Justin Abdelkader signs in Switzerland after Red Wings buyout

Former Red Wings forward to continue pro hockey career with EV Zug

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - OCTOBER 08: Justin Abdelkader #8 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Anaheim Ducks at Little Caesars Arena on October 08, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - OCTOBER 08: Justin Abdelkader #8 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Anaheim Ducks at Little Caesars Arena on October 08, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) (2019 Getty Images)

Justin Abdelkader is not done playing professional hockey.

According to reports out of Switzerland, the 33-year-old forward has signed with Switzerland’s EV Zug. The team said this isn’t about money -- he just wants to play hockey.

“He has earned enough in his career and does not come to us for the money. He just wants to play again and present himself on the market, which is why his obligation practically does not burden our budget,” EV Zug sports director Reto Kläy said, per a Google translation. “He is extremely happy to finally be able to play again. His sporting ambitions are just as high as ours. That makes him the perfect addition to our team.”

EV Zug competes in Switzerland’s National League, the top pro hockey league in the country. They were NL Championship runners-up in 2019.

The Red Wings bought out Abdelkader’s hefty contract in October. He was in the 5th year of a 7-year contract he signed with the Red Wings in 2015. CapFriendly reports Abdelkader would cost $4.25 million against the cap for the remainder of his nearly $30 million deal.

In 739 career NHL games, “Abby” scored 106 goals and 146 points for 252 total points. He also gathered 13 points in 64 career playoff games. The Muskegon, Mich. native first joined the Red Wings from Michigan State University at the end of the 2008 season. He had helped Michigan State to a national title in 2007.

His most productive season was 2014-15 when he scored 23 goals and 21 assists in 71 games. He followed that up with 42 points the next season.

Abdelkader struggled to find ice time with the Red Wings the past couple of seasons. Injuries had not helped his cause. He had just 3 assists and no goals in 49 games this past season.


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Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.