The Red Wings summer of free agency appears to be just about complete. The team announced that they’ve signed the last of their restricted free agents, Justin Abdelkader, to a two-year contract. The financial details of Abdelkader’s deal aren’t immediately known but once they’re discovered we’ll update this post with that information.
(UPDATE: Craig Custance of The Sporting News tweets that Abdelkader’s deal is worth $787,000 per year, a nice team-friendly cap hit.)
Abdelkader is set to be one of Detroit’s grinding, sandpaper-like forwards this year. During the off-season, Abdelkader has taken up boxing lessons so as to better improve the pugilistic side of his game. With Detroit not having and established enforcer, having at least one guy on the roster willing to do battle helps out. Abdelkader has already started picking up a reputation for being rough around the edges and unafraid to mix it up in a scrum, but flat-out fighting is something the Wings haven’t gotten into the last few years.
Abdelkader will be battling it out, in a much more polite way we assume, with Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller, and Kris Draper for time on the fourth line now that the Wings’ third line is set to have Jiri Hudler, Mike Modano and Dan Cleary. That rotation of four players on the fourth line ideally will keep things fresh for Detroit.