When Nicklas Lidstrom retired at the end of the season, a massive hole opened up on the Detroit defense that nobody could be expected to fill. However, of all available free-agent defenseman, Ryan Suter had the potential to fill it the most.
That the Red Wings had the cap space to sign the 27-year-old, and it was believed Suter wanted to play close to his home in Wisconsin, made Detroit the favorite to get him. But they didn’t. So, what do they do now? Because they also lost Brad Stuart to San Jose.
As it stands, the Wings’ top four consists of Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Kyle Quincey and Ian White.
Young guys with potential include Jakub Kindl, 25, and Brendan Smith, 23.
All in all, it’s not terrible.
But clearly Wings GM Ken Holland isn’t sold on his current group or he wouldn’t have so aggressively pursued Suter.
UFA defensemen Holland could target include Matt Carle and…Matt Carle.
Looking at the trade market, Jay Bouwmeester could possibly be had from Calgary. The smooth-skating 28-year-old is overpaid by a couple of million bucks, but Detroit has cap space to spare and there’s only two years left on his contract.
Expect to hear Shea Weber’s name in trade speculation as well. Now that the Predators have lost Suter, what are the chances Nashville can keep its captain past July 1, 2013, when he can become an unrestricted free agent? Once GM David Poile stops punching holes in the wall, he’ll have to at least consider moving Weber and start rebuilding (again).