At first glance, the Detroit Red Wings signing vetean Mike Modano to a one-year contract appears to be what some say is a desperate move for a team loking to improve, but lacking money under a salary cap to make a significant move.
After all, Modano is 40. His brilliant career is on the down side and when the Dallas Stars made him a free agent by declining to re-sign the center, Modano even admitted he felt his playing days were over.
He thought he was "emotionally and mentally" finished.
Then the Red Wings came calling. General Manager Ken Holland convinced the Livonia native to spend his 21st NHL season with the Wings.
"I think it's exciting to come home," Modano said after signing the $1.25 million deal that could result in $500,000 more in performance bonuses.
For the Wings, signing Modano comes with no risk. His salary was affordable, he won't be expected to carry the Wings offensively and he's regarded as a classy player who's good in the locker room.
He's also a 6-3, 212-pound player who should be a solid third line center.
Modano scored just 14 goals and collected 16 assists in 59 games last season. But he was also unhappy with his declining role with the Stars.
That undoubtedly had a hand in his sub-par offensive performance.
Modano's the NHL's leading American-born player with 1,359 points (557 goals) in 1,459 games. He has always known what to do on offense.
The Red Wings have signed some aging stars the last few years - Chris Chelios, Igor Larionov, Luc Robitaille, Brett Hull and Todd Bertuzzi come to mind - who played major roles with the club.
Modano will join the list if he has anything left in the tank and plays a contributing role this coming season.
Don't expect 30 goals and 100 points from him. Those days are long gone.
You just don't get that kind of production from a third line center, though Modano and his hard shot might get some playing time on the Wings' power play unit.
But if he scores 20 goals and draws 30-40 assists while helping projected linemates Jiri Hudler and Dan Cleary play well, I think the Wings would be quite pleased.
Particularly if Modano helps lead the team back to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.