The Detroit Red Wings have re-signed defenseman Jonathan Ericsson to a six-year contract. The team didn’t make the monetary details available, but that kind of thing rarely takes more than a few minutes to leak. That was the case again today, and the contract might be worth a bit more than expected and for a longer duration than most saw coming.
Red Wings agree to six-year $25.5 million extension with defenseman Jonathan Ericsson. Cap hit $4.25 m
— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) November 27, 2013
On the surface a $4.25 million cap hit might seem like a bit of an over payment. Keep in mind that Detroit saw what the defensive group would look like without Ericsson for an extending period of time earlier this season though. They clearly didn’t like what they saw, and were aggressive in locking up the forward-turned-defenseman.
The fact is that top-four defenders don’t become available all that often, and the Wings would have had to spend at least this much if they sought out a free agent to replace Ericsson. The extension carries him to his 36th birthday and means that Detroit had a solid group of defenders for the foreseeable future.
The blue line isn’t at an elite level like when Brian Rafalski, Chris Chelios and Nicklas Lidstrom werre manning the points, but that is a group that is impossible to replace. “Big Rig” will be a part of Detroit’s defense for more than the next decade, and the cap hit will only look better as the ceiling continues to rise over the next six seasons.