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Red Wings are no longer one of the big fish in a little pond

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings are no longer one of the big fish in a little pond.

If more proof was needed, look at how things have gone through the first two days of NHL free agency.

The Wings went into this period with one major need, a right-handed shooting defenseman, making pitches to a number of them. And once the dust finally settled, they came away with none of them.

“The game has changed,” Detroit general manager Ken Holland said. “It’s free agency and players can go wherever they want.

“We all have the same money,” Holland added. “We made some pitches. Those players chose to go elsewhere.”

The leveling of the playing field is due to a salary cap.

Teams can spend up to the maximum of $69 million and must meet at least a minimum $51 million in payroll.

So the days where there were six big money teams all competing for all the big time guys are over.

“There are 30 teams that are destinations now,” Holland said. “Don’t know the reasons why we weren’t able to get players we targeted. The main reason is the cap.”

Defensemen Dan Boyle, their top priority, and Matt Niskanen both chose to sign with other teams within the Eastern Conference.

Boyle, who turns 38 on July 12, signed a two-year deal with the New York Rangers for $9 million instead of a better deal Detroit had on the table, three years at $12.5 million.

Niskanen informed the Wings a couple hours into free agency that they were not on his list of teams he was considering to sign with. He finally chose the Washington Capitals, getting a seven-year deal worth $40.25 million.

Detroit was in the ballpark with its offer, seven years at $38.5 million, for the 27-year old defenseman.

“There are still lots of players out there that could be good one-year bargains,” said Holland, who wound up having to re-sign Kyle Quincey (two years, $8.5 million). “We’ll keep kicking tires. Ideally we’d like to have a right-handed shooting defenseman.”

While their two main right-handed targets on the blue line decided to go elsewhere, the second tier also got deals done with other teams.

Tom Gilbert inked a two-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens at $5.6 million.

Stephane Robidas chose to take the three-year deal at $3 million offered by Toronto instead of a similar offer the Wings had structured for him, choosing the Maple Leafs for family reasons.

Finally, Anton Stralman was given a five-year deal worth $22.5 million by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The length of a deal turned off the Wings.

“I was hoping to get one and hoping to come up with two,” Holland said. “They signed elsewhere, that’s their prerogative. That’s going to happen more and more with the cap ceiling and floor going up.”

Christian Ehrhoff, a left-handed shot, signed a one-year deal worth $4 million with the Pittsburgh Penguins. A source said Ehrhoff’s agent had told the Wings he was seeking a five-year deal at roughly $5 million a season.

The Wings were never given a second chance by Ehrhoff, who was bought out of the final seven years of a 10-year deal with Buffalo, to better the Penguins’ offer.

Ehrhoff said during his introductory press conference that he felt Pittsburgh was the best place for him to win a Stanley Cup.

Holland shrugged off the idea that free agents are not willing to play for Wings coach Mike Babcock, who was behind the bench for Canada’s last two Olympic gold medal-winning efforts.

“I think we’ve got a fabulous coach,” Holland said. “Steve Yzerman has picked him for two Olympic teams and the results speak for themselves.”

With close to $60 million tied up in 20 players for next season, and still in need of signing restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser and Tomas Tatar, the Wings have close to $6 million to spend on other free agents.

“All I can say is we targeted right-handed shot defensemen,” Holland said. “There were a few on the market. We didn’t land one.”

Wings GM Ken Holland: “Other teams are after these players, too. Last year we got the guys wanted.”

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings had high hopes of landing at least one and quite possibly two premier right-handed defensemen on the first day of free agency.

They wound up with neither.

Instead, they ended up having to turn to a familiar face, Kyle Quincey, who Tuesday returned to Detroit for two years at $4.25 million a season.

Quincey, who’s a left-handed shot, struggled in the first half of last season, but finished strong.

He was one of two players to play all 82 games a year ago, totaling four goals and nine assists.

Dan Boyle, their top priority, and Matt Niskanen both chose to sign with other teams within the Eastern Conference.

“We had hoped to sign a right-shooting D-man,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “We made offers, but for a variety of reasons they chose elsewhere to go. That’s the reality of the cap world. There are a lot of reasons why players go in different directions.”

Boyle, who’ll turn 38 next month, signed a two-year deal with the New York Rangers for $9 million instead of a better deal Detroit had on the table, three years at $12.5 million.

Niskanen informed the Wings a couple hours into free agency that they were not on the list of teams he was considering and he finally chose the Washington Capitals, getting a seven-year deal worth $40.25 million.

Detroit was in the ballpark with its offer, seven years at $38.5 million, for the 27-year old defenseman.

While their two main right-handed targets on the blue line decided to go elsewhere, the second tier also got deals done with other teams.

Tom Gilbert inked a two-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens at $5.6 million.

Stephane Robidas chose to take the three-year deal at $3 million offered by Toronto instead of a similar offer the Wings had structured for him, choosing the Maple Leafs for family reasons.

