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Having been part of one rebuild that led to a Stanley Cup, J.T. Compher looks to be part of another as the forward joins the Detroit Red Wings.

Compher signed a five-year contract with the Red Wings that will see him earn $5.1 million annually. Everything Compher achieved over the past two seasons was why the Colorado Avalanche would have liked to have kept him, but they could not afford to retain the 28-year-old who was in line for a significant payday.

The role he played in the Avalanche’s title-winning campaign in 2021-22 saw him score a career-high 18 goals in the regular season. He combined his strong two-way game with eight points in 20 playoff games to help the Avs capture the third Stanley Cup in team history.

In 2022-23, the cost of winning a Stanley Cup caught up to the Avalanche. They lost players such as Andre Burakovsky and Nazem Kadri in free agency, which created an internal need for secondary scoring. Compher took advantage of that situation and eventually became the Avs’ second-line center.

Compher’s 17 goals were one shy of his career high. But his career-high 52 points coupled with his consistent two-way presence helped an oft-injured and at times inconsistent Avs team still finish with the best regular-season record in the Western Conference before being eliminated by the Seattle Kraken.

His arrival gives the Red Wings a veteran whose experience could help them in their bid to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2015-16 season which is currently tied for the longest playoff drought in franchise history. The 2022-23 season saw the Red Wings finish 12 points behind the Florida Panthers for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

Compher joining the Red Wings is also something of a homecoming.

The 28-year-old Compher played at the United States National Team Development Program when it was in Ann Arbor, Michigan, before it later moved to Plymouth, Michigan. He then attended the University of Michigan, where he starred for three seasons with a number of players who would later reach the NHL.

Two of those players just happen to be Red Wings centers Andrew Copp and captain Dylan Larkin. Copp, Compher and Larkin spent one season together at Michigan, where in 2014-15 they guided the Wolverines to a 22-win campaign that ended with a conference championship game loss to Minnesota.

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Red Wings sign winger J.T. Compher to 5-year, $25M deal