The Detroit Red Wings, desperately in need of some blueline help since the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom and departure of Brad Stuart, has signed free agent defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo to a two-year, $5 million deal.
Last season with the St. Louis Blues, Colaiacovo scored two goals and added 17 assists with 22 penalty minutes and a plus/minus rating of +7 in 64 games. The 29-year old defenseman was part of a Blues’ defense corp that contributed to a league-leading 15 shutouts in 2011-12, helping the team’s goaltending duo of Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak win the William M. Jennings Trophy.
Over his nine-year NHL career, Colaiacovo, 29, has 30 goals and 109 assists in 370 games that has included stops in Toronto and St. Louis. He was selected 17th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2001 NHL Draft. Plagued by injuries during his stay in Toronto, Coliaiacovo and Alex Steen were sent packing as they were shipped to the Blues for Lee Stempniak on November 24, 2008.
During his stay in St. Louis, Colaiacovo averaged 65 games played per season and posted decent offensive numbers for a blueliner. His points totals in a Blues uniform over the last four seasons were 29, 32, 26 and 19. They’re not exactly Ryan Suter-like stats, but he’s adequetly-skilled top-four defenseman that the Red Wings need.
The big plus for this acquisition is if (and that’s a big IF) Colaiacovo can stay healthy for the duration of his contract. He’ll join a defense corp that will include Niklas Kronwall, Ian White, Brendan Smith, Kyle Quincey, Jakub Kindl and Jonathan Ericsson. Also, this will be a two-year deal, which will still give the Red Wings plenty of cap room to acquire another player.
The Red Wings opened up the check book and were ready to land key free agents back in July. Despite striking out on Zach Parise and Ryan Suter,who left for greener pastures, (and I’m speaking of the Minnesota Wild jersey and some cash), the Red Wings managed to acquire serviceable players like Jonas Gustavsson, Jordin Tootoo and now Carlo Colaiacovo will be in the mix. Will this be enough for the Red Wings to remain one of the top teams in the league?
About the Author: Alex lives in Hockeytown, USA. He is a huge Red Wings fan going back to the 1985-86 season when they were dead last with 40 points. He has seen the transition from the 'Dead Wings' to one of the top franchises in sports. You can also follow him at twitter.com/alexmuscat73.