Ben Chiarot Contract Signed With New Team

The Detroit Red Wings signed free agent defenceman Ben Chiarot to a four-year contract worth $19 million, or $4.75 million per season. This contract carries him through the 2025-26 season.

Ben Chiarot Signed New Contract

Over his nine-year NHL career, Chiarot played for the Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, and Winnipeg Jets. The Jets organization drafted him back in 2009 with their fourth round, 120th overall selection. Technically, the Atlanta Thrashers drafted him but relocated to Winnipeg before Chiarot’s NHL debut. He left Winnipeg via free agency in the summer of 2019, signing a three-year deal with Montreal. He succeeded there, but after a tough Habs season in 2021-22, wound up in Florida after the trade deadline.

In 489 career games, Chiarot so far has 31 goals and 87 assists for 118 points. This past year, he collected nine goals and 17 assists for 26 points in 74 games. That point total marked a new career-high. His advanced metrics came in at -7.4% relative Corsi, though after the deadline was marginally better with Florida (Corsi-for was 53.6%, relative Corsi of -3.7%).

Chiarot remains best known for his stature (6’3, 226 pounds) and physicality, which shone through across each year of his career to date. That included 47 hits in 20 games with the Panthers, paired with 39 blocked shots.

What This Means for the Future

The Panthers expected a deep run in 2021-22 and saw Chiarot as someone to help in that pursuit. However, he wound up hindering more than he helped, or at least his advanced statistics certainly tell that tale. Remember those rough Corsi metrics from the regular season? They fell even lower in the playoffs, at a scintillatingly-bad -18.1% relative Corsi. Sure, he starts more often in the defensive zone than the offensive zone. But really, the difference sat at a nearly negligible edge for Florida this postseason. He started 52.5% of his shifts in the defensive zone, so barely more than half.

Florida general manager Bill Zito shouldn’t have many regrets. After all, he pushed Florida over the hump to their first playoff series victory since 1996, ending the longest drought in the league. He assembled the best regular-season squad in Panthers’ history, winning their first-ever President’s Trophy in the process. Plus, Aleksander Barkov, Sam Reinhart, Jonathan Huberdeau, Patric Hornqvist, Sam Bennett, Carter Verhaeghe, Anthony Duclair, and Anton Lundell all come back next year. This team can repair around the edges just fine and stay competitive.

But if one decision weighs on him, it’s probably the Chiarot trade. Chiarot played big minutes for Florida but didn’t move the needle much. The cost for that? Zito shipped a prospect (Ty Smilanic), a 2022 fourth-round pick, and…their 2023 first-round pick. Now, his club doesn’t own a first-round selection until 2025, and only one second-round pick over those next three seasons too. The cupboards look to thin out for Florida over the next few seasons, but again, they’re in win-now mode. The problem for them, though, will now be the lack of picks available at future trade deadlines to facilitate moves.