Detroit Red Wings: Justin Abdelkader not done with hockey quite yet

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Red Wings bought out forward Justin Abdelkader during the offseason leading into this 2020-21 season. It seemed like that might be the end of Abdelkader’s NHL career, or at least definitely with the Red Wings organization.

However, recent reports from Ansar Khan of MLive say that Justin Abdelkader has signed a contract over in Switzerland. Khan reported that the former Red Wings forward agreed to a contract with EV Zug of the Swiss league.

As Khan also noted, one former Red Wings career comes to an end in Jimmy Howard announcing his retirement, and another former Red Wings player finds new life in the hockey world. Abdelkader, now 33 years old, is thrilled about this new opportunity.

The Muskegon-Native and Michigan State Spartans graduate logged 739 career games played for the Red Wings over thirteen total years. Now, after so many years in the NHL putting on the winged-wheel uniform, he will look to get back to some success and stay afloat with this new opportunity.

Former Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader finds new life in hockey after signing in the Swiss league.

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Former Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland is the one responsible for handing Justin Abdelkader his seven-year, $29.75 million contract that was cut short by the new general manager.

Steve Yzerman opted to buy out Abdelkader, cutting off the last three seasons of his contract.

After the 2019-20 season, it seemed like Abdelkader was never going to get back to the level he was at years ago.

Last season, Abdelkader played in 49 games for the Red Wings, notching just three assists. He was a minus-14 and was only logging around 11 and a half minutes of ice time a night on average.

The best year Abdelkader ever had in a Red Wings uniform was the 2014-15 season, where he had 23 goals and 21 assists for 44 total points over 71 games played. He regressed from there and just never was able to return to that peak.

Ultimately, Abdelkader was just logging minutes and eating up ice time. He was also eating up a roster spot. Similar to what Adam Erne, Darren Helm, and Frans Nielsen are doing for the Red Wings right now.

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Even though his time with the Red Wings has come and gone, he gave the organization 13 years and is now finding himself with a new opportunity to keep playing professional hockey. Best of luck to Abby as he finishes out the remainder of the Swiss league season.