3 free agents the Red Wings can sign away from Utah in 2024 NHL free agency

The Detroit Red Wings have 31 other teams to sign away pending unrestricted free agents from, and even Utah has some talent.
Arizona Coyotes v Detroit Red Wings
Arizona Coyotes v Detroit Red Wings / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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Liam O’Brien, F

No, we aren’t listing a trio of blueliners, but Liam O’Brien is a good, physical forward who would serve as a glue guy if the Wings needed one. Like Josh Brown and Travis Dermott, O’Brien isn’t a points producer, and his 6.8 shooting percentage over his past three seasons in the desert mirrors that of some defensemen, but few in this season’s free agency class will bring home such an intimidation factor. 

O’Brien compiled 373 penalty minutes in his previous 170 games, so the Red Wings would get someone looking to stand up for star players if anyone tries to bait them into a skirmish. With 571 hits in that same frame, O’Brien is finishing roughly 3.35 body checks per outing. 

No, he doesn’t bring much more than a hard-hitting mentality, and he’s rarely pitching in on special teams. But depending on which voids Steve Yzerman must fill this offseason, O’Brien will bring immense value when the playoff race heats up starting in the second half of the season. 

More like Brown than Dermott, O’Brien would also help in the defensive zone, evidenced by his on-ice save percentage of 92.3 and 1:1 goals for to goals allowed ratio, all at even strength. His possession quality sat at minus-3, but with 27 goals for and allowed when on the ice, he outplayed his xGF of 26.1 and xGA of 29.1.


(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)