Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jake Walman, who established himself this season as one of the team’s top four defensemen, has agreed to a new contract worth an average of $3.4 million per season.
Walman was making just over $1 million per season, but could have become an unrestricted free agent.
“That’s always been my motto: I’ll play my heart out for whoever wants me,” Walman said recently.
Walman made it clear he wanted to stay with the Red Wings because they gave him the opportunity to be a vital contributor. He’s currently Moritz Seider‘s defensive partner, and the duo usually is matched up against the league’s top lines. Walman is a high-level skater, but never was able to win over coaches when he was with the St. Louis Blues. The Red Wings acquired him last season in the Nick Leddy trade.
It’s been Walman’s work to improve his defensive game that has impressed the Red Wings. He leads the team in plus-minute (+17). The Blues didn’t believe he was aggressiveness enough, but Walman has been hard-edged for the Red Wings. He set a personal best of eight shots on goal in the recent loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning and another personal best of seven blocked shots in Monday’s loss to the Ottawa Senators.
Walman took some heavy hits in the Ottawa game. He was stung by a couple of shot blocks, but continued to play effectively.
The Toronto native has a booming shot, and would have more points if he had more power play time. Seider and Filip Hronek are ahead of him on the power play depth shot. He does have five goals and 10 points this season.
If the Red Wings had wanted to trade Walman, they would have had a few teams interested. But Yzerman clearly envisions him being part of Detroit’s future.