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Johan Franzen's Red Wings future

Johan Franzen has a contract that runs through the 2019-20 season with a cap hit of $3.95 million. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Johan Franzen has a contract that runs through the 2019-20 season with a cap hit of $3.95 million. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Detroit Red Wings free agent additions of Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson prompted a Wings fan to ask MLive.com's Ansar Khan if their presence would make Johan Franzen expendable.

Khan doesn't see Franzen being dealt this season and expects he'll start on the same line as Weiss and Alfredsson. However, if Franzen has a bad season, Khan speculates he could be dealt by the 2014 NHL draft.

He also noted the Wings still have a compliance buyout, but doubts they'd use it for an expensive option such as Franzen.

Despite his streaky scoring, Franzen has four 27-plus goal seasons on his resume and a reputation as a clutch playoff performer. Though he has seven seasons remaining on his contract, the average annual cap hit ($3.954 million) is affordable for a big-market club like the Red Wings.

Still, Franzen will be 40 when his contract expires in 2020 and could retire before then. If he does, the Wings will pay for that via cap benefit recapture penalties. And since Franzen’s contract was heavily front-loaded, if he retires towards the end of it the penalty would become more expensive.

For example, if Franzen retired this summer, the cap recapture penalty would only be a little more than $740,000 per season over the remaining years of the contract.

However, if he retired in 2018, the penalty would be $2.954-million per season over the remaining years of the contract.

If the Wings trade Franzen they would split the recapture penalties with his new team, but if his performance declines in the coming years, finding a trade partner will prove increasingly difficult.

If the salary cap increases as projected over the course of this CBA and Franzen retires before his contract ends, the cap recapture penalties will be easier for a free-spending team like the Red Wings to absorb.

A more likely Red Wings trade candidate is center Cory Emmerton.

Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press suggested the 25-year-old could become the odd man out this season if center Darren Helm has recovered from the back injury he suffered in January.

The Wings will retain Emmerton for now, but St. James believes he’ll eventually become a trade or waiver candidate.

O’REILLY, STASTNY AND QUESTIONS AROUND THE AVALANCHE

The Denver Post's Adrian Dater examined 10 questions that will determine how the Colorado Avalanche fare in 2013-14.

Among them was the trade status of Ryan O'Reilly, who is entering the second season of his two-year contract that was the result of the Avalanche matching an offer sheet last season from the Calgary Flames.

O'Reilly’s contentious contract talks last season led some observers to consider him trade bait. But now that the Avalanche has overhauled its front office, that's no longer a certainty.

The earliest the Avalanche can trade O'Reilly is Feb. 28, a year from the date they matched the Flames offer.

But as Dater pointed out, he'll be a restricted free agent at season's end, so the Avalanche aren't under any pressure to re-sign or trade him this season.

That's not the case for Paul Stastny, who's slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. He's been the target of trade rumors for several years now and Dater suggested the 27-year-old could be moved by this season’s trade deadline if the numbers don't add up for a new contract.

Rumor Roundup appears weekdays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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