The Detroit Red Wings defense from the 2013 season will return mostly intact this fall, with only Ian White certain to not return. Two restricted free agents, Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith, are in need of new contracts but are expected to be back. While Smith struggled in his first “full” season, Kindl seized the opportunity presented by a contract year and turned in his finest performance as a pro.
For most of his time with the Red Wings, Kindl had been on the outside looking in, often scratched in favor of more seasoned veterans. This year that changed, as Kindl played in 41 of the Red Wings’ 48 games and played over veterans like White and Carlo Colaiacovo at times. He also put up career highs in goals (four) and points (13) while also finishing second on the team with a plus-15 rating. He tied with Jonathan Ericsson for second on the team in defense scoring (behind Niklas Kronwall), a huge step forward for the former first-round pick (2005). Kindl added a goal and five points in 14 playoff games, while averaging more than 17 minutes of ice time.
Reports late Friday indicated that the Red Wings have reached a new deal with the young defenseman. As reported, the deal is for four years and worth just under $10 million, a decent bump in pay but a well-deserved one. With Kindl now locked up, the Red Wings will shift focus to fellow defenseman Smith as well as forwards Damien Brunner, Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson.