The Detroit Red Wings have signed another college forward, this time inking Chase Pearson to a two-year entry-level contract. Pearson was Detroit’s fifth-round pick in 2015, and has played the last three seasons at the University of Maine. The deal will begin in the 2019-20 season, and Pearson will join the Grand Rapids Griffins on an amateur tryout for the rest of this year.
Pearson, 21, has been a Hobey Baker nominee in each of the last two years after solid seasons at Maine where he showed off his two-way ability and leadership abilities. Named captain as a sophomore, the 6’2″ center leaves school with 78 points in 107 games and will now try to continue his development at the AHL level. While there might not be huge offensive upside for Pearson, there is a real chance he could compete at the NHL level one day and be another piece of the rebuilding Red Wings.
Detroit currently sits at 49 contracts for this season after adding Taro Hirose and Ryan Kuffner, meaning they would have been completely tapped out if Pearson had signed for 2018-19. Instead, they can still add another college or international free agent down the stretch to burn a year of an entry-level contract. That leverage will only help them in whatever negotiations they are still involved in.