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.