The Detroit Red Wings have announced that they have signed forward J.T. Compher to a five-year, $25.5 million contract today, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman from the Colorado Avalanche. The Red Wings entered the free agency window with a plethora of cap space, signing Maple Leafs Defenseman Justin Holl to a three-year, $3.4M AAV early in the day, followed by a one-year, $2.0M contract to coveted Seattle winger Daniel Sprong, and Compher becomes their first big bite of the signing window.
Compher is coming off a career season with the Avalanche, notching a 52-point season, 19 points higher than his previous career high of 33 set the previous season. Compher is a guaranteed 15-goal, 30-point two-way forward entering his prime with Detroit.
A native of Northbrook, Illinois, Compher was favored by many to sign with his hometown Chicago Blackhawks in the week leading up to July 1st. This move to sign close by is a bit of a curveball, but certainly a more appealing destination for JTC. He returns to familiar territory, playing his collegiate hockey as a Wolverine at the University of Michigan. The Red Wings figure to use Compher in a similar top nine role as he was used in Colorado, as there are many places he can slot into the Red Wings' current top nine.
The signing leaves outsiders with a few questions about the direction GM Steve Yzerman is taking the Red Wings, as right now it feels like they’re a fringe playoff contender at best. This signing leaves the Wings with plenty of cap space to do more on a relatively solid UFA market still remaining. The only RFA left to sign is center Joe Veleno, who will come at a relatively cheap price tag.
Will you miss J.T. Compher? Let us know in the comments below!