The Detroit Red Wings announced on Wednesday the signing of Czech defenseman Libor Sulak.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) May 24, 2017
Sulak was slated to play for the Pelicans of the Finnish Elite League next season.
For the past two seasons, Sulak has played for Orli Znojmo of the Austrian Erste Bank Eishockey Liga. In 2016 he was the league’s rookie of the year. He played for Czechia – alongside Detroit netminder Petr Mrazek – at the just-completed 2017 IIHF World Championships.
The move gives the Red Wings 14 defensemen who are either already signed or are restricted free agents headed into this summer. Some, such as prospect Dennis Cholowski, will almost certainly spend next season with their junior clubs. However, it’s safe to assume that the Grand Rapids Griffins will add some veteran defensemen on AHL-only deals, meaning that blueline roster spots throughout the organization will be at a premium.
Sulak’s contract is a two-year entry level deal.
Update, 3:25 PM: Apparently Sulak’s deal with the Pelicans means he will either play there or with Detroit next year, not with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League. I have to think him making the Detroit roster comes at the expense of one of Nick Jensen, Xavier Ouellet, or Ryan Sproul, who likely wouldn’t make it through waivers to the Griffins, so this signing wouldn’t impact the roster spot crunch as much as it originally seemed.