The Florida Everblades announced yesterday that they have signed former Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski. The signing indicates that Rafalski will be attempting a comeback, but perhaps not with the Red Wings.
“He played in the Winter Classic alumni game and got the bug,” Everblades coach Greg Poss mentioned. “He wants to play in the NHL again.”
Rafalski first announced his retirement from the NHL after the Red Wings were eliminated from the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“I’m just excited to get back on the ice again and see where God takes me on this journey,” said Rafalski.
The Detroit Red Wings granted Rafalski’s release from the club last week, according to GM Ken Holland, which allowed him to become a free agent. Playing for the Florida Everblades will allow Rafalski to stay close to home in Florida while he attempts his comeback. Rafalski was also the Everblades team Chaplain, which made them an easy choice.
The future for Rafalski, however, is unclear. The Everblades are the ECHL affiliate for both Tampa Bay and Carolina. However, if Rafalski were to take the next step to the AHL, you can bet a certain number of NHL teams would be interested in talking to him, including the Red Wings.
Brian Rafalski spent 11 seasons in the NHL with two clubs, the New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings. He won Stanley Cups with both teams, and played a total of 833 games. Rafalski was not only a solid defenseman, but he was productive as well tallying 79 goals and 436 assists for 515 points over those 11 seasons. He was a staple on both teams power-play units as well, contributing over 200 points with the man advantage.
In addition to his NHL Achievements, Brian Rafalski was also a member of Team USA at the previous three Winter Olympics. He took home a silver medal in both 2002 and 2010.
What are your thoughts on Brian Rafalski’s comeback? Do you think he will end up playing in the NHL again this season? If so, who will he end up with?