One of the Wings’ biggest bright spots this season is staying put. The team announced on Tuesday that they’ve re-signed defenseman Jake Walman to a three-year extension with an AAV of $3.4 million per year. Per CapFriendly, the deal also includes a 10-team no-trade list.
UPDATE: The Detroit #RedWings today signed defenseman Jake Walman to a three-year contract extension with an average annual value of $3.4 million.— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) February 28, 2023
» https://t.co/srrjtmfpYp pic.twitter.com/HhMwEmkrgO
It’s a good reward for Walman, who — at 27 years old — is having a breakout season. After missing the start of the year due to shoulder surgery, Walman slowly climbed the ranks from “depth piece” to the top pairing. His chemistry with Moritz Seider has led to an elevated level of play for both defenders to a point in which the pair is one of the best analytical combos in the NHL.
Jake Walman, signed to a 3x$3.4M extension by DET, is an offensive defenceman whose instant chemistry with a previously-struggling Moritz Seider has made the model fall head-over-heels for him. Profiles as a good top-four player at least though, very good bet for the Wings. #LGRW pic.twitter.com/PelpNqudxB— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) February 28, 2023
The Red Wings, meanwhile, maintain a player who fits perfectly into their rebuild. Walman’s a rare player who does a lot of things very well. He’s a great skater with a well-above-average transition game, and although his statline doesn’t necessarily show it (5 G, 5 A this season,) he’s a brilliant play-driver who’s able to create a lot of good opportunities for his teammates. Defensively, Walman’s a smart player who can position himself in inconvenient areas for the opposition, and — as we saw Monday against Ottawa — isn’t afraid to put his body on the line to take away chances.
The Walman contract is a big check marked off of Stevie Y’s to-do list, and it’s at a term and length that should allow Walman to keep improving with little risk to Detroit’s long-term future. The hope is that he can remain a long-term partner for Seider. At the very least, he should remain a valuable top four-level defender.