Detroit Red Wings: How Day One Free-Agent Signings Fit in Hockeytown
The first day of free agency came and went without the Red Wings, or any other team, making the big splash of signing of Ryan Suter or Zach Parise.
That doesn't mean general manager Ken Holland sat twiddling his thumbs all day either.
The Red Wings have submitted offers to both Suter and Parise and await an answer from each respective player on July 2.
Holland didn't stop there, inking Swiss forward Damien Brunner, tough-guy Jordin Tootoo, backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson and the trusted Mikael Samuelsson.
The Samuelsson signing essentially spells the end of Jiri Hudler's career as a Red Wing. Samuelsson signed a two-year deal paying $3 million per season.
He gives the team a right-handed shot, which the team is extremely low on, and has the skill to be a fixture on the power play. He also follows the team's new emphasis on adding size to the roster.
Depending on whether the team is able to sign a Zach Parise or trade for Rick Nash, Samuelsson projects to be a borderline top-six forward. He will have to battle for playing time with Todd Bertuzzi and a healthy Danny Cleary.
The addition of Tootoo to the lineup may spell the end for a much more revered Red Wing in Tomas Holmstrom. Tootoo replaces Homer's physical play and would fit in nicely on the fourth line next to Justin Abdelkader.
Tootoo quietly picked up 30 points last season in Nashville, so there is a minor scoring touch that he provides to the bottom six as well. Tootoo signed a three-year contract worth $1.9 million per season.
Which new Red Wing is the biggest addition?
Coach Mike Babcock has touted Damien Brunner as a top-six forward. Whether that is true or not is up for debate, but Brunner scored 190 points in 167 games in the Swiss League.
He caught Babcock and Holland's attention during the world championships and has been signed to an entry-level contract worth $900,000.
I don't expect to see Brunner be a regular fixture in the lineup based on the team's current roster and who I still expect them to sign.
If the Wings come up completely empty on finding a top-six forward, Brunner will still have to battle with, at least, Gustav Nyquist for regular playing time.
Finally, Holland found a goaltender he hopes does a markedly better job in spot duty than Ty Conklin did last season. Jonas Gustavsson was chased after by several teams, including the Red Wings, back in 2009 when he first came to the NHL from Sweden.
Unfortunately for him, he has not lived up to his nickname "the Monster" during his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs. If there's one thing we know, it's that the Wings do enjoy a good old fashioned reclamation project.
Some recent examples are Danny Cleary, Drew Miller, Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson. The signing, two years and $3 million, pushes Joey MacDonald back down to the minors and should provide quality depth capable of spelling Jimmy Howard more often than last season.
All in all, the Red Wings made some solid signings which added speed, size and toughness to a lineup that looked slow, small and timid in its playoff series against the Nashville Predators.
The Tootoo signing gives the team an enforcer for the Shea Webers of the world and helps replace the checking ability lost by the departure of Brad Stuart.
Samuelsson is a speedy, skilled skater who provides more offensive creativity than the slow and small Hudler. The jury is out out on Gustavsson and Brunner. With neither having major expectations to live up to, they should each provide quality depth at the very least.
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