DETROIT – After striking out on two top defensemen in the unrestricted and restricted pool, the Wings have turned their sites on acquiring one by trade.
A source confirmed that Detroit has been in contact with the Calgary Flames about trading for defenseman Jay Bouwmeester.
The Wings’ interest in Bouwmeester, who turns 29 next month, was first reported by mlive.com.
The Wings are in need of a top four defensemen, which there are none left on the open market and therefore a trade may need to be made in order to fill that void.
The Wings had a distinct game plan once free agency started after losing Nicklas Lidstrom (retirement) and Brad Stuart (trade).
They made pitches to the unrestricted free agent defenseman Ryan Suter.
After losing out on him the Wings turned their attention to signing restricted free agent Shea Weber to an offer sheet. Weber however chose to sign an offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers and it was matched by the Nashville Predators.
The Flyers offered Weber $110 million over 14 years.
The Wings currently have six defensemen under contract — Niklas Kronwall, Ian White, Jonathan Ericsson, Kyle Quincey, Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl.
However, Bouwmeester comes with a hefty price tag, $6.68 million for each of the next two seasons.
Pavel Datsyuk is the highest paid Wing at $6.7 million a season.
Despite not producing much offense like many thought he would, Bouwmeester does gobble up the minutes on the blue line and is durable. He has played in 588 consecutive game.
The Flames have been hinting of dealing Bouwmeester since signing Dennis Wideman to a five-year, at $5.25 million deal a season. That took Calgary, which signed former Wing Jiri Hudler to a four-year deal with $4 million a season, close to hitting the $70.2 million salary gap. The Flames currently are at $66.6 million.
The Wings are $13 million under the salary cap.
The Flyers could also have interest in Bouwmeester after losing out on Weber and getting the news that defenseman Andrej Meszaros will be sidelined for quite some time after undergoing surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon.