In a matter of hours on Tuesday, the Red Wings brought back their number two defenseman by signing Chris Chelios and replaced retired netminder Dominik Hasek by coming to terms with former Toronto Maple Leafs Curtis Joseph. One busy day of free agency filled almost all of the Red Wings’ needs.
Joseph, 35, was signed in the early morning. He annaounced his signing with Detroit at a press conference in Toronto, where he bid a tearful farewell to the fans of his hometown team. He was introduced to the Detroit media later in the day at a Joe Louis Arena press conference.
Cujo turned down a bigger offer from the Leafs to come to Hockeytown, saying he was “excited about the Red Wings organization” and that “everyone knows what the Ilitch’s are about.”
Chelios, 40, remained the Red Wings’ oldest defenseman by signing a two-year deal later Tuesday evening.
His brief time as a free agent was the first time in his career he was without a team and he said he hated it. “But I guarantee you one thing, I’ll never be a free agent again. It’s no fun. I felt I was doing the right thing by the Players Association, plus, I’ve never done it before. I’m just glad everything worked out.”
Cheios is high on Joseph despite reports that he and Brett Hull pushed for the signing of Ed Belfour. “We were fortunate to have Dominik here, and to replace him with a guy like Cujo is great,” Chelios said. “He’s been one of the best goaltenders over the past decade. It’s a great job by the organization to get him.”
Following Tuesday’s signings, the Red Wings have only unrestricted free agent Igor Larionov left to sign, as well as a group of restricted free agents including Mathieu Dandenault, Jiri Fischer and Darren McCarty. Scotty Bowman‘s replacement as head coach is expected to be named next week.