With a bunch of restricted free agents for the Red Wings left to re-sign, at least we have one of the easy ones off the board early. TVA’s Renaud Lavoie with the details:
Brian Lashoff contract with #redwings 1 year / $650 000 (250 000 AHL) #tvasports— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) June 14, 2016
Lashoff, the soon-to-be 26 year old defenseman came to Detroit as an undrafted free agent and has 125 NHL games played in his years with the club, but hasn’t dressed for a regular season game with the Red Wings since the 2014-15 season.
Instead, Lashoff has solidified himself as a stalwart on the blue line for the Grand Rapids Griffins, earning an A from our own Stripe in his Second Half Griffins Report Cards post:
The difference between the AHL and the NHL isn't much, but in Lashoff's case it is the difference between being a depth defender and a difference maker. At the AHL level he is perhaps the top defensive defenseman in the league, using his calm demeanor and excellent vision to break up rushes and take away space. He is tough to play against because of his size, skating and wingspan, and flat out rarely makes mistakes. He plays with a physical edge and will drop the gloves when necessary but is also capable of making a clutch offensive play as his two big playoff goals attested. A restricted free agent, Lashoff will certainly be qualified, but some NHL club may pick him up on waivers in the fall if they feel he can help their blueline.
With the Wings’ defensive logjam, it’ll be a longshot for Lashoff to make the Red Wings out of camp, but based on this being a two-way deal, I think Lashoff realizes his role with the organization is intended to be that of a minute-muncher for the AHL squad who’s there to provide a solid veteran presence to the prospects.
Lashoff is waiver eligible and will have to clear before he can be assigned to Grand Rapids. While there is a chance that a team puts a waiver claim on him being a solid depth guy, there will also be a handful of guys who are likely considered better prospects also going on waivers just prior to the season, so I’d put the chances at him being claimed as fairly low.
Lashoff is a benefit to the Griffins and he’s not taking ice time from any prospects. I think this is a solid depth signing for the Wings.