Back when Jonny Shitbox signed his three year deal that made everyone and their brother question the sanity of Ken Holland, Niklas Kronwall must have been secretly smiling and opening a few more bank accounts. If the Rig was going to pull down that amount of cash, then Kronwall was all but assured to make bank once his negotiations came to an end, and that’s exactly what was announced today. Kronwall’s seven year extension provides an average cap hit of $4.75 million per season, making him the 12th highest paid D-man against the cap that is currently signed to play in 2012-2013 and putting him back above the RigBox on the payroll. With the deal, Kronwall is now under contract with the Wings until he’s 37 years old, and (of course) his deal is front-loaded to reflect that.
With Kronwall now locked up, the Wings have four of their current seven top defensemen under contract for next season, with the fates of Nicklas Lidstrom, Brad Stuart and Mike Commodore still hanging in the balance. Of course, youngsters such as Brendan Smith and Brian Lashoff will look to make a case for the big club next season, and it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see Ken Holland make a competitive offer to Stuart later this year or once free agency opens up. Once he’s back from his Mexican vacation, expect Petrella to get THE CHART updated, which will answer all of your remaining burning questions.