The Detroit Red Wings will give defenseman Derek Meech one more shot to be a regular in the lineup.
Meech, 26, signed a one-year deal with $500,000 on Thursday.
Meech will compete for the No. 6 spot along the blue line with rookies Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith and veteran Doug Janik, who played 13 games last season with the Wings.
“I’ve been with Detroit a long time and they’ve treated me well,” Meech said. “I’ve worked hard to get into the top six. If I can’t get into the top six, maybe I’d have to go.”
Kindl has spent the last three seasons in Grand Rapids and will be given a good look to earn that sixth spot since he’s out of minor league options. Smith spent the last three seasons at Wisconsin.
Detroit’s top five defensemen are set with Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski, Brad Stuart, Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson.
If Meech can’t crack the lineup, the Wings will more than likely try and trade him.
“Detroit has some different options,” Meech said. “They’ve talked about the possibility of moving me or seeing how things work out. Career-wise, you have to look out for yourself.”
This will be Meech’s fifth season with the Wings and he has yet been able to crack the lineup on a regular basis.
Last season, he played a career high 49 games. That was due in large part to the number of injuries the Wings suffered throughout the season. His previous high was 41 games the year before.
At times last season, Meech was inserted at forward to fill an opening.
“Meech would like to be in Detroit if he knows he’s going to play,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He doesn’t want to be the seventh defenseman anymore. He’s filled that role. He loves it here. But he wants to play. He’s paid his dues, put his time in at Grand Rapids. He’s been the guy waiting in the wings.
“So that’s a decision we have to make over the course of the summer,” Holland added. “Is Derek Meech going to be in our third pair or is he better served to go to another organization where he thinks he’s going to get more opportunity?”
Meech, who was drafted by the Wings in the seventh round in 2002, has four goals and 12 assists in 126 games in Detroit.
He has played in two playoff games, both of which were two seasons ago.
Meech added that he focused on ‘bulking’ up this offseason.
“I’m a smaller D,” said Meech, who’s 5-foot-11, 200 pounds. “I just want to work on my explosiveness and power so it limits me from getting pushed around out there. I’m focused on being good defensively, and then the offense can come after that.”
Meech had filled for arbitration, which a hearing was scheduled for Tuesday.
The Wings also are planning to re-sign forwards Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader later this summer.
Detroit also signed defenseman Sergei Kolosov to a one-year, two-way contract. In the last two seasons with the Griffins, he has six goals and 13 assists in 136 games. Kolosov will make $500,000 if he’s with the Wings or $80,000 in the minors.