Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ritola Signs Extension (UPDATE: Larsson Defects Back to Sweden)

Just got word last night that Mattias Ritola has signed a 3-year contract extension with the Detroit Red Wings. The extension includes a 2-way deal for the 2010-2011 season.

As reported by George Malik:

"The first year thereof (2010-2011) is a two-day deal paying $500,000 at the NHL level and $105,000 at the AHL level, with the NHL-only portion of his contract kicking in during the second and third years at $525,000 per year (for a cap hit of a very affordable $515,000), so the Wings may very well plan on risking losing Ritola through waivers and sending him down to Grand Rapids to maximize his developmental time--and as it's a two-way contract, the Wings don't have to re-waive him to bring him back up."

This does seem to make it clear that Detroit has not lost hope in getting Ritola into the lineup no a regular basis, but as Malik also mentions in his report, it gives the Wings a chance to gamble and send Mattias down to the AHL, a move which leaves him open for poaching via the waiver wire. If the Wings gamble and win, they get to give Ritola another conditioning year to further develop before being thrust into a full-time role in Motown.

I'm still uncertain as to whether or not I actually want Detroit to try and send him back down another year at this point, though. I understand and agree with the idea of long tenures in the minors to get ready to play in the NHL, but I'm not sure how much longer we can continue to give guys the time we gave Jimmy Howard and expect to get the same results. I almost feel as though he should be given a spot on the 3rd or 4th line with regular playing time in Detroit (supposing he does well in training camp), and if he doesn't pan out now, THEN try sending him back down when other teams have less promising looks going his way.

UPDATE: I just got more word through Twitter that Daniel Larsson, who would have been Detroit's #3 goalie this year, just signed for 2 years in the S.E.L. Wow...see, this is my concern. did Daniel feel he would never get his chance on the Wings? Maybe we need to evaluate the length of time we incubate our prospects before bringing them up. It seems the kids these days are getting more and more impatient for their time to shine...