Here’s a riddle: when you sign a player who isn’t known for his durability, should you be surprised when he isn’t available for a big chunk of the season? Probably not, so it wasn’t a shocker that Carlo Colaiacovo made only a handful of 2013 regular season appearances for the Red Wings.
Looking Back at Carlo Colaiacovo’s 2013:
Usually signing a free agent from a division rival is doubly good, as it strengthens your team at the same time it weakens said rival. It’s tough to say that was actually the case when Colaiacovo arrived from St. Louis on a two-year, $5 million contract, because the Blues ended up pretty stacked on the blue line.
Colaiacoco also didn’t get to show how he might benefit the Detroit defense since he got hurt in just the second game of the season. Again, this was no surprise for a guy who had played about 75 percent of the games during his four years with the Blues, but the severity of his shoulder injury was worse than usual this time, keeping him out for 33 games.
He returned to play four games in April, then got pressed into service in the playoffs after Danny DeKeyser got hurt. And honestly, Colaiacovo acquitted himself just fine, retrieving pucks (and sometimes distributing them to the other team, but still), staying out of the box and finishing as a +3 on his nine postseason games.
Just one assist meant he didn’t contribute much offensively, but he was hardly alone among Detroit d-men in that regard.
Looking Ahead to 2013-14:
Under the fairly safe assumption that Ian White won’t be back, there’s still going to be a bit of a numbers issue on the blue line next season. Even if Brian Lashoff starts out in the AHL (and that’s not as safe to assume), it looks like there will be seven defensemen vying for six spots.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing for coach Mike Babcock, but it may mean Colaiacovo ends up battling for playing time. As a third pair guy, Detroit could certainly do worse, and his contract is reasonable enough that it doesn’t make any sense to use an amnesty buyout on him. Based on his previous performance, his ceiling in terms of numbers is a handful of goals and 20-something assists.
Of course he could end up a healthy scratch sometimes, but maybe some semi-regular press box time will help him avoid being forced there by injuries. On a personal level, I really hope he plays more in 2013-14 simply so the time I spent this season learning how to correctly spell his last name without cheating doesn’t go for naught.