On Wednesday afternoon, ESPN and NHL Network insider, Kevin Weekes, reported that the Red Wings have signed 24-year-old college free-agent defenseman Jon McDonald from the UMass Lowell Riverhawks.
The native of Livonia, Michigan, appeared in 35 games this season, scoring three goals and adding 17 assists. McDonald wore an ‘A” during the 2021-22 season and was named captain of the Riverhawks this season. In 145 NCAA games with UMass Lowell, McDonald scored ten goals and added 52 assists.
It is unclear whether the six-foot, 180-pound, left-handed defenseman will report to Grand Rapids or Detroit this season.
Griffins’ defenseman Albert Johansson recently suffered an injury that has sidelined him over the past few weeks. The Red Wings used an emergency recall to bring up top defensive prospect Simon Edvinsson. With Ben Chiarot being listed week-to-week and the inconsistency on the bottom pair, he may be up longer than expected.
With college seasons wrapping up over the coming weeks, the Red Wings may not be done signing NCAA free agents as they can offer an opportunity to play NHL games this season. McDonald may never become an NHL player, but organizational depth is crucial when developing young prospects.
Who knows? Danny DeKeyser was once a defensive-minded college free agent that panned out to be a top-four defenseman for many seasons.