Eaves' salary is $500,000 ... which makes this a marvelous signing for the Wings. He's just 25 and has a lot of skill. I'm sure Eaves was looking for an opportunity to prove himself, wanted just a one-year minimum deal to get himself a bigger contract next season. For the Wings, they get skill and potential at a price that couldn't be lower.
My gut reaction was...really? That's our big summer signing? Obviously I knew we couldn't afford a big name, but I wasn't sold on this signing. That is until I learned it was for $500,000. It's funny how a salary number can completely alter one's opinion on the deal. There is definitely upside with Eaves and it's a risk I'd be happy to take for close to the league minimum. Plus, it should still give us room to sign one more forward to fill out the roster.
Eaves agreed to a lower salary as he was looking for an opportunity according to GM Ken Holland:
"He was looking for an opportunity," said Detroit vice president and general manager Ken Holland. "We've had some success with players coming into here who were looking for an opportunity. Everybody hopes you can get a Dan Cleary, but first things first. He's a player that fits our style. He's got skill. We've got a comfortable environment in our locker room that has been a good fit for other players looking for an opportunity."
The Detroit Free Press talked to Assistant GM Jim Nill about the signing and he likened Eaves to Cleary and Samuelsson before they came to Detroit:
"His first two years in the league, he was great and then he got injured, and he's never really reached his potential," Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill said today.
Eaves has had quite the off-season. First, he was traded to the Boston Bruins along with a fourth round pick so that the Carolina Hurricanes could bring back defenseman Aaron Ward. Boston then placed Eaves on waivers, which he cleared, and was then bought out. Detroit signed him once he became an unrestricted free agent.
Last season Eaves played in 74 games with the Hurricanes, recording six goals and eight assists along with a plus-seven rating. Here's what MLive.com had to say about his career:
Eaves, 25, is an excellent skater and good forechecker who has more offensive potential than he's shown. He scored a career-high 20 goals in just 58 games as a rookie with Ottawa in 2005-06 and followed up with a career-high 32-point season.
He has played in 242 career NHL games and has scored 45 goals and added 45 assists. He was originally selected in the first round (29th overall) by Ottawa in the 2003 entry draft.
FYI -- Eaves' uncle (Murray) graduated from the University of Michigan and played for the Red Wings in the final years of his career.