According to the Detroit Red Wings' Site, the Wings have signed 35-year old veteran defender Ruslan Salei. Terms of the contract are yet to be disclosed, but he's coming off of making $3.275M last year for the Colorado Avalanche in a season beset by back injury. I think at this point, it is probaby safe to assume that the Willie Mitchell talk is over, as are any hopes that fans might have had to see a return of Andreas Lilja to the Red Wings lineup.
Salei brings almost exactly the same thing that Lilja brought to the table except it seems that the Belarusian defender doesn't have a jerk for an agent. His 6'1" 215lb frame is good size and he's known to be a stay-at-home guy who can give you those tough minutes on the penalty kill. If you're looking for speed from him, you may as well check his DVD library, because it's not coming from his skates. But, if you need a big guy to stay at home and pick up after a young defenseman's mistakes, he's not a bad choice.
Also interesting to note, Salei was once suspended 10 games for a hit from behind on fellow new Red Wing Mike Modano. He also played under Mike Babcock in Anaheim before the lockout.
Updates on cap hit and salary terms as they hit, expect them soon.
[Update] - Helene St. James at Freep says it's a one-year deal worth $750K deal with $350K in bonuses for a max cap hit of $1.1M.
[Update 2] - MLive's George Malik puts it pretty succintly on Twitter: "think Danny Markov with a higher IQ."