After being a rental with the Florida Panthers in their pursuit of a Stanley Cup in 2021-22, defenceman Ben Chiarot has decided to hitch his wagon to a rebuilding team in the Detroit Red Wings by signing a 4-year deal with a $4.75 million average annual value (AAV) cap hit. The former Montreal Canadien will be joining his second team since going to the Stanley Cup Final with them in 2021.
Selected all the way down in the fourth round by the defunct Atlanta Thrashers in 2009, Chiarot will be joining his fourth team after spending parts of six seasons with the Winnipeg Jets, two and a half with the Canadiens and a short stint with the Panthers. As mentioned off the top, he made it all the way to the Cup Final in 2021 with the Canadiens only to see the Lightning dispatch them in five games. He was a key part of the run too, contributing two points in 22 games and an astounding 88 hits and 48 blocked shots. Simply put, he was a force on the blue line playing over 25 minutes a night in every key situation.
Related: 2022 NHL Free Agent Tracker
Now entering his 10th season in the NHL, the Hamilton, Ontario native will be hitting the 500-game milestone in 2022-23 as he sits at 489 going in. The 6-foot-3, 226-pound right-hander isn’t much of an offensive threat, but that’s not really his forte. Being a throwback defenceman, his stats heavily favor the hitting and shot-blocking categories as he is nearing 1000 hits (currently at 944) and almost 800 blocks (currently at 783) in his career.
What Chiarot Brings to the Red Wings
Steve Yzerman isn’t messing around going into free agency, as he’s already added a significant piece to a defence corps that badly needs it. Even though he has a stud like Moritz Seider leading the way, the blue line isn’t a one-man show, especially if you are trying to win consistently. Chiarot will bring a stabilizing presence to the group with his veteran savvy and overall defensive game. Given his pedigree, he was most likely signed to be the 2022 Calder Trophy winner’s partner for the 2022-23 season, so that he has more freedom to do his thing in the offensive zone.
Chiarot will also make teams think twice about taking liberties on the Red Wings’ young stars like Lucas Raymond and of course, his partner Seider. His physicality is something to be feared as he has put up over 100 hits in all but three of his seasons in the NHL. Not to mention he’s a wizard at blocking shots, which will prevent the new tandem of Alex Nedeljkovic and Ville Husso from becoming a shooting gallery for opposing teams.
Red Wings & Yzerman Gearing Up to Make a Run at the Playoffs?
Signing Chiarot is definitely not the end of the line for Yzerman as he has now reportedly signed veteran sniper David Perron and former 30-goal scorer Dominik Kubalik. Clearly, he believes his team is ready for the next step and that the rebuild is moving along quicker than he expected. With these three in the fold, the Red Wings could be a force to be reckoned with in 2022-23, especially if Jonatan Berggren and Simon Edvinsson come in like gangbusters along with them.