The Red Wings posted videos of the press conferences held by Sam Gagner and Jordan Oesterle this afternoon, and the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan took note of Gagner’s remarks regarding his 1-year, $2 million contract…
“It was kind of my intention all along (to stay in Detroit), I really enjoyed my time last year,” Gagner said. “Right from the end of the season until now, it was my thought process to hopefully be back with the Wings and really excited to get done.”
Gagner is a respected veteran presence in the locker room, and his influence among the many young Wings’ forwards was something the organization didn’t want lose.
“You need veteran players to help lead the way, but you have to be able to play,” Gagner said. “I still have a lot of game left. I kind of found myself in a new role last year that I really enjoyed, being able to play on the penalty kill and power play, kind of anywhere in the lineup in different positions is something that I will consider an asset.
“I’m just kind of looking forward to getting back there and helping the team grow any way I can.”
And the Free Press’s Helene St. James took note of Oesterle’s comments about signing a 2-year contract with his hometown team:
“It’s something I dreamed about since I was a little kid,” Oesterle said. “We had season tickets to Joe Louis. I feel there’s minutes for me to be able to grab. They have a lot of very skilled, young defensemen and then some older guys that kind of are teaching them the ways, and I’m kind of right in the middle gap. So I think it’s a great place for me to join and hopefully grab a role and grow with it.”
Oesterle, 29, has 65 points and a minus-37 rating in 252 career games. He went undrafted out of WMU, where he was teammates with DeKeyser from 2011-13 and won a CCHA championship in 2012. Oesterle debuted in the NHL in 2014-15 with the Edmonton Oilers, where he played 25 games over three seasons. He appeared in 55 games with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2017-18, then joined the Coyotes. His best offensive year came in 2018-19, when he had six goals and 20 points in 71 games with Arizona.
Oesterle got married July 16, and the prospect of where he might play next came up when he chatted with DeKeyser.
“We talked about it being a possibility, and luckily it worked out,” Oesterle said. He didn’t let his parents know until it was official. “I kept it on the backburner, didn’t let them know until it came true. They were very pleased and excited to have my wife and I come back home.”
Update: Here’s more from Oesterle via Detroit Hockey Now’s Bob Duff:
Scouting reports out of Arizona indicated that Oesterle’s overall game fell off a bit last season from his previous campaign. He wasn’t nearly as consistently stellar along the blueline as he’d performed for the Coyotes in 2019-20.
“There’s been years I’ve put up some good points and then years where the puck didn’t go my way,”Oesterle said. “I’ve grown a lot defensively over the three years in Arizona and I think in the defensive zone and getting up and being that fourth man up the ice in creating that extra attack.”
He’s studied the Detroit roster, especially the blueline corps and Oesterle believes that he hears opportunity knocking.
“I felt I fit their mold,” Oesterle said. “There were minutes available for me to kind of grab onto. Looking at this roster and their D corps they have a lot of great up and coming young defensemen in their system and they have some older veterans like Danny (DeKeyser) and (Marc) Staal and (Nick) Leddy kind of teaching them the ways. I’m kind of in that middle gap. It’s great for me to join and hopefully grab a role and grow with it.”
“I haven’t played too many games in the league yet, so learning from those guys and also trying to be that second layer between the younger guys and the veterans.”