With the Wings’ need to add 11 players to their roster (with at least eight of them being pending restricted free agents), Red Wings’ GM Steve Yzerman made a move to add a fourth defenseman with any NHL experience, the same guy they got a 2nd rounder from the Rangers for taking off their hands last season:
Staal put up 10 points and 20 PIM with a -5 rating in 56 games for the Wings last year playing a healthy chunk of his minutes with Troy Stecher. Compared to expectations, I’d say he was better than many anticipated, but he definitely wasn’t worth the $5.7M AAV he took up.
The deal gives Detroit depth on the back end. With Nick Leddy, Danny DeKeyser, Troy Stecher, Gustav Lindström and Filip Hronek already penciled in, and with Moritz Seider expected to join the team, Staal adds NHL experience to a team that’s going to need depth to deal with injuries as the upcoming 82-game season wears on.
Now the bad news:
Marc Staal's one-year extension with Detroit is worth $2M. Includes full no-movement clause.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 25, 2021
The $2M is north of what I would have preferred. It will leave the Wings with $37.5M to fill things out on their roster. The NMC for a guy who isn’t likely going to be a deadline piece anyway just means that if he is, he’ll have control over destination.
The fancy chart tells us that the idea of Marc Staal being a “stay-at-home” defender is still accurate. The Wings don’t create much offense with him around. On the defensive side, he does well keeping people to the outside but isn’t as good at defending the middle areas. He obviously doesn’t play PP and on PK it appears teams key on him.
Marc Staal isn’t as bad as his reputation but he’s likely not as good as this contract. It’s likely a better veteran signs somewhere else for a better contract. This is a paper-cut kind of deal. It’s not going to sink the Wings, but you get enough of them and they add up.