According to Ansar Khan, Dallas Drake has signed a one-year, $550,000 contract with the team that drafted him in 1989. The signing adds size to the Wings’ forward group, should they choose to use the 6’1″, 195 lbs. grinder type. There’s a chance he could fill in on the 3rd or 4th line, but it’s not unlikely that he’ll be in Grand Rapids to start the season, given the Wings’ youth log-jam.* He’d have to clear waivers to go to the minors, but at this stage in his career, that isn’t much of a concern. In the Khan piece, Holland talks as though Drake will be a Red Wing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that that depends on the training camp performances of guys like Jiri Hudler, Tomas Kopecky, Igor Grigorenko, and Matt Ellis, not to mention Drake himself.
Drake’s a gritty player who plays a rough game, as you might remember from his high hit on Brett Lebda this past season that resulted in a two-game suspension. He’s never been a guy to put up big numbers (he maxed out at 45 points in ’99-’00 in Phoenix), but he was big on the penalty kill for the Blues last season and would be a likely candidate for a regular spot on the Wings’ PK if he makes the team.
Not a bad signing at all, given the price and the fact that Drake will bring grit and physical play, as well as leadership, whether he suits up in Detroit or in Grand Rapids.
George Malik has a nice round-up post here.
*The Wings now have Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Holmstrom, Samuelsson, Filppula, Franzen, Maltby, Draper, Cleary, Hudler, Kopecky, Ellis, Grigorenko, and Drake under contract. That’s 14 forwards, with the first nine (italics) all set regulars. We could see any combination of the other five (bold).