Red Wings' Chris Osgood Retires From NHL

Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood has decided to call it a career. He announced his retirement on Tuesday.

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Red Wings' Chris Osgood Retires From NHL

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood ended the speculation and announced during a conference call that he has decided to retire from professional hockey. Originally people were assuming Osgood was set to come back, but it turns out he opted for retirement instead.

Osgood leaves the game of hockey (as a player) with 401 career wins. 317 of them came with him in a Red Wings uniform, including 16 in the 1998 NHL playoffs and 14 in the 2008 playoffs. Those two years Osgood led the Red Wings to Stanley Cup titles as a starter. He captured another Cup as a backup in 1997 and came within one game of winning a third ring as a starter in 2009.

Osgood retires as the 10th winningest goalie all-time in the NHL. He finishes second on the Red Wings' all-time list behind Terry Sawchuk for wins with the team. Osgood's list of career achievements also includes two William M. Jennings Trophies, two All-Star Game appearances, and one career goal, which he scored against the Hartford Whalers in 1996.

Although Osgood is leaving the game of hockey as a player, he is staying with the Red Wings as a goalie consultant. He will get to work with the team's goalie prospects and stay around the team even after his playing days are done. Kirk Maltby and Chris Chelios also took jobs with the Red Wings after they retired, and Kris Draper may be next on the list with a decision about his future looming.


Red Wings Agree To Terms With Joey MacDonald

Goaltender Joey MacDonald was not originally planning on coming back to the Red Wings next season. He was holding out hope for a one-way deal that would give him a chance to play all year in the NHL, and if that didn't work out he reportedly had an offer to play in Russia.

Things have changed and the plan has been altered, because MacDonald agreed to a two-year deal with the Red Wings on Monday. There were indications last week that something might be in the works with MacDonald, and now he is set to be with the Red Wings organization for the next two seasons.

Re-signing MacDonald helps with the Red Wings' depth at goalie, but he will not serve as the backup goaltender unless an injury happens. Jim Nill said that MacDonald is "a little insurance policy," so chances are MacDonald will be in the same role as last season. He will spend time in Grand Rapids, but if an injury happens to Jimmy Howard or the backup goalie, MacDonald could be called up to Detroit.

Right now it's not clear if MacDonald's deal is a one-way or two-way contract.

UPDATE: MacDonald is in fact on a two-way contract for 2011-12, so he will be able to move freely between Detroit and Grand Rapids. In 2012-13, his contract is a one-way deal.


Chris Conner Signs 1-Year Deal With Red Wings

Although the Detroit Red Wings appear to be set at forward for next season, they signed right wing Chris Conner to a one-year deal on Thursday. Connor's deal gives him a two-way contract, which will allow him to move freely between Detroit and Grand Rapids.

Conner, a native of Westland, Michigan, went to college at Michigan Tech and spent most of last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He started the season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, but he was called up to Pittsburgh after only 11 games in the AHL. He ended up playing in 60 games for the Penguins and scored seven goals during the regular season. He also appeared in seven playoff games and scored one goal.

Conner is expected to compete for a spot with the Red Wings during training camp and the preseason. Since the forward position is pretty full and Connor is on a two-way deal, chances are he will be with the Griffins unless the Red Wings are dealing with a bunch of injuries. Like with Pittsburgh, he could always start the year in Grand Rapids and later be called up to Detroit.


Red Wings Sign Garnet Exelby, Logan Pyett

The Detroit Red Wings bolstered their depth on defense by signing Ian White and Mike Commodore last week. This week they have bolstered their defensive depth in Grand Rapids by signing defensemen Garnet Exelby and Logan Pyett to one-year deals.

Pyett was selected by the Red Wings 212th overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. He spent the past three seasons in Grand Rapids with the Griffins and was a restricted free agent this offseason. By re-signing with the team, Pyett will spend at least one more year in Grand Rapids.

Exelby is a much more experienced player than Pyett. Exelby played with the Atlanta Thrashers from 2003 to 2009 and spent the 2009-10 season with the Maple Leafs. Last year, he played exclusively in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs, and now he is expected to do the same with the Griffins in the 2011-12 season.

While both of these players could theoretically play with the Red Wings in the event of a rash of injuries, neither is expected to spend time in Detroit.


Defenseman Ian White Signs 2-Year Deal With Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings have filled their need for a top-four defenseman by signing Ian White. His deal is for two years and is worth $2.875 million per season (for a total of $5.75 million).

White is a 5-foot-10 defenseman that spent last season with the San Jose Sharks, Carolina Hurricanes and Calgary Flames. A year ago he re-signed with the Flames after playing there in 2009-10, and Calgary traded him in November to the Hurricanes. Carolina then moved him to San Jose in February, and he played against Detroit in the playoffs.

Because the Red Wings got an up-close look at him for that seven-game series, Ken Holland has a good idea of the kind of player Detroit is getting.

