Updated at 6:20 AM: The Red Wings chose to re-sign 34-year-old defenseman Marc Staal to a 1-year, $2 million contract on Sunday, adding a full no-movement clause to the mix to ensure that the 6’3″ defenseman would remain a Wing, and Staal spoke with the media regarding his decision to stay on a rebuilding Detroit team on Monday morning:
“I told you guys (reporters) at the of the year, during the year, I really enjoyed myself (in Detroit),” Staal said Monday during a media Zoom call. “The organization, the team, the way we were playing, what’s been going on there (offseason moves), it’s fun to be a part of.
“You never know what you’re going to have in free agency and I was curious to get there. But Steve (general manager Steve Yzerman) reached out and made an offer, and like I said before, I had fun playing (in Detroit).”
Staal, 34, also asked, and received, a no-move clause from Yzerman.
“Getting something concrete down where I can move my family down there now and do that stuff, at this time, it was the best decision,” Staal said. “I have three young kids and it was important to me. Not to say I’d say no to an opportunity (at the trade deadline, if it occurs) but with the young family and you never know what’ll be the situation when you get to that time of the year (trade deadline). To be able to control it a little bit at the trade deadline was important.
“Steve was willing to do that for me and I appreciate that. You never know what’s going to happen, but it’s a nice thing to have.”
Kulfan continues; Staal also told DetroitRedWings.com’s Josh Berenter that he’s bought into the Wings’ attempts to improve its roster:
“He’s trying to build a winner,” Staal said about Yzerman. “He’s going to move some pieces around and we’re getting more competitive. I thought we got better as the year went on last year and I think we’ll be better again. That’s what we’re striving for. And it’s a fun thing to be a part of. The fact that he wanted me back to help and be a part of this organization, this team, was a pretty exciting opportunity.”
“I played against Leddy for a lot of years in New York. He’s an incredibly skilled player,” Staal said about the new Red Wings defenseman. “The guy can fly. I’m excited to be able to play with him and not against him. Leddy makes our team better, no question.”
Staal’s brother, Jordan, played with Nedeljkovic in Carolina last season, and the Wings defenseman said he’s looking forward for his turn to play in front of the young netminder.
“Jordan spoke very highly of him. He had a great year last year.” Staal said about Nedeljkovic. “I know from just playing against him, he plays the puck extremely well. So I love that part of this. I’ll probably take a few less hits with him handling the puck back there. He’s a competitive guy and I’m excited to meet him and play in front of him.”
Staal also had this to say to Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen:
“Leddy makes our team better, no question. He’s a good player,” Staal said. “Nedeljkovic a very good goaltender. We’re moving in the right direction. We were pretty consistent last year in our work ethic and the way we played. Added some pieces, see what happens in the next little while, but exciting place to be. It was a pretty easy decision to sign up for it again.”
Update: Here are a few more comments from Staal, as noted by the Free Press’s Helene St. James…
The Wings struggled last season, finishing 19-27-10, but in the past two weeks, the team has been strengthened via trades for defenseman Nick Leddy and goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic. That feeds into how general manager Steve Yzerman eased the anxiety for Staal in October.
“He’s trying to build a winner,” Staal said. “We’re getting more competitive. I thought we got better as the year wore on last year, and I think we’ll be better again. That’s what we’re striving for. It’s a fun thing to be a part of.
“The fact they wanted me back to help in that way and be a part of this organization, this team, for me was a pretty exciting opportunity. You never know what you’re going to get in free agency. I was curious to get there, but Steve reached out and made an offer. I felt like it was a good situation for me last year, I had fun playing.”
As well as MLive’s Ansar Khan:
Staal could be the veteran left-shooter paired with top prospect Moritz Seider, who is expected to earn a roster spot out of training camp.
“I haven’t seen him play yet; I heard he’s a very talented young player,” Staal said. “You can be a good influence on anyone, doesn’t mean you have to play with them. I’m just looking forward to being part of this group and helping us improve.”
If Staal isn’t paired with Seider, veteran Nick Leddy might be, after being acquired from the New York Islanders on July 16. Staal and Leddy have played against each other many times.
“He’s an incredibly skilled player, the guy can fly, controls the puck really well,” Staal said. “Super-excited to be able to play with him and not against him.”