miller is on LTIR for 4-6 months with reconstructive ACL surgery. That puts his return likely past the end of the season as well, although he could be ready to return in the post-season if his recovery is fast enough.