The Detroit Red Wings signed defenseman Brad Stuart to a four-year contract on Tuesday. The deal - worth $15 million - was agreed to just before Stuart would habe become an unrestricted free agent.
Detroit acquired Stuart at the NHL's trade deadline in February. He was paired with Niklas Kronwall in a highly-effective second-pairing through the Red Wings' run to the Stanley Cup.
With the signing, the Red Wings' defensive corps from the Cup run remains intact. Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski remain the top pairing with recently-resigned Andreas Lilja and Brett Lebda as the third pair. The team will carry eight defensemen, one being Derek Meech and the other expected to be current free agent Chris Chelios.
"We're obviously done on defense," said Detroit GM Ken Holland. "We're still looking for a back-up goalie. If we can find a forward on a short-term deal to fill out our needs, great. But will that be this week or later in the summer, who knows?"
Stuart's deal includes a no-trade clause for the first two seasons and a limited-trade clause for the final two.
"They were pretty sure he could get $4 to $4.5 million," said Holland. "We paid a little bit more than we wanted to and he took a little bit less than he wanted to. But all deals made a compromises. He's got a home now."
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