Jake Walman’s 3-year extension makes sense for Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Free Press

When the Detroit Red Wings finally got him into the lineup on a regular basis, Jake Walman showed what a help he can be.

It made sense, therefore, as the Wings announced Tuesday, to sign the 27-year-old defenseman to a three-year, $10.2 million extension; the $3.4 million annual average value fits in well with what general manager Steve Yzerman is trying to do: Build a competitive team while maintaining salary cap flexibility.

Walman originally was acquired in March of last year as part of a trade with the St. Louis Blues, and re-signed last summer for one year. Offseason surgery delayed his availability until mid-November, and by the end of December, he emerged as viable partner for Moritz Seider on the top defense pairing.

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READ MORE:How Jake Walman has impacted Red Wings’ Moritz Seider

Walman is an elite skater who has an eye for when to get involved offensively. In 40 games, he had five goals and five assists, and a team-best plus-17 rating. His impact on Seider shows in the numbers: In the first 34 games, Seider had 12 points and a minus-13 rating. Since gaining Walman as a partner on New Year’s Eve, Seider had 18 points and a plus-5 rating in 25 games.

Walman was acquired at the 2021 trade deadline along with Oskar Sundqvist and a second-round pick in the 2023 draft for Nick Leddy and Luke Witkowski. Walman played 19 games for the Wings last season, and underwent surgery in the summer that kept him from a training camp. While he was recovering, Walman decided to change his number from 8 to 96.

READ MORE:How Jake Walman went from ‘risky and erratic’ to ‘really good’

Walman is the second defenseman on an expiring contract Yzerman has signed in February; he extended Olli Määttä for two years, $6 million on Feb. 16.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from  Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

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