Kirk Maltby Inks 1-Year, 2-Way Contract With Red Wings

Tracking the Red Wings' free agency news and notes.

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Kirk Maltby Inks One-Year, Two-Way Contract With Red Wings

Veteran Red Wings forward Kirk Maltby will remain with the organization after signing a one-year, two-way contract with Detroit.

Maltby will head into training camp with very little shot of making the team, as Detroit is already carrying 15 forwards. But Maltby has no problem with going down to Grand Rapids, which will only pay $105,000 to a 17-year veteran. If Maltby makes the team, the deal will be worth $525,000.

“I’d be one of the older guys down there, but it’s not like I’d be the first (NHL veteran) to ever do it,‘’ Maltby said. "I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it, what it would be like to be down there. But at the same time, it’s something I’ll deal with if that comes to surface.’’

In training camp Maltby will face stiff competition for a spot on the fourth line. Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm, Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller will all be vying for a spot on a team with a plethora of talented forwards. All those guys are young players with a ton of upside that will have a huge leg up on the 37-year-old Maltby.

Also playing in his decision to essentially take less money to stay with Detroit was his family. Maltby didn’t want to have to move his family this late in his career, and playing in Grand Rapids gives him an opportunity to see them frequently.

“It is a bit of a hassle, especially in the winter, having to drive a couple of hours to be able to come home and see family and the kids, but it’s better than being out in Manitoba or something like that,‘’ Maltby said. "To take my family and go somewhere for a year wasn’t appealing to me.’’

It makes sense for Maltby at this point in his career to not want to uproot his entire life. At 37, he has about two to three years of solid hockey left in him. He probably could have found a full-time NHL job somewhere else, but it was clear that moving his family for a year or two was not an option.


Red Wings Sign Defenseman Ruslan Salei

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland was looking to add a veteran defenseman to the team, and it appears he’s found one.

According to multiple reports, the Wings have signed defenseman Ruslan Salei to a one-year, $750,000 contract. (Terms include a potential $350,000 in bonuses, according to the Detroit Free Press.) The 35-year-old played the last two seasons with the Colorado Avalanche, and also with the Anaheim Ducks and Florida Panthers in his 13-year NHL career.

Back injuries restricted the 6' 1", 212-pound Salei to just 14 games last season with Colorado, but he recovered to captain the Belarus hockey team at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. In 842 career NHL games, Salei has 43 goals, 151 assists, and 1,017 penalty minutes.

Salei has previous experience with Wings coach Mike Babcock, playing for him in Anaheim from 2002 to 2004. He also has some history with fellow new Red Wing Mike Modano, as's Ansar Khan points out:

Salei (6-foot-1, 212) brings a rugged, physical element to the defense. He was suspended for 10 games in October 1999 for checking Mike Modano, then with Dallas, from behind into the boards face-first. Modano sustained a concussion, strained ligaments in his neck and a broken nose.

One might assume that there are no hard feelings between the two, and the past is prologue (not to mention more than 10 years ago).

Salei is expected to be in Detroit's third pair of defensemen, teamed with Jonathan Ericsson.


Red Wings Bring Back Goalie Joey MacDonald

Goaltender Joey MacDonald, who was with the Red Wings organization from 2001-07, has been signed once again by Detroit. During his first stint with the Red Wings, he mainly was in Grand Rapids and Toledo, as he played in only eight games for Detroit. His second stint will be very similar, as this signing was strictly to add a veteran goalie to the Griffins.

The Detroit Red Wings added the goaltending depth they were seeking for AHL affiliate Grand Rapids on Friday by bringing back a familiar face, signing Joey MacDonald. [...]

He will compete with Thomas McCollum for the starting job in Grand Rapids. The Red Wings also have young Jordan Pearce in their system.

That should pretty much do it as far as any moves at goalie are concerned. Jimmy Howard and Chris Osgood are basically locked in as the Wings' two goalies, and now the Griffins have MacDonald, McCollum and Pearce.


Red Wings Sign Valtteri Filppula's Older Brother

The Red Wings have signed forward Ilari Filppula, a free agent from Finland and the older brother of current Wings player Valtteri Filppula, according to MLive's Ansar Khan.

"He adds some depth to our organization,'' Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill said. "His career has blossomed in the last 2-3 years. He was one of the better players in Finland. It's time to see if he can play in the best league in the world.''

Ilari Filppula's deal is worth $500,000 for one year. He is being brought in to compete for a spot on the Wings' roster, although he apparently has no problem playing for Grand Rapids if he doesn't make the NHL club.

Per Khan, Filppula has played in the Finnish League his entire career and was the playoff MVP this past season.

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