Detroit Red Wings boost back line, sign Shayne Gostisbehere

The Detroit Red Wings signed veteran defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere to a one-year, $4.125 million contract, the team announced Saturday night.

One of the better puck-moving defensemen on the summer market, Gostisbehere will no longer be saddled by a lengthy contract that many teams could not take on. He started last season with the Arizona Coyotes and finished with a playoff run on the Carolina Hurricanes, his third NHL club.

Gostisbehere, 29, signed a surprising six-year, $27 million deal with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2017, only to be derailed by injuries, the COVID-19 pandemic and a major change in direction with management.

One of few Florida natives in the NHL, Gostisbehere -- of Pembroke Pines, outside of Miami -- agreed to two contracts with the Flyers, in fact, dating back to when Philadelphia drafted him in 2012. Together, they totaled $31.2 million.

After the 2021 season, however, Philadelphia -- trying to trim some payroll -- decided to dump Gostisbehere's deal. And the Coyotes, who needed to get to the salary cap floor, were the strongest suitor. Nearly two seasons later, he finally hit the end of a deal that carried an average annual value of $4.5 million.

But with rebuilding Arizona, Gostisbehere saw an increase in playing time, and as such, he rediscovered his offense. Last season, he finished with 14 goals and 51 points, and before his trade to Carolina on March 1, he had 10 goals.

A clear quarterback on the power play with elite skating skills on the back line, Gostisbehere can add depth to a contender's special teams units. His defensive metrics have never been strong, so staying away from short-handed situations might be a solid idea for his new club. But at even strength, and with the man advantage, he can be quite effective.

His offense from the blue line is unquestioned in any situation. In 2017-18, with the Flyers, he had 13 goals and a career-high 65 points, and in his first two games with Carolina, he had two goals and four points.

Though his new deal isn't significantly less than last year's monetary number, it will allow Detroit the time to see if he is a fit on its blue line, all at a manageable term and rate. And if the Red Wings fall out of postseason contention in the Eastern Conference, Gostisbehere's expiring deal will likely increase his trading appeal.

Earlier in the day, Detroit added forward J.T. Compher with a five-year contract worth $5.1 million annually, as well as veteran goaltender James Reimer, who took on a one-year, $1.5 million deal to back up Ville Husso.