DETROIT – The Wings have liked what they’ve seen from rookie defenseman Brian Lashoff so much that they signed him to a one-way deal for all three years at $725,000 a season.
“He’s played 18 to 20 minutes a night and a lot of nights he’s playing against the other team’s best players,” Wings general manager Ken Holland to The Macomb Daily. “He’s been on the penalty kill. We like him. He’s rangy. He’s 6-foot-2, he competes hard. He’s got the ability to make good outlet passes and he’s 22 years of age.”
He’s in the final year of a deal worth $524,000 and was set to become a restricted free agent in July.
“We think he’s played well enough that we see him as an NHL defenseman, certainly going forward starting next year,” Holland said. “He’s in the NHL this year, but he’s on the last year of his entire level contract. This deal gives him some security and us a young defensemen locked up for three years that we feel is only going to get better.”
Lashoff, 22, was supposed to spend the entire season in Grand Rapids, but when the blue line got decimated with injuries – Jonathan Ericsson, Jakub Kindl, Carlo Colaiacovo, Ian White and Brendan Smith – he was recalled from the Griffins on Jan. 21.
He scored a goal in his NHL debut against Columbus.
“He’s well positioned,” Holland said. “He makes young mistakes, but that’s part of having young people. They make mistakes and they have to learn from it. We feel like he has potential.”
Lashoff, who’s 6-foot-3, 212 pounds, has a goal and two assists this season with four penalty minutes and a minus-4 rating in 15 games.
Lashoff, who was undrafted, played his way onto the 2010 USA World Junior team that won a gold medal.
“We invited him to training camp on a tryout,” Holland said. “He kind of bounced around his first year pro between Toledo and Grand Rapids on left wing and defense.
“Last year as a second year pro he established himself as a real legitimate American League defenseman,” Holland continued. “This year the plan was for him to spend the entire year in the American League, but with injuries. The good thing for us, with the work stoppage he got another half year of pro and he stepped into the NHL and has done a real great job for us.”