The Detroit Red Wings officially announced the signing of veteran centerman Mike Modano to a one year contract Thursday morning. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is believed the deal is to be worth $1.25 million.
Modano had spent his previous 20 NHL seasons with the Dallas Stars franchise, but the Stars management team decided not to re-sign Modano as the club heads in a new direction. Modano, from Livonia, Michigan, debated retirment but decided to play at least one more year with the team from his home state. After nearly a month of being recruited by Detroit, Modano made his decision to sign with the Wings earlier this week while on a golfing trip in Scotland with longtime Stars teammate Marty Turco. Oddly enough Turco also decided on a team this week, the Red Wings central division rival and defending Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks.
Mike Babcock’s plan, right now at least, is to have Modano center the Red Wings third line between wingers Jiri Hudler and Dan Cleary. Hudler returns from a one year stint in the KHL, while Cleary looks to regain his 20 goal form after a season of nagging injuries. Babcock also said earlier this summer that he plans on using Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk on the same line (great news for their fantasy owners) with Tomas Holmstrom, something that he hasn’t done much of in the past two seasons. With Datsyuk and Zetterberg on the same line it leaves Valtteri Filppula to center the second line between Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen. If the Wings can avoid the type of injuries that plagued them last season they will once again have one of the better third lines in the NHK and if Jimmy Howard can avoid the sophmore slump they Wings should challenge the Hawks for the central division crown this season.
Babcock expects around 50 points from Modano this season. Though that may not be worthy of a spot on your fantasy roster (and may be a bit high of a prediction), his presence should certainly boost the offensive production of the team overall. Modano will also likely be given the opportunity to play the point alongside Niklas Kronwall on the Wings second powerplay unit, a postition the Wings have had trouble filling since the departure of Mikael Samuelsson to Vancouver a year ago.
Modano will be introduced by the Red Wings to the fans and media Friday at a press conference at Joe Louis arena. Not only is the logo on his jersey changing, but Modano will also have to change his number since number 9 is retired in Detroit in honour of Mr. Hockey Gordie Howe.
The Wings also re-signed center Darren Helm to a 2 year contract on Wednesday.