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hankzet40

Brian Rafalski signs with ECHL team

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http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/eye-on-hockey/24403874/brian-rafalski-returning-to-pro-hockey-with-echl-florida-everblades

Brian Rafalski has come out of retirement and will play professional hockey again. Just not in the NHL.

On Thursday the Florida Everblades of the ECHL announced that they have signed the 40-year-old Rafalski, who hasn't played in the NHL since 2010-11 with the Red Wings when a knee issue led him to retire at the age of 37.

However last week in Detroit Rafalski put on the Winged Wheel again for the Alumni Showdown outdoors at Comerica Park and apparently that gave him the itch to play professionally again, thus the deal with the Everblades.

"I'm just excited to get back on the ice again and see where God takes me on this journey," Rafalski said in the Everblades' release.

Rafalski won three Stanley Cups in his career that spanned 830 games between the Devils and Red Wings. He also picked up two silver medals with the US national team at the 2010 and 2002 Olympic Games and was a two-time All-Star in the NHL. Apparently the Kelly Cup is missing from that resume.

Undrafted out of the University of Wisconson and Dearborn, Michigan, Rafalski was quite the point-producer throughout his career on the blue line, picking up between 40 and 60 points with regularity throughout his career. Even in his final season he had four goals and 44 assists for the Wings in just 63 games, leaving his contract and the big salary that came with it a year early.

There's no telling where this is going to go for Rafalski at this point and if he will be able to dominate the ECHL at this stage but you have to admit one thing: it is nice to see that he still has the fire to play the game and compete that he's willing to play for ECHL Florida to do it.

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Are the Everblades a Lightning affiliate? If so that means Yzerman and co get first dibs.....

That's not true. Signing an ECHL deal has nothing to do with NHL rights.

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He was in rough shape when he retired. He's 40 years old and undersized, having been out of the game 3 years. I loved him while he was in Detroit, but I don't think it would be worth it to sign him. (Unless it bumps Quincey out of the line-up :ninja: )

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Realistically, I think at this stage, he'd be a defensive liability out there.

But, can he really be worse than this guy?

Kyle-Quincey-pure-power-mouthguard.jpg

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If all goes well there, I don't see why he wouldn't want to play in the AHL.. at that point I could see Kenny sending him an offer

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I can guarantee when he plays in Ft Wayne against the Komets, he will not be booed. Ask McCarty.

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That's not true. Signing an ECHL deal has nothing to do with NHL rights.

According to Khan the Wings had to release him for him to play in in the ECHL.

The Red Wings last week granted Rafalski’s request to file a release with the NHL, making him an unrestricted free agent, general manager Ken Holland said. Otherwise Rafalski would have been Red Wings’ property for three years from the time he filed his voluntary retirement papers in May 2011.

Rafalski did not ask the Red Wings to sign him to a contract with the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye. He apparently wants to play close to his home in Florida while determining where this comeback will lead him.

If he plays well in the ECHL and wants to take the next step to the AHL, the Red Wings would at least talk to him.

http://www.mlive.com/redwings/index.ssf/2014/01/former_red_wings_defenseman_br_2.html

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Are you sure? If correct thanks for clarifying I didn't know.

Pretty certain. That would circumvent the purpose of the 50 man roster.

Much like McCollum's status. He's on an AHL only deal and thus could technically sign with any team on an NHL deal.

At least that's my understanding of it.

According to Khan the Wings had to release him for him to play in in the ECHL.

http://www.mlive.com/redwings/index.ssf/2014/01/former_red_wings_defenseman_br_2.html

That's a different issue though. That's because he retired while under contract.

number9 likes this

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Pretty certain. That would circumvent the purpose of the 50 man roster.

Much like McCollum's status. He's on an AHL only deal and thus could technically sign with any team on an NHL deal.

At least that's my understanding of it.

That's a different issue though. That's because he retired while under contract.

McCollums rights are still owned by the wings, he can't just sign anywhere

Son of a Wing likes this

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McCollums rights are still owned by the wings, he can't just sign anywhere

Good call, it was a bad example. I didn't think having the AHL-only deal extended his rights.

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I can't see this leading to Rafalski playing again in the NHL. I don't doubt he could probably greatly improve the Red Wings ability to move the puck, but that's about the only upside at age 40.

Even three years ago, Rafalski was an undersized defensive liability that struggled with puck retrieval as his knees wore down. He made it up for it then at least with his point production and PP skill.

I'm tired of Quincey/Kindl too, but if the Red Wings are looking for other options beyond a trade, they should just call up Ouellet or Almquist for good.

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I doubt he will even come close to getting into the AHL. Rafs defensive game was slipping before he retired. Remember it was his turnover that basically lead to the series clinching goal against the sharks that year. I can see someone in there mid 20's comming back from 3 years off but not a 40 yr old.

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If he hadn't retired and still played here everyone would be complaining that he's 40 years old and hasn't retired yet.

I hope for the best for Raf, he did depart too early but even a consideration of having him return now, no thanks.

Hey man nice shot! likes this

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Yeah, no thanks. No need to plug up a defensive spot with a 40 year old. Let the kids strive for it, and if they can't get the job done, find a long term solution.

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Not surprised really.

The way Rafalski talked around his retirement, reading between the lines, I always got the impression he didn't really want to retire, but his wife wanted him to, and he was just trying to be the good husband and please her.

BTW, Howard, I don't think they had to release him to play in the ECHL, just to play in Florida since he lives there now and didn't want to come back up to play for Toledo.

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