|Mike Commodore only played 17 games with the Red Wings this season. He'll likely get more playing time with his new team in Tampa Bay. (Photo by Getty Images) |
– Mike Commodore didn’t ask to be traded, but he didn’t want to watch game from afar, either.
The Red Wings signed the veteran defenseman on the first day of last July’s free agency period. It only took Commodore 15-minutes – from the time he received the offer – to agree to the one-year deal worth $1 million.
But he played sparingly for the Wings, his sixth NHL club in 10 seasons. And that wasn’t going to be good enough for him if the 32-year-old hopes to land another contract in the off-season.
“I played 17 games, was a healthy scratch for 30 games, that's not going to cut it,” said Commodore, who was traded Monday to Tampa Bay for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2013. “It would have been nice to see this thing through here. It's a good team here, they got as good a chance to win as anybody else, but this is probably better for me. I get an opportunity. I never really got an opportunity here.”
Before Christmas, Commodore went to Wings general manager Ken Holland and voiced his displeasure about sitting out as a healthy scratch for 22 of 25 games. But he told Holland that he would sit tight and not cause a raucous.
“I had a meeting with Kenny, said I'll see it through, ride it out,” Commodore said. “I didn't ask for a trade. I'm fine either way. With me signing here the first day of free agency, I think that was a big reason why Ken decided to move me. There just was no opportunity here.”
Commodore had two assists with a plus-3 rating while getting into three heavyweight scraps. And while he didn’t log a lot of time-ice, Commodore still proved to be a valuable teammate in the Wings’ dressing, and become a close friend to rookie center Cory Emmerton
as the two often teasingly sparred with one another on Twitter.
“It's not like we hung out everyday, but he was awesome,” Emmerton said. “He'd take me out to dinner. I don't think he made me pay for any dinner on the road. He's a great guy like that. He treated everyone well. It's sad to see a great guy like that leave.”
Commodore now gets the opportunity to join a team that needs defensive help and went out and obtained blue liners in three separate deals at Monday’s trade deadline, including Keith Aulie from Toronto and Brian Lee from Ottawa.
“Defensemen are hard to find,” Lightning GM Steve Yzerman told the team’s website. “But we were looking for young guys, looking for guys whose contracts were appropriate, so (these moves) fit with what we are trying to do. We’re very pleased with the moves we made today.”
Commodore understands that he fell victim to a numbers game in the Wings’ system. The core defensemen is in place with Nicklas Lidstrom
, Ian White
, Niklas Kronwall
, Brad Stuart
and Jonathan Ericsson
. And with the depth in place in the minors, Commodore wasn’t going to play in front of youngsters Jakub Kindl
and Kyle Quincey
, who the team traded for last week.
“I enjoyed being in the dressing room, the guys, had a really good time, learned a lot even without playing,” Commodore said. “I'm fine. It just didn't work out, it's not the first team where it didn't work out. … It's time to move on.”Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill