What Can the Red Wings Expect from Ben Chiarot Next Season?

Ben Chiarot. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Ben Chiarot. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /

The Red Wings signed Ben Chiarot on the first day of free agency but what can we expect from him in the coming season?

 On what turned out to be a very busy first day of the 2022 free agency Red Wings general manager, Steve Yzerman, signed defenseman Ben Chiarot to a four-year contract. We all know that the Wings were in desperate need of some quality defensemen for the upcoming season. And that’s what they got.

I know that we had the Calder Trophy winning, Moritz Seider last season and he did a fantastic job becoming the teams top defenseman in his rookie season. However, the rest of the guys playing on the blue line last year left a lot to be desired.

What can Ben Chiarot bring to the team next season, what is he all about?

Now I am not a hockey expert and don’t follow other teams in the league as closely as I follow the Red Wings so I wanted to get some intel on Chiarot. I found an assessment of Chiarot and his statistics from previous seasons at eliteprospects.com where Rafik Soliman had this to say about him.

"“Ben Chiarot is a two-way defenseman and a hard guy to play against. A strong skater with very good mobility. Possesses a hard slapshot, plays crisp passes, as he owns good puck skills and does an excellent job protecting the puck, using his body. Skates with the puck and makes a good first pass. Chiarot battles hard along the boards and wins many puck-battles, although he can take his battles over the top and take ill-advised penalties. Reads the play well and will pinch in the offensive zone to keep the play alive. Thanks to his skating-abilities and defensive plays, Chiarot is an excellent addition to a team’s shutdown pair and special assignments.”"

The first thing to jump out at me here was the passing skills as I saw a lot of poor passes by the Wings last season and feel that this is an area where they need some strong improvement. With a good first pass Chiarot can help the Wings spend less time in the defensive zone and lead to more scoring opportunities. There is also an opportunity for him to be the defenseman on the second power play unit with Seider on the first unit.

Next I was happy to read that he battles hard along the boards and wins a lot of puck battles. This is another area that the Red Wings generally struggled with last season. Winning puck battles can be the difference between getting multiple shot attempts after gaining the offensive zone and having your entry turn into a one and done. It can also lead to getting the puck out of the defensive zone, even if it isn’t pretty it can at least slow the other team’s offensive attack and force them to make another zone entry.

Chiarot being a two-way defenseman is definitely something that the Wings need this coming season. Looking at the team’s stats on NHL.com last season there were only 20 goals scored by Red Wings defensemen and 7 of them came from Seider leaving 13 goals from the rest of the team all season. Chiarot scored 9 goals in the regular season last year and was also able to put up 17 assists. The fact that he spent most of the season with the Canadiens, who were the worst team in the league at the time, makes his numbers look even more impressive.

I know that the penalty kill was not good for the Wings last year so I looked up some stats at tsn.ca and found out that they had the worst PK in the league at 73.8%. With Chiarot being an excellent addition to special teams and the potential to be a shutdown player I’m hoping that is a stat that can be greatly improved this season. The Wings also had the second most goals against some shutdown defense is also desperately needed.

The acquisition of Chiarot provides optimism for a better defense next season.

If you don’t count the performance of Seider, the defense last season didn’t give us a whole lot to cheer for, especially after Nick Leddy was traded. Bringing in a guy like Chiarot through free agency along with Olli Maatta and Mark Pysyk gives us a lot to get excited about.

Then you add in the possibility of some prospects like William Wallinder and Simon Edvinsson and it’s starting to look like there is a bright future for the defense here in Detroit!

What do you think about the future of Detroit’s defense? Let me know what you think in the comments section below!