The Red Wings announced a pair of free-agent signings Thursday afternoon — two defensemen who have played with the team before. Luke Witkowski is coming back on a two-year deal:
Just a few minutes before announcing the Witkowski deal, the team announced they are bringing back defenseman Dan Renouf on a one-year deal:
Fans already know what they’re getting with both of these guys — two depth players who can help bolster the ranks in Grand Rapids and act as placeholders in Detroit. Witkowski, a native of Holland, Michigan, has spent the last two seasons as captain of the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch. Renouf has been with the Colorado Eagles, and has seen a short stint with the Avalanche.
Witkowski suited up for Detroit in 65 games between 2017 and 2019. He’s a big guy who brings the energy, grit, and not much else. He has a little versatility, as he can slide into a forward position if needed.
Renouf is a two-time Calder Cup champion — he won his first in Grand Rapids in 2017, and then helped the Charlotte Checkers win a title in 2019. That Checkers team included Detroit’s newest goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic.
Hard to see where the two defenders slot into the Red Wings lineup. Witkowski may be kept around as health scratch, while I see Renouf headed right for Grand Rapids.