I lose my computer for a week and the Wings have their busiest week of the off-season. It figures. Here’s what we missed:
Mike Modano Is A Red Wing
Anyway, I’m really excited about this. I’ve always been a fan of Modano’s and I really think coming to Detroit provides an opportunity for him to rejuvenate himself. What this means for Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm remains to be seen, but if nothing else it will force them to work even harder to earn ice time as the fourth-line center.
Modano is back in is hometown with a legitimate shot at a Stanley Cup. In every picture or interview I’ve seen with him this week, he’s been positively beaming. You can tell he’s incredibly excited to be in Detroit. The feeling’s mutual, Mike.
Wings Sign Ruslan Salei To One-Year Deal
The Wings’ defensive picture got a lot clearer this week with the signing of veteran defenseman Ruslan Salei to a one-year contract worth $750,000 plus $350,000 in bonuses. Salei will likely fill in the third defensive pair with Jonathan Ericsson. The 35-year-old has played 842 games in the NHL, racking up 194 points and 1,017 penalty minutes. He played in only 14 games last season due to a back injury, but Salei says he is fully healthy.
Mike Babcock coached Salei in Anaheim for two years and was reportedly a large reason the defenseman chose to come to Detroit. Salei’s signing means the end of the road for Andreas Lilja, who was looking for more money than Salei. The human pylon won’t necessarily be missed on the ice, but he always seemed like a really nice guy, so I hope he can find a home elsewhere.
Fun fact about Ruslan Salei: In October of 2009, he was suspended for 10 games by the NHL for cross-checking Mike Modano from behind, leaving Modano with a slight concussion, strained ligaments and a broken neck. Good times!
Chris Chelios Joins The Wings’ Front Office
With his playing career over and both of his sons playing at Michigan State, Chris Chelios has entered into the next phase of his of his hockey career.
“I don’t have a title for him, but he’s going to do a little player development,” general manager Ken Holland said. “After ’09 when I told him we weren’t going to re-sign him, I told him to keep in touch. He called me in May and told me he was going to take me up on my offer.”
Having a guy like Chelios around can only mean good things for the organization. With Stevie Y gone, he fills in the respected mostly veteran void.
Wings Still Interested In Maltby
With new deals for almost all of the Wings’ free agents and the signings of Mike Modano and Ruslan Salei, it seemed like Kirk Maltby had been forgotten. Not the case, however, says Ken Holland.
“He’s not out of the picture,” Holland said Tuesday. “We think he’s still got some hockey left in him, but it has to be a deal that makes sense for both sides. We’re talking.”
Simply, Maltby would have to sign a two-way contract that would see him spend a lot of time in the minors, which is clearly not ideal for a veteran of his status. With the wealth of forwards the Wings are carrying into camp, it would take some sort of injury for Maltby to earn consistent playing time. Whether or not Maltby would be interested in such a deal remains to be seen.
It’s kind of a strange end to a career that has seen Maltby win 4 Cups in Detroit, but the fact is that he isn’t even close to the player he used to be. Still, I hope something can get worked out that satisfies both parties. He’s done too much just to be discarded.