Young defenseman Brian Lashoff was supposed to spend the entire 2012-13 season in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins. While he did start there during the NHL lockout, injuries to Carlo Colaiacovo, Jonathan Ericsson and Jakub Kindl had him making his NHL debut just one week into the abbreviated season. He has been a pleasant surprise for the Detroit Red Wings and the team rewarded him with a three-year contract extension on Monday.
Lashoff played his first game for the Wings on Jan. 21 against the Columbus Blue Jackets and scored a goal while seeing more than 18 minutes of ice time. He has since proved to be a valuable addition to the team and is regularly seeing time on the top pairing with Niklas Kronwall. He blocks shots, is solid on the penalty kill and rarely takes penalties.
The Red Wings made a great decision to reward his play with an extension and made sure he won’t hit the open market at the end of the season. The deal will pay Lashoff $2.175 million over three-years, and has a cap hit of $725,000 per season. The biggest part of the deal is that he is now guaranteed a spot in Detroit’s lineup in the future because the deal is one-way.
There is still a chance he gets returned to the Griffins at some point this season once everyone is healthy, but that would be a hard (and largely unpopular) move given how he has performed so far. The Wings missed out on some of their big free-agent defense targets this summer, so it is especially refreshing to see them lock down one of their young prospects.