The Detroit Red Wings are expected to be pretty active when the free agent market opens up later on this week, with money to spend and a core that they’d like to get another couple of deep playoff runs out of. There have already been some names floating around as to who they could pursue.
One of those targets could be a member of their (former) biggest rival, the Chicago Blackhawks. With Viktor Stalberg looking like a goner in free agency, after reportedly being unhappy with his role and winding up as a healthy scratch multiple times during the postseason, he’ll be sporting a new sweater next season.
The Red Wings are believed to be among the front runners for the forward, and he’d be a terrific fit. While Stalberg isn’t going to be an offensive power, he’s exactly the type of role player that this Wings team needs. And he’s shown in the past that he can succeed if utilized correctly.
Stalberg doesn’t have the greatest of hands, but his combination of size and speed make him an offensive threat. He’s among the fastest players anywhere in the league, which is an element that this Red Wings club lacks overall. If he used his size more to his advantage, he’d be an even larger threat, but so far that hasn’t been the case. Still, when you put that frame with that speed, he’s a tough matchup for opposing teams.
If he were to sign with the Wings, it’d be interesting to see how they’d utilize him. He wasn’t a special teams player in Chicago, but wasn’t really afforded that opportunity by Joel Quenneville. We’ve seen players who were limited in Chicago go on to blossom in other cities (Troy Brouwer). Could that be the case with Stalberg?
He won’t cost a ton, but will see a pretty big raise from the six figures he’s currently making. The Red Wings will be right in the mix to sign him as a secondary offensive option, and should make a hard push for the 27-year-old. He has upside, and they can give him the opportunity to grow.