Finally, Anton Stralman was given a five-year deal worth $22.5 million by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The length of a deal turned off the Wings.

“It’s free agency, it’s wide open,” Holland said. “Other teams are after these players, too. Last year we got the guys wanted.”

Christian Ehrhoff was the head scratcher of the afternoon, signing a one-year deal worth $4 million with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Detroit was told by Ehrhoff’s agent that he was seeking a five-year deal at roughly $5 million a season.

The Wings were never given a second chance by Ehrhoff, who was bought out of the final seven years of a 10-year deal with Buffalo, to better the Penguins’ offer.

The Wings could now turn to trading for a right-handed defensemen – Buffalo’s Tyler Myers, Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien, Edmonton’s Jeff Petry or Toronto’s Cody Franson – but the asking price is quite steep – Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar or Tomas Jurco.

Arizona’s Keith Yandle, who’s a left-handed shot, is also rumored to be on the trading block.

“There are still a lot of players out there that could be good one-year bargains,” Holland said. “We’ll keep kicking tires. I was hoping to get one or two right-shot defensemen, but they signed elsewhere, that’s their prerogative. That’s going to happen more and more with the cap ceiling and floor going up.”

Detroit did sign two of its own: Riley Sheahan and Petr Mrazek.

Sheahan, who was a restricted free agent, inked a two-year deal at an average salary cap hit of $950,000.

Mrazek got a one-year extension, taking his deal through the 2015-16 season, at a cap hit of $737,500.

With close to $60 million tied up in 20 players for next season and still need to sign restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser and Tomas Tatar, the Wings have close to $6 million to spend on other free agents.

Daniel Alfredsson and Daniel Cleary, who was promised a possible extension after signing a one-year deal on the first day of training camp, could also be back.

Detroit added depth at center signing Kevin Porter to a two-way deal.

Porter split time last season with the Buffalo Sabres and Rochester of the American Hockey League.

Porter, who played four seasons at the University of Michigan, has also played parts of seasons with Colorado and Phoenix and had 29 goals and 26 assists in 206 games.

He won the Hobey Baker Award in 2008, awarded to the top collegiate player in the NCAA.

Unable to land Boyle, Niskanen, Ehrhoff and Robidas to name a few, Wings settle on Quincey

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings had high hopes of landing at least one and quite possibly two premier right-handed defensemen on the first day of free agency.

They wound up with neither.

Instead, they ended up having to turn to a familiar face, Kyle Quincey, returned to Detroit for two years at $4.25 million a season.

Quincey, who’s a left-handed shot, struggled in the first half of last season, but finished strong.

He was one of two players to play all 82 games a year ago, totaling four goals and nine assists.

Dan Boyle, their top priority, and Matt Niskanen both chose to sign with other teams within the Eastern Conference.

Boyle signed a two-year deal with the New York Rangers for $9 million instead of a better deal Detroit had on the table, three years at $12.5 million.

Boyle, who’ll turn 38 next month, was first being offered a two-deal at around $11 million a season.

Niskanen informed the Wings a couple hours into free agency that they were not on the list of teams he was considering to go to and finally chose the Washington Capitals, getting a seven-year deal worth $40.25 million.
Earlier in the day the Capitals signed his former Pittsburgh teammate, Brooks Orpik.

Detroit was in the ballpark with its offer, seven years at $42 million, for the 27-year old defenseman.

Niskanen had a career high in goals (10), assists (36) and plus-minus (plus-33) last season with the Penguins.

While their two main right-handed targets in free agency on the blue line decided to go elsewhere, the second tier also got deals done with other teams.

Tom Gilbert jumped quickly to sign a two-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens at $5.6 million.

Stephane Robidas fell off the board next. He chose to take the three-year deal at $3 million offered by Toronto instead of a similar offer the Wings had structured for him, choosing the Maple Leafs for family reasons.

Finally, Anton Stralman was given a five-year deal worth $22.5 million by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Christian Ehrhoff was the head scratcher of the afternoon, signing a one-year deal worth $4 million with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Detroit was told by Ehrhoff’s agent that he was seeking a five-year deal at roughly $5 million a season.

The Wings were never given a second chance by Ehrhoff, who was bought out of the final seven years of a 10-year deal with Buffalo, to better the Penguins’ offer.

The Wings could now turn to possibly trading for a right-handed defensemen – Buffalo’s Tyler Myers, Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien, Edmonton’s Jeff Petry or Toronto’s Cody Franson – but the asking price is quite steep – Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar or Tomas Jurco.

Arizona’s Keith Yandle, who’s a left-handed shot, is also rumored to be on the trading block.

Detroit did sign two of its own … Riley Sheahan and Petr Mrazek.

Sheahan, who was a restricted free agent, inked a two-year deal at an average salary cap hit of $950,000.

