DETROIT — Luke Glendening won’t wow you with his numbers but that doesn’t mean his contributions aren’t appreciated.
On Thursday, the Red Wings showed Glendening just how much they appreciate him by signing him to a four-year contract extension worth $7.2 million at a cap hit of $1.8 million per year.
Glendening still has one year left on his current contract so he is now under contract through the 2020-21 season.
"Just the opportunity presented itself and obviously any chance that I have to stick around Detroit is a huge opportunity for me and I'm excited to have signed it and have the next couple years taken care of,” Glendening said on a conference call after signing the extension.
Glendening said he didn’t really consider trying to test the market as a free agent next summer.
“For me, growing up in Michigan, being a lifelong, truly a fan of the Red Wings and to have an opportunity to stay here with these guys that I’ve started to grow up with kind of, it was just something that I couldn’t pass up on,” Glendening said. “Obviously, the security is really nice but there’s something special about this group of guys here and I wanted to continue to be a part of that.”
Glendening, 27, was born in Grand Rapids, Mich., walked on at Michigan and earned a scholarship and a captaincy.
After college, Glendening wasn’t drafted but ended up playing for both the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye and the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.
The Wings ended up calling Glendening up during the 2013-14 season and keeping him.
"It's a huge blessing,” Glendening said. “Probably if you would have told me two years ago or three years ago that I'd be sitting here today talking about a four-year extension that I just signed, I probably would have laughed. But you just take every day as it comes and every day is a blessing and I'm excited to have my security of my future for a little bit here. But that doesn't mean you can just sit back and think, OK, I got that taken care of, you got to keep moving forward and keep getting better."
Glendening had 21 points (8 goals, 13 assists) this past season in 81 games and 18 points (12 goals, 6 assists) in 82 games the previous season.
But Glendening’s value lies in face-offs with a .522 face-off winning percentage in his career, killing penalties and annoying opponents.
“In Detroit I think we have Abby (Justin Abdelkader) and Smitty (Brendan Smith) who can fight a little bit,” Glendening said. “Anything I can do to frustrate an opponent, doesn’t necessarily mean fighting, just frustrating them by working hard, being hard on them, I think that’s something that (Mike Babcock) was really hard on me when I first got here to be doing that. I just tried to continue to develop and evolve my game as I’ve grown in the league.”
Although the Wings have shown their appreciation, that doesn’t mean that Glendening thinks he is a finished product as a player.
"I would obviously like to produce more points, just getting better at the little things around the net, putting the puck in more,” Glendening said. “Obviously you want to continue to be, for me, to be good on face-offs, try to be good on the penalty kill, just work on playing in the other team's zone as much as I can."
Glendening hurt his ankle in the playoffs and was forced to pull out of the world championships as a result but he did not require surgery.
“I haven’t started skating yet,” Glendening said. “My workouts have been going very well, no pain or anything like that. Supposed to start skating here on Tuesday, so I’ll see where I’m at but I expect to be 100 percent for sure.”