Red Wings sign free agent defenseman Ben Chiarot

The Detroit Red Wings have signed defenseman Ben Chiarot to a 4-year contract at $4.75M per year, according to Elliotte Friedman.

In 74 games last season, Chiarot managed nine goals and 26 points playing for the Florida Panthers and Montreal Canadiens. At 6’3” and 234 lbs, the 31-year-old defenseman fits the prototypical tall, towering mold that Yzerman is prioritizing with the Red Wings. He’s a hard-hitting defenseman, managing 130 hits last season. Chiarot was asked to punch far above his weight with a suffering Montreal team last season. Due to this, his advanced stats took quite the hit. On the Panthers, he managed to carve out a much better role for himself with the pressure off.

It remains to be seen where he’ll play in Detroit, but he could make for a great partner for Moritz Seider or Filip Hronek depending on how much of a workload he’s able to shoulder. With 10 years of NHL experience and plenty of highlight-reel hits, he makes for a tough-as-nails defender capable of standing up for the kids as they grow. He won’t jump off the page defensively, but at least he’ll be fun to watch.

Table & Data courtesy of Evolving Hockey

Questioning a Steve Yzerman move is an exercise in failure. That being said, I’m not sold on Chiarot just yet. I was never very high on him last season and was genuinely shocked at how much Florida paid to acquire him. At four years, this one could age pretty badly.

That being said, there’s a chance that Chiarot could net a similar return in a future trade deadline [provided the reported NTC doesn’t get in the way – ed.]. Every would-be contender seeks out a physical player like Chiarot. He’d received plenty of suitors and Yzerman could conceivably score a few extra assets for the team in a future draft. Either way, Chiarot is far from the worst choice in free agency. Plus, he’ll stand up for the rookies so that Dylan Larkin doesn’t have to anymore.

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