Evidently, Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman did play hardball with veteran forward Luke Glendening. Among the early unrestricted free agents to join a new team, Glendening signed a two-year, $3 million deal with the Dallas Stars. The pact has an annual AAV of $1.5 million.
Considering that’s what Glendening opted to accept, it’s evident that the Wings weren’t offering him much. Glendening made $1.5 million last season with the Wings in the final year of his previous contract.
Clearly, departing was sweet sorrow for Michigander Glendening, who’d only Detroit as an NHL home prior to Wednesday’s move.
“It was probably one of the toughest decisions of my life, leaving what I’ve known, what’s been comfortable to me,” Glendining said. “But you never know if you don’t try. I’m really excited for the opportunity to be in Dallas.
“Obviously, I’m going to miss the people, the fans in Detroit. I’ve created some unbelievable friendships here. I grew up in Grand Rapids, so to have my friends and family be so close was great, but I’m really excited for this opportunity in Dallas. It’s something I couldn’t pass up.”
Glendening was Detroit’s best faceoff man last season and among the best in the NHL. He was 10th in the league last season in faceoff winning percentage. Glendening won 60.9 percent of his draws.
LUKE at this! 👀
We have signed Luke Glendening to a 2-year contract through the 2022-23 season.
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) July 28, 2021
Defensively and while his team was shorthanded, Glendening was the NHL’s quickest on the draw. He was first in the NHL at winning defensive-zone draws (305-of-490, 62.2 percent). He also finished No. 1 in the league in shorthanded faceoffs won (99-of-182, 54.3 percent).
His offensive upside wasn’t significant and the real bottom line is that NHL bottom-six forwards are always available in abundance.
Ready Made Replacement?
In fact, the Wings believe they have someone capable of filling Glendening’s skates already in their farm system. Center Chase Pearson has spent the past two seasons working as a checking center with Detroit’s AHL farm club in Grand Rapids and they believe he has the tool kit to be an effective fourth-line center at the NHL level.
Always a responsible two-way center, in his last NCAA season at Maine, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Pearson was presented the Frank Jones Award as the best defensive forward by the New England Hockey Writers Association.
Selected 140th overall by Detroit in the 2015 NHL entry draft, Pearson played all four years at Maine. He’s posted successive 8-14-22 seasons with Grand Rapids. Interestingly, the first year, he did it in 59 games. Last season, it took him just 28 games to put up the same numbers. Pearson also improved from minus-3 to plus-9.