BREAKING NEWS: Stuart and Lilja Re-Up With The Wings

Adam GreuelSenior Analyst IJuly 1, 2008

Brad Stuart was just signed to a four year contract extension that will net him $3.75 Million per year and I couldn't be happier. Stuart excelled in the role of fourth defense man and often looked like a top pairing defense men at times. He and Niklas Kronwall developed great chemistry and with both of them now under long term contracts they will be paired together for the next four years.

What this signing gives Detroit is the best top four in the league. Number one defence men Nicklas Lidstrom has won six of the past seven Norris trophies, number two defence men Brian Rafalski would be a number one on any other team but Anaheim, Calgary and Boston and both Brad Stuart and Niklas Kronwall are top pairing defence men on over half of the teams in the NHL.

Lost in the excitement of the Brad Stuart signing is error prone defence men Andreas Lilja. Lilja was signed to a two-year deal that will net him $1.25 Million annually. I have a great disgust for this deal as I feel Lilja is taking a roster spot from one of the younger players.

Lilja is prone to mental lapses and shows no offensive upside. The Wings have younger defence men in Kyle Quincey and Derek Meech who can do just as good, if not better, job.

This signing also means that the Wings will have nine defence men (Lidstrom, Rafalski, Kronwall, Stuart, Meech, Quincey, Lebda, Lilja, Chelios) after they get Chelios to sign on the dotted line. Either Meech will be lost on waivers or they will trade Lebda for some picks.

This also puts a road block on Ericssons roster spot. Babcock has mentioned numerous times that he thinks Ericsson is the Wings next number one defense men after Lidstrom retires. It looks like we will have to wait another year to see what he can do because of the Lilja signing. I would have even been fine with one year, but two? NO WAY!