The Free Press’s Helene St. James penned a list of five players with whom the Red Wings have spoken during the NHL’s free agency wining-and-dining window, and among them are the following:
G Carter Hutton
Why: The Wings need a proven NHL-caliber goaltender. Hutton is their top target, having gone 17-7-3 in 2017-18 with a 2.09 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in 32 appearances with St. Louis. Hutton, 32, has played around 30 games each of the past two seasons. That’s a good workload and would alleviate Howard, who played 60 games last season because the Wings lacked a reliable No. 2.
G Jonathan Bernier
Why: Bernier spent 2017-18 with Colorado, where he went 19-13-0 with a 2.85 goals-against average and .913 save percentage in 37 appearances. A former starter in Toronto, he turns 30 in August. He is coming off a season that saw him miss time with injuries ranging from upper-body to two head injuries and an infection.
F Valtteri Filppula
Why: The Wings would have re-signed center him five years ago had he been willing to keep playing under then-coach Mike Babcock. Now he’s 34, and looking for work. Filppula is a good, two-way center, a good faceoff guy who can be trusted in his own zone and a guy who’ll put up in the 30-point range. He makes sense if the Wings are worried about Henrik Zetterberg, who turns 38 in October, though he has played three straight 82-game seasons.