DETROIT >> When Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland finalized a seven-year deal with $29.75 million with Justin Abdelkader he didn’t hesitate one bit.
“I know the person, I know his passion and I know his commitment,” Holland said Thursday at Joe Louis Arena. “I’m with him every day. If you’re outside the organization you might have some hesitation but I know what he’s all about. So I think at the end of the day if it’s too long, you worry about it six years from now. The most important thing was to get him signed up.
“I know I’ve talked to some people in the industry that think it’s a fabulous deal for us,” Holland added. “I think it’s a fabulous deal because we’ve found a way to keep him signed and we couldn’t afford to lose him.”
The deal with Abdelkader, who would have been an unrestricted after this season, has an annual salary cap hit of $4.25 million.
“I wanted to make it clear in negotiations that I wanted to stay here and be here long term,” said Abdelkader, who’s in the final year of a four-year deal with a salary-cap his of $1.8 million. “I’m gonna keep fully committing myself to this team, this organization on and off the ice, and do what I can to be a leader.”
Abdelkader is coming off his best NHL campaign after registering career-high totals in goals (23), assists (21) and points (44) in 71 games last season.
He began the season with a hat trick in the opener and added a goal and an assist the next night. He’s since had two assists over the last 13 games.
“You try to say it’s not, you say it is, I don’t know,” Abdelkader said when asked if negotiations had become a distraction. “It was one of those things that you’re trying to negotiate during the season it’s probably never easy on anyone. But I just try to go out and play and do my best for the team.”