After signing Thomas Greiss earlier today, the Red Wings are dipping their toes into the UFA waters again as they announced (Twitter link) the signing of defenseman Troy Stecher to a two-year contract. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports (via Twitter) that the deal carries an AAV of $1.7MM. The 26-year-old was non-tendered by Vancouver on Wednesday instead of giving him a $2.325MM qualifying offer with salary arbitration rights.
Stecher is coming off of a quiet season with the Canucks. After being a part of their top four, the addition of Tyler Myers and Chris Tanev staying healthy pushed him into primarily a spot on the third pairing in 2019-20. As a result, his playing time dipped by more than four minutes a game (from 19:55 to 15:21) although he still managed to put up five goals and a dozen assists in 69 games. In 17 postseason appearances, he had two tallies and a helper while logging a little over 16 minutes per game. Those numbers are still good for someone on the third pairing but at his qualifying offer number, it was just a bit too expensive for Vancouver to justify. However, with him and Tanev now gone, there is a hole on Vancouver’s back end that will need to be filled.
Stecher should fit in well with Detroit. Their depth on the right side of their back end is limited with Filip Hronek basically being the only one ahead of him on the right so this should be an opportunity for him to go back to playing in a top-four role. He’ll only be 28 when his deal is up which should give him a chance to hit the open market while still being in the prime of his career. Meanwhile, this may be it for the Red Wings when it comes to the rebuild of their defense. With this addition plus Jon Merrill yesterday and Marc Staal last month, they now have seven NHL blueliners under contracts with a few youngsters that should contend for playing time at some point next season.