Valtteri Filppula had 23 goals and 66 points in 81 games last season. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
The Detroit Red Wings’ need for an experienced top-four defenseman remains an issue of concern heading toward this NHL season.
MLive.com’s Brendan Savage reported Thursday a source claimed the Wings made a two-year contract offer to unrestricted free agent blueliner Carlo Colaiacovo worth $2.5 million per season.
The Wings reportedly explored the trade market and expressed interest in Calgary’s Jay Bouwmeester, but were unwilling to part with the assets needed to land a top-four defenseman.
One of those assets might have been center Valtteri Filppula.
Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press conducted an analysis of the 28-year-old pivot, noting his age and versatility make him “a prime-rate” trade asset.
However, St. James noted the Red Wings have to consider 34-year-old Pavel Datsyuk has two years remaining on his contract and it’s uncertain if he’ll stay or return to Russia.
Should Datsyuk remain, he’ll soon be on the downside of his career. Filppula may never reach the elite level of Datsyuk, but he would still be in his prime in two years and perhaps move up in the lineup if the talented Russian’s skills fade.
St. James also suggested winger Johan Franzen as a trade candidate, claiming his affordable cap hit ($4 million) “gives him high value in a potential trade” for a top-four defenseman. She also believes a motivated, consistent Franzen would be of more value to the Wings.
Despite his affordable cap hit, the 32-year-old Franzen still has eight seasons remaining on his contract. Combine that with his age and inconsistency and he could prove difficult to move.
Colaiacovo may be seen as a Band-Aid solution, but it could be a better one for the Wings than depleting their scoring to address blueline depth.
Goaltender Tim Thomas intends to sit out the 2012-13 season, but Bruins ownership believes it might be able to find teams interested in acquiring him whenever the season begins.
Bruins “principal and alternate governor” Charlie Jacobs recently told Boston radio station WEEI he feels the Bruins could get something back for Thomas, even if he doesn’t play this season.
Jacobs suggested teams in need of reaching the salary cap floor would be very interested in obtaining Thomas’ $5 million salary cap hit.
Among the clubs currently beneath the $54.2-million cap floor are the Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, New York Islanders and Phoenix Coyotes.
The Panthers, Blues, Stars, Jets, Avalanche and Senators currently carry $51-$54 million in payroll. Those clubs can easily reach the cap floor by re-signing their remaining restricted free agents or promoting a prospect into their lineup, so it’s unlikely they’ll have interest in Thomas’ cap hit.
That leaves the Islanders ($49.2 million) and Coyotes ($44.8 million) in need of adding significant payroll to reach the cap floor.
The Coyotes still have to re-sign Shane Doan, but even if they get him under contract, they’ll still have to add more salary to become cap-compliant.
As for the Islanders, if defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky’s attempt to overturn his trade to Long Island is successful, it would wipe his $5.6-million cap hit from their books. That would leave them scrambling not only to find a replacement, but also to take on more salary to reach the cap floor.
Rumor Roundup appears Monday-Friday only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News, Kukla's Korner and The Guardian, Charlottetown.
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