The Detroit Red Wings got busy early on in free agency. They went out and added two veteran defensemen in the early going. The market opened on July 1st, and it became a frenzy to scoop up the talent that was available in a pretty shallow market.
The Detroit Red Wings scooped a half-dozen names, including two defenders who they think will be helpful to the team’s defense core and should play roles with the team this upcoming season.
Detroit Red Wings sign two veteran defensemen.
Justin Holl – RD
The Detroit Red Wings were in need of grabbing a right-handed defender to help anchor their defense core, and for that, they scooped up Justin Holl. He’s not going to be some top-tier, top-pairing player, but he should fill a role well with the Red Wings, slotting into the bottom four well as a right-handed shot.
Holl earned himself a 3-year deal to come to Detroit and aim to stick around the team’s defensive core. His contract carries an annual value of $3.4 million, taking him through the 2025-26 season.
The 31-year-old has spent the last six seasons donning the Maple Leafs jersey in Toronto. He’s been a bottom-pairing guy who’s eaten some minutes for them. He’s fresh off of the 2022-23 season, where he scored two goals and added 16 assists for 18 total points over 80 games played while being a plus-15.
The Red Wings will try and stick him in the bottom-pairing role and keep cycling him in to eat up minutes and play effective hockey for them. It’s a contract that Yzerman is banking on working out, but Holl should be able to live up to his deal as a role-playing third-pairing guy.
Shayne Gostisbehere – LD/RD
The other player the Detroit Red Wings decided to bring in is Florida native Shayne Gostisbehere. The left-handed shooting defender is here on a one-year deal worth $4.125 million. He’s been in the league for nine years, spending seven seasons in Philadelphia.
He ended up getting traded to the Arizona Coyotes for two draft picks in 2021, playing for the Coyotes for a little over a season before getting moved to Carolina at the trade deadline in 2022-23. He’s coming off of the 2022-23 season, where he played in 75 games, scoring 13 goals and adding 28 assists for 41 total points.
The Red Wings might have done something here. Gostisbehere has offensive upside and the ability to play both sides, being comfortable playing off-handed if needed. The Red Wings are going to bank on Gostisbehere, finding some offense from the point for them in this year, making this deal more than worthwhile.
Frankly, if he could tap into offense in Arizona (10-21–31 over 52 games), then he should be able to find offense in Detroit. While it’s only a one-year contract, Gostisbehere should be able to play a significant role for the Red Wings’ defense core in 2023-24.
It will be interesting to see how Gostisbehere and Holl settle in, both being veterans. The upside is high for both, in different respective archetypes. Gostisbehere should bring the offense, while Holl should bring the depth role.