DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings signed goalie Jonathan Bernier to a three-year contract as the NHL free agency period opened Sunday.
Bernier is a 29-year-old netminder who has fought hard to earn starting roles in the NHL since his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He most recently had the starting role job with the Colorado Avalanche after Semyon Varlamov got hurt. However, Bernier himself was forced out of the playoffs this year with his own injury.
Many would consider Bernier to have a lot of upside after he's posted back-to-back winning seasons with the Anaheim Ducks and Avalanche. He'd be joining the Red Wings as Jimmy Howard's backup with the ability to take on a starting position if needed, or wanted.
Mike Green stays in Detroit
It was also announced Sunday that defenseman Mike Gree is staying in Detroit. The Associated Press reports the Red Wings gave Green a $10.75 million, two-year contract to maintain some stability on their power play. He'll count $5.375 million against the salary cap.
Green, 32, was at the end of a three-year contract with the Red Wings. He is still considered a top pairing defenseman in the league and definitely earns a spot on most power plays. The puck-moving defenseman led all Red Wings blue liners with 33 points in 66 games this past season despite running into some injury problems toward the end of the season.
He was expected to have many options with other teams this offseason but is officially staying in Detroit now.
Vanek returns to Red Wings
Detroit also signed 34-year-old winger Thomas Vanek to a one-year deal, according to reports. The Red Wings traded him to the Florida Panthers at the deadline in 2017. He ended up signing with the Vancouver Canucks in the offseason and was traded again at the deadline this year to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Overall, he scored 24 goals this past season as he remains an offensive threat.
When Vanek was with the Red Wings in 2016-17 he had 15 goals and 23 assists for 38 points in 48 games.