DETROIT — Mike Modano wanted to prove there’s still a spot for him in the NHL.
The Detroit Red Wings are giving him a chance, agreeing to terms on a one-year contract Thursday.
“I think it’s going to be a great fit for him and for us,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told The Associated Press. “There’s not going to be pressure on him to carry the team.”
The 40-year-old Modano is expected to be on Detroit’s third line with Jiri Hudler and Dan Cleary.
He has 557 goals and 1,359 points in his career, but is coming off his lowest-scoring season since 1995. He had 14 goals and 30 points in 59 games, fading to being a fourth-line centre with the Dallas Stars.
“His role was diminishing in Dallas and sometimes that’s hard to accept as a player,” Holland said. “We think he can still skate and contribute. Mike Babcock and I met with him after he became a free agent July 1, and told him he wanted him to be a No. 3 centerman with a chance to grow into a bigger role.
“I think it will energize for him to come home, where his parents still live, and it’ll be great for us to have one of the greatest American players ever.”
The Livonia, Mich., native has the most points by an NHL player born in the United States. He was drafted No. 1 overall by the Minnesota North Stars and he had a stellar rookie season two years later.
The eight-time all-star led the Dallas Stars to the Stanley Cup title in 1999. He played in the Olympics three times and helped the Americans win silver in 2002.
After playing 20 seasons for the Minnesota-Dallas franchise, Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk — Modano’s friend and former teammate — decided not to re-sign him. Modano has said it didn’t seem right to play for another team, but wanted to try.
“I think that it does give me a little fire inside to go out play somewhere and really have a great going-out year,” Modano said in June at a news conference.
The Red Wings gave him weeks to ponder his next move and he made a decision earlier this week while playing golf in Scotland with some friends in the league.
Minnesota and San Jose wanted Modano, too, but he was swayed by talking to Brett Hull along with other former and current Red Wings.
Dallas’ home opener is Oct. 14 against Modano and the Red Wings. Modano’s jersey with a winged wheel will not be No. 9 — the number he’s worn — because was retired by the team long ago to honour Hall of Famer Gordie Howe.
Sharks sign Zalewski
SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Sharks re-signed centre Steven Zalewski and defenceman Derek Joslin to one-year contracts Thursday.
Zalewski had 62 points — including 22 goals — in a career-high 78 games last season for AHL Worcester. He added a goal and five assists in 11 playoff games.
Zalewski did not record a point in three games with the Sharks.
Joslin, also 23, had five goals and 27 assists in 55 games with Worcester. He had five points (4-1) in 11 playoff games.
Joslin also played in 24 games with San Jose, recording three assists.