NHL free agency period begins as Wings re-sign three, pick up Commodore

DETROIT, Mich. (WXYZ) -- Ken Holland is known around the league as one of the smartest General Managers.

It should come as no surprise that Holland backed off when Jaromir Jagr turned his casual comeback talks into a bidding war.

According to reports Friday, both the Penguins and Red Wings pulled out of discussions with the former MVP. The offer from Pittsburgh was around a 1-year, $2 million deal. Montreal leads a list of teams still interested in the 39-year old's services.

Holland was active before Friday's 12pm opening of free agency, re-signing three of his own players. Jonathan Ericsson, Patrick Eaves, and Drew Miller are all back in the fold while Kris Draper and Chris Osgood wait to hear what's next for their future.

Former Stanley Cup champion Mike Commodore was also brought in to shore up the defensive unit. The 31-year old won a title with Carolina and spent part of last season with the Blue Jackets.

"I have a lot of respect for Ken Holland, and the coaching staff, and the players they have here. I'm ecstatic."

Jonathan Ericsson signed a 3-year, $9.75 million deal to stay with the team that drafted him with the 291st pick of the 2002 NHL Draft. The 6'4" 220-pound defenseman came into the league with plenty of upside and despite signs of brilliance in the 2009 playoffs, Ericsson's progress slowed tremendously in 2009-10 when he amassed just four goals and nine assists. Last year was slightly better, as he tallied three goals and twelve assists, but this deal is signed with the intention for his 2009 self to regain form.

Eaves also signed a deal late Tuesday night, his for three years and $3.6 million. Since Eaves joined Detroit in 2009-10, he has been a welcomed addition to their third and fourth lines, scoring 12 and 13 goals in his two seasons with the team.

Miller was also signed before the free agency period opened. His deal is for two years and $1.65 million. The 27-year old brother of Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller scored ten goals in each of the past two seasons.

The Red Wings added offensive depth by signing Mike Commodore to a one-year deal, valued at $1 million.  Commodore has a checkered past with Mike Babcock, who was his head coach in Anaheim.  Babcock questioned Commodore's conditioning, and Commodore publicly stated, "Mike Babcock was without a doubt an obstacle in my career."

Now, the two are re-united in Detroit.

The Red Wings would ideally love to add a top-four defenseman, but pickings continue to be slim. Three of their supposed targets were signed to long-term, big money contracts before Friday's deadline rolled around.

Former Plymouth Whaler defenseman James Wisniewski is a 27-year old who has bounced around the league in his short career. He apparently wanted to settle down, scoring a 6-year, $33 million contract with the Blue Jackets. The Jackets had acquired his rights earlier in the week from Montreal.

Christian Ehrhoff better get used to Buffalo winters. He signed a 10-year, $40 million agreement to play with the Sabres. He led Vancouver to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010-11.

Late last week, Vancouver re-signed defenseman Kevin Bieska to a 5-year, $23-million deal.

Possible players the Wings would likely still target include former Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski, Bruins defenseman Tomas Kaberle, Goalies Peter Budaj (Colorado), Alex Auld (Montreal), Brian Boucher (Philadelphia), Ty Conklin (St. Louis), Mathieu Garon (Columbus), Curtis McElhinney (Ottawa), and Jose Theodore (Minnesota).

Kris Draper and Chris Osgood were not re-upped by Holland. Draper has said Detroit is the only place he'd like to work.

Stay with Channel 7 for continuing Red Wings free agency news.


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