The Free Press’s Helene St. James offers her suggestions as to who the Red Wings should pursue when free agency begins today at noon:
Think forward Valtteri Filppula, defenseman Ben Chiarot, guys like that. Maybe the Wings take another shot at Gustav Nyquist if he doesn’t get a five-year deal from another team (former Wings general manager Ken Holland tried to re-sign Nyquist last season, and lack of common ground led Holland to trade Nyquist).
Filppula, 35, is coming off a $2.75 million contract with the New York Islanders. The ex-Wing scored 17 goals among 31 points in 72 games. He also has history with Yzerman, who signed Filppula for five years, $25 million in 2013. Filppula is a sound 200-foot guy who can play center or wing and both special teams.
Richard Panik is another guy who could be a fit on a one- or two-year deal. He’s younger (28) and scored 14 goals among 33 points in 75 games last season for Arizona. He’s coming off a two-year, $5.6 million contract. He can play either wing and both special teams and adds some size at 6-foot-1, 208 pounds.
St. James says the Wings were interested in Corey Perry, too..
The Wings are likely to sign a defenseman. Niklas Kronwall has yet to announce whether he’s retiring or returning, but regardless, the defense corps needs to be addressed. Veterans Danny DeKeyser, Mike Green, Trevor Daley and Jonathan Ericsson are under contract, but given the injury history especially of Daley and Ericsson, the Wings cannot count on having either available a whole season. Filip Hronek has earned a spot on the roster, and Dennis Cholowski and newcomer Oliwer Kaski are expected to push for spots during exhibition season.
Chiarot, 28, is coming off a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Winnipeg Jets. He had 20 points in 78 games and averaged 18:37 minutes per game. He could be a fit as a second-pairing defenseman and penalty killer.