Red Wings re-sign Smith

DETROIT — The Detroit Red Wings locked up another of their restricted free agents, signing defenseman Brendan Smith.

Smith will have a salary cap hit of $2.75 million over the next two years, which will take him a year into unrestricted free agency.

“He’s done a good job for us, he plays hard,” general manager Ken Holland told the Free Press Tuesday. “He’s 26, just really coming into his own with his best years ahead of him. He’s got a brand new coach and a brand new opportunity.”

Smith brings the number of defensemen under contract to six, joining Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Danny DeKeyser, Kyle Quincey and Jakub Kindl. Alexey Marchenko has the in on making it seven, with Xavier Ouellet also in the running for the spot.

Given that next year Marchenko and Ouellet, along with Ryan Sproul, will all be out of waiver exemptions, the Wings need to find out whether they are NHL-caliber defensemen. That renders it further unlikely they’ll sign a blue liner when the UFA market opens Wednesday.

“I’ve talked to lots of teams,” Holland said. “Would I like to get a right-shot D-man, yes. I haven’t been able to find a fit. Let’s go to camp with these guys and it can sort itself out.”

Smith has been with the Wings full time since 2013. He had four goals and nine assists last season, when he went through his usual cycle of falling in and out of favor with former head coach Mike Babcock. Smith was benched the last game of the season after a mishap in Montreal, and remained on the sidelines for the first two games of the playoffs.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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