Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman plugged his hole at right defense by signing former Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Justin Holl.
Holl received a three-year deal with average of $3.4 million per season. If Moritz Seider stays with Jake Walman, right-shot Holl may end up in the second pairing, maybe with Ben Chiarot. While Chiarot is a left-shot defenseman, he can play either side. Left-shot Olli Maatta could also end up with Holl.
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Before signing Holl, Seider and Gus Lindstrom were the only two right-shot who played for the Red Wings last season. Lindstrom is coming off a subpar season, and there were reports that he was considering playing in Europe. But the Red Wings signed him Friday for $950,000, perhaps seeing him as the team’s depth defenseman.
Eventually, Holl could end up with Simon Edvinsson, depending upon when he recovers from shoulder surgery.
Holl, 31, has played 285 career games. Over the past three seasons, he has logged more than 20 minutes per game for the Maple Leafs. He gives Detroit another big defenseman. Holl is 6-foot-3, 200 pounds.
Earlier in the day, the Red Wings signed James Reimer.
The former University of Minnesota standout was never a fan favorite in Toronto. They thought he had too many turnovers.
But some fans, fewer in number, believed Holl was the scapegoat when the real defensive problem was the forward group not backchecking.
The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
But Holl is not the first Toronto defenseman that came to Detroit with a low approval rating in Toronto. One of the legendary tales in Red Wings’ lore is how defenseman Larry Murphy was booed heavily when he played for Maple Leafs and then was traded to Detroit and played in a significant role in helping the Red Wings win back-to-back Stanley Cups. Murphy is now in the Hall of Fame.
No one is suggesting Holl can be a Hall of Famer, but it is possible he could play better for the the Red Wings. He posted 139 blocked shots and 151 hits last season for the Maple Leafs. Holl’s career Corsi rating is above 50%.