"We've seen him a lot in the San Jose series,'' general manager Ken Holland told Booth Newspapers. "He can play on the power play, he's a competitor. He's a guy that thinks the game. He's got the skills. We've got skilled defensemen in (Nicklas) Lidstrom, (Niklas) Kronwall, others, and he's comfortable playing with them.''

The Red Wings' defense going into next season now includes Nicklas Lidstrom, Niklas Kronwall, Brad Stuart, Ian White, Jonathan Ericsson, Mike Commodore, Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith. The first five spots seem to be set, so Commodore, Kindl and Smith will likely battle it out for a spot on the third pairing.


Defenseman Mike Commodore Signs One-Year, $1 Million Deal With Detroit

The Red Wings filled a need for a veteran defenseman, signing Mike Commodore to a one-year, $1 million deal on Friday.

Commodore was bought out of his contract by the Columbus Blue Jackets, where he played from 2008-2011. In 11 NHL seasons, Commodore has 23 goals and 81 assists. Commodore is known more for his physical play than his offensive prowess, but he does bring a right-handed shot on the blue line, something Detroit lost when Brian Rafalski retired.

Ansar Khan notes the potential awkwardness of the deal, as Commodore and Wings head coach Mike Babcock have a bit of history:

Interesting signing, since Commodore has had issues with Red Wings coach Mike Babcock when they were in Anaheim, publicly ripping him a couple of years ago when he played for the Blue Jackets.

At $1 million for one year, this is a low-risk, high-reward signing for Detroit. He came significantly cheaper than someone like James Wisniewski (6 years, $33 million from Columbus) or Christian Erhoff (10 years, $40 million from Buffalo).

The deal leaves the Wings about $10 million under the cap, which is plenty of room to sign a backup goalie and possibly a scoring forward.


Red Wings Re-Sign Drew Miller To 2-Year Deal

Despite negotiations reportedly not making much progress as of Thursday night, the Detroit Red Wings re-signed forward Drew Miller just as NHL free agency was about to open on Friday. Miller's deal, according to Nick Kypreos, is for two years and is worth $1.65 million. That means Miller's cap hit is only $825,000 per season.

Miller joins Jonathan Ericsson and Patrick Eaves as players that have re-signed or agreed to terms with the Red Wings. Ericsson agreed to terms with the Red Wings on Thursday night, and Eaves did the same on Friday morning. Earlier this week it wasn't clear if any of these players would be re-signed before free agency opened, but now all three are set to return to the Red Wings for the next two or three years.

With Miller and Eaves re-signing and the Red Wings withdrawing their offer to Jaromir Jagr, they are pretty much set at forward. If a trade were to happen a spot could be opened up, but for now it looks like no more moves need to made at forward, meaning Kris Draper will not likely be offered a deal to return to Detroit as a player.

Detroit now needs to worry about finding a top-four defenseman and a backup goaltender, as those are the two biggest needs for the team moving forward.


Patrick Eaves Agrees To 3-Year Deal With Red Wings

NHL free agency opens in less than an hour, and the Detroit Red Wings have agreed to terms with forward Patrick Eaves, as first reported by Craig Custance of the Sporting News. Eaves' deal is for three years and is worth $3.6 million ($1.2 million per year).

With Eaves agreeing to terms on Friday and Jonathan Ericsson doing the same on Thursday night, the Red Wings can turn their their focus to attempting to sign free agents and re-sign Drew Miller. The last update we heard on the Miller negotiations was that not much progress was being made, so Miller will likely become a free agent. Even so, I'm sure Detroit will continue to try and sign him, and if they don't, it could mean Kris Draper gets another year with the Red Wings.

In addition to Miller and Draper, Chris Osgood is also set to become a free agent at noon (Eastern Time). The Red Wings have already made it known they want Miller back, but that is not the case for Draper and Osgood. Detroit will explore the market before making a final decision on those two, so they could be waiting for a week or two to find out if another year with the Red Wings is in the cards.

Joey MacDonald, one of the Red Wings' other free agents, has already made it known he is not going to return to Detroit.


Red Wings Reportedly Agree To Terms With Jonathan Ericsson

On the eve of NHL free agency, the Detroit Red Wings have agreed to terms with defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie. Ericsson's deal is "believed to be" worth $9.75 million over three years, which seems like a lot given how Ericsson played last season. I guess this is the offseason of overpaying players across the league, though.

In any case, the Red Wings can now focus on getting deals done with forwards Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller. Ken Holland said on Thursday that progress has been made with Eaves' agent, indicating that a deal is likely before free agency starts at noon (Eastern Time) on Friday. Things aren't looking as good with Miller, though.

The Red Wings also are trying to re-sign forward Drew Miller, but are not close.

"Just had a philosophical conversation (with his agent),'' Holland said. "I made an offer. Can't say we're making a lot of progress.''

If Detroit is unable to re-sign Miller and Jaromir Jagr ends up going elsewhere, it's possible this could be the opening for Kris Draper to return to the Red Wings for one more season.

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