Detroit Red Wings: Where will veteran defenseman Marc Staal fit in?

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Red Wings wisely made a move to acquire defenseman Marc Staal.

As predicted, the Detroit Red Wings are starting to add veteran players considered overpaid by salary cap hindered teams’ hoping to shed some cap space entering a year the league will implement a cap freeze.

General manager Steve Yzerman understands the organization is in disarray, it is evident this Red Wings rebuild will likely last another four to five years.  Yzerman will make it a priority to continue to add draft capital as he hopes to rebuild the foundation of this franchise.

Yzerman took over this franchise from Ken Holland with bare cupboards.  Sure, he inherited Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Anthony Mantha, Filip Zadina, and Filip Hronek, but that’s it.  Yzerman added a key piece in Moritz Seider, but now it is time to continue building upon that.  Detroit needs to acquire as many draft picks as possible now and in future drafts.

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The Detroit Red Wings saw an opportunity with Staal and pounced.

Detroit added Marc Staal, who carries an expensive $5.7 million cap hit, far too costly for a third-pairing defenseman. Still, in taking that deal with one year remaining, Detroit lands a valuable second-round draft pick in 2021.  Detroit gave up ‘future considerations’ which usually means a low-end prospect or late draft pick.

Yzerman quickly announced the organization would not be bringing back Jonathan Ericsson or Trevor Daley.  It’s a wise decision, and an obvious one, but Detroit needs someone to put onto the ice in 2020-21, so why not a leader like Staal?

The veteran Staal wore an ‘A’ in New York for years; Detroit could use a calming presence on their backend.  Last season the Detroit Red Wings struggled to fill the leadership void left by Niklas Kronwall; although the production will be sparse, Staal will bring an abundance of leadership and mentorship to the young Red Wings core.

Staal, at best, will be a rental option for a playoff team looking to add a six or seventh defenseman at the trade deadline.  At worst, he plays out the final year of his deal in Detroit, becoming a free agent at seasons’ end, then packs his bags looking for employment elsewhere if he still has a desire to play.

The soon to be 34-year old has battled concussion issues early on in his career.  Oddly enough, it was his brother Eric that leveled him nearly ten years ago, causing Marc to struggle with post-concussion symptoms for months back in 2011.  Since 2014, Staal has averaged 72 games per season, including playing in just 52 games this past COVID-19 shortened season.

Staal is coming off of a season where he averaged a career-low 17:39 minutes per game; he recorded two goals and 11 points while carrying an ugly Corsi For Percentage of 43.3%.

Expect similar production playing with a bad Detroit team, but don’t be surprised if head coach Jeff Blashill pairs the veteran defender with the right-handed Seider if he makes the team out of training camp.  It would be a tremendous learning experience for the youngster.

Next. Exploring the idea of reclamation projects this offseason. dark

If Seider fails to make the team right away, Staal will likely be paired with Alex Biega, leaving Danny DeKeyser to play with Filip Hronek and Patrik Nemeth with Madison Bowey to start the year.