Red Wings sign defenseman Jon Merrill, forward Bobby Ryan to one-year deals

Detroit News

Ted Kulfan
| The Detroit News

Detroit — The Red Wings made their first dip into free agency on Friday, signing local defenseman Jon Merrill and forward Bobby Ryan.

A Grand Blanc and Brighton native, Merrill signed a one-year contract worth $925,000, according to TSN.

Merrill, 28, played in 49 games last season with Vegas, recording two goals and five assists.

Merrill has played in 356 games in his NHL career, with 12 goals and 49 assists.

Merrill (6-foot-3, 195 pounds) played his youth hockey with Little Caesars and then the U.S. National Development Team Program, before playing at Michigan.

Subscription: If Wings decide to go shopping, here are the NHL’s top 20 free agents

Before signing Merrill, the Wings added depth at forward with Ryan.

This year’s Masterton Trophy winner, for perseverance and dedication to hockey, Ryan was bought out of his final two seasons in a seven-year deal with Ottawa (seven year, $50.75 million).

Ryan, 33, is signing a one-year deal worth approximately $1 million with the Wings.

Ryan had five goals and three assists in 24 games with Ottawa last season. Ryan missed a portion of the season beginning in November to enter the NHL/NHL Players Association player assistance program, for alcohol abuse.

Ryan returned on Feb. 25 and scored three goals for Ottawa in a 5-2 victory over Nashville.

A former No. 2 overall pick in 2005, Ryan has played in 833 regular-season games with 555 points (254 goals, 301 assists).

Ryan scored at least 30 goals each season from 2008-12 while in Anaheim — but never scored more than 23 goals in Ottawa.

Twitter: @tkulfan

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