Duff notes Yzerman’s explanation as to why the Wings brought back Luke Witkowski

The Detroit Red Wings signed Luke Witkowski to a two-year contract yesterday, and the move left some Red Wings fans scratching their heads.

Do the Wings really need an enforcer at the NHL level in this day and age? Are the Griffins going to miss Dylan McIlrath’s status as a deterrent that badly?

When Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman spoke with the media yesterday, he had this to say to Detroit Hockey Now’s Bob Duff regarding Witkowski:

“He’s rugged, hard nosed,” Yzerman said of Witkowski. The Holland, Michigan-born player made his NHL bow playing for Yzerman from 2014-17 with the Tampa Bay Lightning. After leaving Detroit, Witkowski returned to the Lightning organization, although he spent the majority of the past two seasons in the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch.

Detroit’s Grand Rapids farm club is Witkowski’s likely destination, although his ability to add unique qualities leaves him in with a chance to find a place with the Wings.

“He’s a great person, a great leader,” Yzerman said. “And again, the versatility. He gives us some depth to play here, to play in Grand Rapids. Great leadership and tough as nails.”

Duff continues; put bluntly, in the AHL, it’s still smart to have a player who’s known for his fisticuffs on your roster, and Witkowski’s ability to slot into the NHL as an injury replacement, at both forward and defense, makes the 31-year-old useful in his role.

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.