Red Wings re-sign defenseman Marc Staal for one year, $2 million

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Red Wings have begun their work in the free-agent market.

The team re-signed defenseman Marc Staal on Sunday to a one-year contract worth $2 million. The deal includes a full no-movement clause.

The Red Wings re-signed defenseman Marc Staal on Sunday.

The signing was expected.

The Wings needed another left-handed shooting defenseman, and Staal adequately served in that role last season after being acquired from the New York Rangers.

Staal, 34, arrived from the Rangers in what looked purely like a salary dump on the Rangers' part, as Staal was in the last year of a six-year, $34.2 million contract ($5.7 million cap hit).

But Staal proved to be a shrewd acquisition, his statistics (three goals, seven assists while playing all 56 games, with a minus-5 rating), not totally reflecting his worth.

Coach Jeff Blashill raved about Staal's veteran contribution late last season.

“He’s a great pro in a lot of different ways,” Blashill said. “He’s a warrior. He plays through injuries and is out there on days where as an older player, potentially, could ask for maybe a practice off.

“He demands that he goes out there.”

In postseason interviews with the media, Staal left little doubt he was open to a return to the Wings, talking about how the move to Detroit re-energized his career.

Staal was hopeful of possibly filling a mentor role for rookie prospect defenseman Moritz Seider.

Staal felt the Wings helped his overall approach to the game.

"The last couple of years in New York, the last few years, we had a successful run for a bunch of years and (then) we were going through a rebuild. It's hard for everyone," Staal said. "I don't think I realized how much it was dragging on me until I started on a new team and I just got to go out and play and have fun. 

"It helped my game, for sure. I know it did. It benefited me, and hopefully the Wings were happy with what they got."

The Wings' defense currently has Staal, Danny DeKeyser and Nick Leddy on the left side, while Filip Hronek, Troy Stecher, Gustav Lindstrom and Seider project to fill the right side.

The start of unrestricted free agency in the NHL begins Wednesday. The Wings currently have $37.6 million worth of cap space, with 13 players signed, and might be looking for forwards with the defense mostly set.

Twitter: @tkulfan