Originally written June 05, 2013 on Fox Sports Detroit:
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Next season, Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen will be in season No. 5 of an 11-year, 43.5 million deal. He will be paid 5 million a season through 2015-16. His 2016-17 salary will be 3.5 million. He will then make 2 million the following season and 1 million in each of the final two seasons of the deal, which ends in 2020. The Red Wings have already handed over 21 million to Franzen on his current contract; however, regardless of his annual salary, the cap hit for each season is 3,954,545. A cap hit of under 4 million is extremely palatable for a big (6-foot-3, 223 pounds), goal-scoring winger, but his annual salary of 5 million through 2015-16 isn't. That's why Franzen, 33, will remain in Detroit for at least the next three seasons. Once his salary begins to drop even though his cap hit remains the same the Wings believe theyll be able to trade Franzen to a team that needs to reach the cap minimum, although his yearly salary will be less than his cap hit. Did you get all that? When the Wings signed Franzen to his latest contract, they were convinced that once his annual salary began to drop, he would be desirable to a team that had limited resources. The Wings would remove Franzens 3.9 million cap hit from their payroll, and his new team would have on the cheap a savvy, goal-scoring forward with name recognition. That was Detroits thought process back in 2009, and Im pretty certain it hasn't changed. As much as Franzen frustrates Detroit and its fans with his goal-scoring binges, he did score seven goals in the Wings' final eight regular-season games, when they were fighting for their playoff lives. Franzen also notched four goals in the Wings' first nine playoff games, then didnt score in their final five, which pretty much sums up Johan Franzen. Make no mistake, the Wings are irritated with the Franzens streaky ways and his prolonged disappearing acts on the ice. But he still scores just enough and his contract is too tough a pill for another team to swallow right now. If the Wings were to buy out Franzen, according to capgeek.com, they would have to pay him 1,071,429 a year through the 2026-27 season. That's highly unlikely because he's still somewhat productive and a tradable asset in the future. Every contract we do isnt going to be perfect, said Jimmy Devellano, Red Wings senior vice president. We have Franzen on a long-term contract. Weve made a commitment to him, so hes somebody we have to live with. But at least once in a while he scores a few goals. That he does do. Despite Detroits unhappiness with Franzens inconsistency, being European is a plus because the Wings have always been grateful that their Swedish players are all low maintenance. Translation: Theyre coachable. They dont disrupt the locker room. And once they leave the rink, they stay out of trouble. Once Franzens annual salary becomes low enough, the Wings will do what their fans have been screaming for -- theyll move him. Until then, embrace the Franzen roller-coaster ride because its going nowhere.
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