Red Wings Sign Shayne Gostisbehere to 1-Year Contract

The Hockey Writers

The Detroit Red Wings have signed defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere to a 1-year deal paying him $4.125 million per season.

It wasn’t that long ago that Gostisbehere was considered one of the best defensive prospects in the NHL. In his rookie season back in 2015-16, he posted 17 goals and 46 points, while finishing second in the 2016 Calder Trophy vote behind Artemi Panarin and in front of Connor McDavid.

Of course, the 2015-16 season is a long time ago now, and Gostisbehere’s career didn’t blossom quite like his fellow Calder nominees. While he always showcased a top-end offensive toolkit for a defenseman, he often struggled in his own zone, which led to a lot of issues when his scoring started slowing down. This led him to be dealt to the Arizona Coyotes in a cap-dump move, where he started to find his game again before he landed with the Carolina Hurricanes at the 2023 Trade Deadline.

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While his time in Carolina wasn’t perfect, Gostisbehere still showcased that he had a lot of hockey left to play, especially if a team is able to shelter his defensive liabilities so he can utilize his offensive potential to its fullest. He isn’t a top-pairing shut-down defender, but he also shouldn’t be asked to be. He will rack up a lot of points, but will also likely go minus on the season.

What Gostisbehere Brings to the Red Wings

For Detroit, Gostisbehere’s equation is simple. He is a top-flight offensive-defenseman who isn’t the most reliable on defense. When they signed him, they did so for him to run their powerplay and chip in 10 goals and 40-plus points this season. If they are expecting more than this from Gostisbehere then they will be sorely disappointed.

Related: 2023 NHL Free Agency Tracker

This is what concerns me about Gostisbehere’s contract with the Red Wings. Sure, it is only for one season, but $4.125 million is a bit steep for a defenseman that simply is a point producer. For that kind of money, you would be expecting him to play top-four minutes, but it feels like he will slot best into Detroit’s line-up best in the bottom pair where he can play a sheltered role and act as a powerplay specialist.

So, this is a bit of an odd signing by Detroit. It almost feels like general manager Steve Yzerman is making this move so he can sell Gostisbehere at the 2024 trade deadline while retaining money on his contract to make him an appealing target.

Shayne Gostisbehere Carolina Hurricanes
While Shayne Gostisbehere was acquired by the Carolina Hurricanes at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline, he struggled at times to keep up with postseason play. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Perhaps the concern will be misplaced and he will just slot in and help the Red Wings make the playoffs once again, but that will require a number of things to go right. I mean, there is a high scoring ceiling for Gostisbehere, so maybe he will break 50 points again in Detroit this season?

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