Welcome to Re-Sign or Resign, a new segment covering the pros and cons of Detroit’s pending UFAs. We’ll be taking a closer look at each UFA while going over two schools of thought: re-signing the player, or letting him run free into the sunset. So far, we’ve covered Luke Glendening, Darren Helm, Valtteri Filppula, and Marc Staal. Today’s topic is a unique one: Alex Biega.
“Oh yeah, that guy!” is what I said when I saw Alex Biega on the UFA list.
For those who don’t remember, Biega was acquired in the 2019-20 season from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for AHL forward David Pope. Since the trade, Biega has played in 62 games with the Red Wings. Pope, on the other hand, played briefly for the Utica Comets of the AHL before being reassigned to the ECHL. It doesn’t look like he played at all in 2020-21.
By all accounts, this trade was a win for Yzerman. 62 NHL games later, we’re left with a question: what’s to be done about Biega? He was signed to a serviceable two-way contract with the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Wings, serving as an emergency taxi squad call-up when other Wings were injured. He’s not going to push for a roster spot anytime soon — but should he be brought back on a one-year deal similar to his last contract?
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
The team — and Biega, likely — know that he will probably never serve a full-time role on an NHL roster again. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Biega understands his role, knows what he has to do when he plays with the Wings, and has never made a fuss about it. No matter how you look at it, Biega is a solid 7D-8D. The term and contract are pretty cut and dry. In this hypothetical scenario, he’ll earn a league-minimum, two-way, one-year deal. He can tap in and out as needed and serve as a mentor for the younger players in Grand Rapids. What more could you ask for?
Plus, in a pinch, the guy’s actually pretty good on the penalty kill.
Alex Biega, extended by the Red Wings, could have a very interesting conversation with Martin Jones about being elite on the penalty kill and crappy at everything else. #LGRW pic.twitter.com/hFSRsOgeLS
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) March 10, 2020
Biega hasn’t been bad, per se, but…he’s very replaceable. The free agency market will likely have dozens of guys that are 7D-caliber or better. Even new signee Wyatt Newpower could serve in his role. If the Red Wings want to get younger and faster, Biega might not be the answer. To put things lightly, Biega is not even good as a replacement-level player anymore. At 33 years of age, he’s not getting any better anytime soon. A stopgap player like Biega shouldn’t be making the mistakes he makes on the ice.
Biega played just 13 games for Detroit last season. With guys like Dennis Cholowski, Gustav Lindstrom, and (hopefully) Wyatt Newpower vying for spots, the door on a Biega extension may already be closed. Sure, a league-minimum deal probably won’t hurt. But it certainly begs a question: what’s the point? Why bother?
If you haven’t noticed a pattern yet, a lot of these UFA signings won’t make a huge difference with the Wings. The same can be said of Biega. Even if he plays the best hockey of his career next season, at best, he’s a low-end 6D. Detroit already has plenty of players like him in their system. They could easily find a player of Biega’s caliber or higher on the free agency market. If the Wings want to keep Biega, they should sign him to a full-time AHL deal. He’s earned it.
Should the Red Wings re-sign Alex Biega?
198 votes total