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Red Wings Provide Happy Homecoming For Oesterle

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The Detroit Red Wings signed UFA D Jordan Oesterle to a two-year contract on Wednesday worth $2.7 million.

Jordan Oesterle is living proof that it’s possible to endure a sleepless night and still have all your dreams come true.

“It was a little nerve-wracking,” veteran NHL defenseman Oesterle admited about NHL free agency eve. “This is something I grew up wanting to do. I couldn’t sleep too much last night waiting to find out if it was going to happen this morning.

“It ends up where it did and I can’t be more excited to play for this organization.”

From Dearborn Heights, Michigan, Oesterle, 29, is about to embark on what he believes will be a happy homecoming. The unrestricted free agent signed a two-year, $2.7-million contract on Wednesday with the Detroit Red Wings.

“I didn’t know the chances going into free agency,” Oesterle said. “I know they were looking for a left-shot defenseman but I didn’t know if I was going to have a chance.”

Childhood Wings Fan

Growing up, his family were Red Wings season-ticket holders. He knew his parents would be over the moon with excitement at the possibility that their son would be wearing the Winged Wheel, so he decided that keeping the negotiations under wraps until there was official news to pass on to family was the best course of action.

“Once I heard I was in the mix, I kind of was narrow minded in wanting this to be the destination,” Oesterle admitted. “I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Lucky enough, it was able to come to fruition.”

The Red Wings will be Oesterle’s fourth NHL team. He spent the past three seasons with the Arizona Coyotes. Prior to that, he skated for one season with the Chicago Blackhawks and parts of three campaigns for the Edmonton Oilers.

Scouting reports out of Arizona indicated that Oesterle’s overall game fell off a bit last season from his previous campaign. He wasn’t nearly as consistently stellar along the blueline as he’d performed for the Coyotes in 2019-20.

“There’s been years I’ve put up some good points and then years where the puck didn’t go my way,”Oesterle said. “I’ve grown a lot defensively over the three years in Arizona and I think in the defensive zone and getting up and being that fourth man up the ice in creating that extra attack.”

He’s studied the Detroit roster, especially the blueline corps and Oesterle believes that he hears opportunity knocking.

Finding A Role

“I felt I fit their mold,” Oesterle said. “There were minutes available for me to kind of grab onto. Looking at this roster and their D corps they have a lot of great up and coming young defensemen in their system and they have some older veterans like Danny (DeKeyser) and (Marc) Staal and (Nick) Leddy kind of teaching them the ways. I’m kind of in that middle gap. It’s great for me to join and hopefully grab a role and grow with it.”

“I haven’t played too many games in the league yet, so learning from those guys and also trying to be that second layer between the younger guys and the veterans.”

It’s the second time his career that Oesterle has been recruited by Wings coach Jeff Blashill. In 2011, when he was coaching Western Michigan, Blashill brought Oesterle in to play for the Broncos. Among his teammates was DeKeyser. Oesterle was married last week and DeKeyser attended the wedding.

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