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Daley will make re-building Red Wings better on and off the ice

The Red Wings are sure to struggle for a couple of years, but defenseman Trevor Daley will certainly make their life easier for the next three years.

There was a time not too long ago when the Detroit Red Wings were the biggest stars of the first day of free agency. Those days are undoubtedly over, at least for now. But that doesn’t mean the Red Wings and GM Ken Holland can’t still make a splash and improve the team on Canada Day. And that’s exactly what they did by agreeing to a three-year deal with Trevor Daley.

It’s expected Daley will play on a pairing with Dan DeKeyser next season, with Niklas Kronwall and Mike Green making up the other top-four duo. The fact that the Red Wings were able to get Daley on a three-year contract with a cap hit of just under $3.2 million is a definitive upgrade.

“We have to get the puck up to our forwards,” Holland told THN.com after the signing was made official. “And we think Trevor Daley can help us do that. He’s a guy who can get back to the puck and transport it. And I think with his skating ability, his age at 33 isn’t as big a concern.”

The Red Wings hired former NHLer Shawn Horcoff as their director of player development last year and Horcoff, who played two seasons with Daley as a member of the Dallas Stars, lauded his value as a teammate both on and off the ice. Daley’s character is unquestioned and he will fit into the Detroit dressing room seamlessly.

NHL free agency 2017: Deal tracker and analysis

But it’s his ability as a puck-moving defenseman that will be most valued by the Red Wings. The Pittsburgh Penguins, with whom Daley won two Stanley Cups, really felt his absence when he was out of the lineup for four games during the playoffs. With the exception of a 16-goal, 38-point performance when he was in Dallas, Daley has never been a huge offensive producer, but he’s capable of producing 20 points and start the plays that lead to goals, even if his name doesn’t appear on the scoresheet.

The signing leaves the Red Wings with a glut of defensemen, especially with them signing Luke Witkowski to a one-year deal – that’s the same Witkowski who ended Anthony Mantha’s season when he broke his finger in a fight late in the season. But the Red Wings could not pass on the opportunity to add a player of Daley’s ilk to their lineup. The Red Wings are sure to struggle for a couple of years, but Daley will certainly make their life easier for the next three years.

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