Detroit Red Wings secure depth in free agency, sign forward David Perron, defenseman Ben Chiarot

The Detroit Red Wings signed veteran forward David Perron and defenseman Ben Chiarot as the team attempts to emerge from a multiseason rebuild.

Perron agreed to a two-year contract with the Red Wings with an average annual value of $4.75 million. His previous contract had a $4 million AAV over four years. He spent the past four seasons with the St. Louis Blues, winning the Stanley Cup with them in 2019. It was his third tour of duty with the Blues. Perron played on their top line and was an impactful postseason performer with 28 points in 47 playoff games during this recent stint.

"The Red Wings are a team that I think are ready to take the next step in their evolution and I wanted to be a part of that," Perron said.

In his third go-round with St. Louis, Perron, 34, authored an impressive season, flashing finishing skills that his pass-first teammates such as Ryan O'Reilly could maximize. With high-priced forwards such as Vladimir Tarasenko and Pavel Buchnevich topping 30 goals for the Blues, it was Perron's 27 tallies and 57 points that provided the secondary support the Blues needed to steady the ship and race back into the postseason.

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong on Wednesday said it was "a money situation" with Perron.

"Regardless of what happens, he's always going to be known as a great Blue," Armstrong said. "It's just what we have to do with some of our internal players."

Perron played in 67 regular-season games, averaging 16 minutes, 59 seconds on the ice, and led St. Louis with 11 power-play goals. But that all proved to be an opening act for Perron, who had nine goals and 13 points in 12 playoff games, as his average playing time jumped to 19:50. Four of those goals came on the power play, and he finished the run with 42 shots on net as St. Louis bowed out in the second round, losing to the Colorado Avalanche in six games.

Having played for five teams already, Perron will never be confused for a stranger in free agency, and coming off a standout season, Perron and his agent figured to be one of the busier camps fielding calls when the signing period opened. At 6-foot-1 and 202 pounds, he has the frame to create traffic in front of smaller goaltenders, the tenacity to command respect from opposing defensemen, and is an ideal addition to a team on the cusp of competing for a title.

Chiarot, 31, played last season for the Florida Panthers, who traded a 2023 first-round pick to the Montreal Canadiens for him. The Red Wings signed Chiarot to a four-year deal with an average annual value of $4.75 million against the salary cap.

"It's well known around the league that this is a young, up-and-coming team," Chiarot told reporters Wednesday. "And today with all the additions, it just makes an even more exciting team."

Like Claude Giroux, who came over in a deadline deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, Chiarot was viewed as a necessary player whom the Panthers needed to insert before what they felt was going to be a Stanley Cup run. Chiarot was immediately given top-line minutes with the first-place Panthers, who added him at a time when they were without their best defenseman, Aaron Ekblad, because of injury.

And the 2009 fourth-round pick fit in nicely with Florida in the regular season, when he amassed two goals and eight points while accruing an impressive 20:56 time on the ice. Along the way, Florida won the Presidents' Trophy as the team with the most regular-season points. But there appeared to be chemistry issues on the ice once Ekblad returned, and Chiarot struggled in Florida's 10 postseason games. He finished the playoffs at a minus-1, with one assist, and his playing time dipped to a 17:17 average as the Panthers fell in Round 2.

At 6-foot-3, 234 pounds, he is a big-framed blueliner who can still be a presence on the point, but forwards for the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning in the postseason had little trouble getting around him, and that could resurface next season. That said, there is still room on an NHL roster for a defenseman who has been in the postseason six times with three different teams and has 31 career goals and 118 points.

The Red Wings haven't made the Stanley Cup playoffs since 2016. But with a strong, young core that includes 2021-22 rookie of the year defenseman Mo Seider as well as forwards Lucas Raymond, Tyler Bertuzzi and Dylan Larkin, Detroit clearly felt it was time to begin adding some high-end veteran help. The Red Wings also signed center Andrew Copp from the Rangers and winger Dominik Kubalik from the Chicago Blackhawks.

"I'm really excited about the additions today, and I think that we are definitely poised to take a big step this season," Copp said.