The Detroit Red Wings have reached an agreement with Taro Hirose on a two-year contract extension, keeping him in the organization and away from unrestricted free agency. The financial details of the deal have not yet been released.
Hirose, 25, would have qualified as a Group VI UFA this summer, after playing just 57 games to this point in his NHL career. Just 15 of those came this season but the young forward showed just how dangerous he could be at the minor league level.
In 59 games for the Grand Rapids Griffins, Hirose had 15 goals and 53 points. He’ll likely spend a good chunk of this new contract in the minor leagues as well, though he’ll have to clear waivers in order to do it.
A highly sought-after undrafted free agent in 2019 out of Michigan State University, Hirose has 20 points in his 57-game NHL career to this point, suggesting that there actually is some upside at that level if he ever gets a more prolonged opportunity. If not, he still represents a strong injury replacement for short-term stints, as he can step into a top-six or powerplay role if necessary.
There’s also always a chance that he catches the eye of the new coaching staff, with Jeff Blashill not returning. That battle will happen in training camp now that the contract negotiations are complete.