By Michael Caples -
The Red Wings are in the hunt for the biggest free-agent prizes during this off-season.
But the first move they made was to sign a back-up goaltender.
TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that the Wings have signed Jonas Gustavsson to a two-year deal less than an hour into the first day of free agency period. The deal is worth $3 million, making for a $1.5 million cap hit for the Wings both years.
The Red Wings confirmed the signing with a press release distributed at 2:12 p.m. ET.
The Toronto Maple Leafs brought the Sweden native into the NHL in 2009. He has played in 107 NHL games since, recording 39 wins and 45 losses. He holds a career .900 save percentage and 2.98 goals-against average.
Last season, Gustavsson was 17-17-4 for the Leafs, with four shutouts. He posted a .902 save percentage and a 2.92 goals-against average.
Gustavsson will serve as an interesting back-up to Jimmy Howard; he was a highly sought-after prospect when the Leafs signed him. He could thrive in Detroit with the Wings’ Swedish-heavy roster.
Wings ink Brunner
Have the Red Wings found their latest gem out of Europe?
The club officially announced today that they have signed free-agent forward Damien Brunner of Switzerland.
Brunner, the latest undrafted European player to catch the attention of NHL clubs, shined at the IIHF World Championship. In two of the last three World Championship (2010 and 2012), the 26-year-old has posted four goals and eight assists for 12 points in 14 games.
Playing in Switzerland’s National League A over the last four seasons, Brunner has played at a point per game pace, recording 190 points (78 goals, 112 assists) in 167 games. Last season, he led the league in scoring (60 points in 45 games), and was named the league’s top forward.
Brunner checks in at 5-foot-10-inches and 176 pounds.
While in the midst of adding some new faces to their line-up, the Wings have also brought back a familiar one.
At roughly 6:30 p.m. ET, the Wings announced that they have signed Mikael Samuelsson to a two-year deal.
Samuelsson, 35, spent four seasons with the Red Wings, from 2005-08. During that time frame, Samuelsson helped the Wings to back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals, including their 2008 championship over Pittsburgh. Samuelsson played 278 regular-season games with the Wings, and recorded 159 points.
The native of Mariefred, Sweden has played in 669 games since being drafted by the Sharks in 1998. Last season, he played for the Panthers in an injury-shortened season that saw him record 28 points in 48 games.
Tootoo signs three-year deal
The Red Wings also confirmed that they have signed Jordin Tootoo to a three-year deal.
Tootoo won’t bring much of an offensive punch to the line-up, but odds are that’s not why the Wings picked him up in the first place. The native of Churchill, Manitoba has 725 penalty minutes in eight NHL seasons, and his career-high for goals is only 11.
If the Wings were looking for grit, toughness, and someone to genuinely bother their opponent, they certainly found one.