Mrazek got a one-year extension, taking his deal through the 2015-16 season, at a cap hit of $737,500.

With close to $60 million tied up in 20 players for next season and still need to sign restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser and Tomas Tatar, the Wings have close to $6 million to spend on other free agents.

Daniel Alfredsson and Daniel Cleary, who was promised a possible extension after signing a one-year deal on the first day of training camp, could also be back.

Detroit added depth at center signing Kevin Porter to a two-way deal.

Porter split time last season with the Buffalo Sabres and Rochester of the American Hockey League.

Porter, who played four seasons at the University of Michigan, has also played parts of seasons with Colorado and Phoenix and had 29 goals and 26 assists in 206 games.

He won the Hobey Baker Award in 2008, awarded to the top collegiate player in the NCAA.

Wings make a free agent signing, but it’s not a blue liner … journeyman Kevin Porter

DETROIT >> According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the have made a minor signing, inking center Kevin Porter to a two-way deal.

He’ll add depth in Grand Rapids.

Porter split time last season with the Buffalo Sabres and Rochester of the American Hockey League.

Porter, who played four seasons at the University of Michigan, has also played parts of seasons with Colorado and Phoenix.

In 206 games he has 29 goals and 26 assists.

He won the Hobey Baker Award in 2008, awarded to the top collegiate player in the NCAA.

Wings lose out on Boyle; out on Niskanen; trade could be next option, but prices are steep

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings had high hopes of landing at least one and quite possibly two premier right-handed defensemen on the first day of free agency.

They wound up with neither.

First, Detroit lost out on Dan Boyle, who signed a two-year deal with the New York Rangers for $9 million.

The Wings’ shopping list began with Boyle, who’ll turn 38 next month, and was offering him a two-deal at around $5.5 million a season.

Matt Niskanen was next, but he informed the Wings that they were not on the list of teams he was considering to go to.

The 27-year old defenseman was looking for a lengthy deal at the maximum seven years and possibly in the upwards of $6 million a season to sign.

The Wings were fine with the length of a deal and seemed willing to meet his salary demands.

Originally they didn’t seem willing to pay him much more annually than what Niklas Kronwall ($4.75 million) is making.

Niskanen had a career high in goals (10), assists (36) and plus-minus (plus-33) last season with the Penguins.

While their two main right-handed targets on the blue line decided to go elsewhere, the second tier also got deals done with other teams.

Tom Gilbert was first, inking a two-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens at $5.6 million.

Stephane Robidas fell off the board next, getting three years with the Toronto Maple Leafs at $3 million a season.

Finally, Anton Stralman was given a five-year deal worth $22.5 million by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Wings could now turn to possibly trading for a right-handed defensemen – Buffalo’s Tyler Myers or Arizona’s Keith Yandle – but the asking price is quite steep – Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar or Tomas Jurco.

Christian Ehrhoff didn’t take long to sign a one-year deal worth $4 million with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Ehrhoff, who was bought out of the final seven years of a 10-year deal with Buffalo, had the offensive abilities they were looking for. He’s a premier skater who logs a ton of minutes who can move the puck and likes to join the rush. He can also quarterback the power play.

Detroit thought Ehrhoff was asking for a five-year deal and the Wings are only willing to give him three years at roughly $5 million a season.

Detroit had interest in Ehrhoff in 2011 when Brian Rafalski retired, but didn’t want to overpay him. There was also talk between the teams a couple of times about possibly trading Ehrhoff to the Wings, but Buffalo decided to hang onto him.

Lefty Michael Del Zotto is also out there after being bought out by Nashville.

Detroit did sign two of its own … Riley Sheahan and Petr Mrazek.

Sheahan, who was a restricted free agent, inked a two-year deal at an average salary cap hit of $950,000.

Mrazek got a one-year extension, taking his deal through the 2015-16 season, at a cap hit of $737,500.

The Wings had enough money to sign two high-end blue liners.

Detroit has just over $55 million tied up in 19 players for next season and still need to sign restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser and Tomas Tatar.

With the salary cap at $69 million for next season that leaves the Wings close to $10 million to spend on other free agents.

Defenseman Kyle Quincey hit the open market.

Daniel Cleary, who was promised a possible extension after signing a one-year deal on the first day of training camp, could also be back.

Wings lose out on Boyle, but Niskanen still out there; Ehrhoff inks one-year deal with Pens

DETROIT >> An hour and a half into the start of free agency and all the Detroit Red Wings have signed are two of their own … Riley Sheahan and Petr Mrazek.

Sheahan, who was a restricted free agent, inked a two-year deal at an average salary cap hit of $950,000.

Mrazek got a one-year extension, taking his deal through the 2015-16 season, at a cap hit of $737,500.

Detroit lost out on one of the right-handed shooting defensemen when Dan Boyle signed a two-year deal with the New York Rangers for $9 million.

The Wings’ shopping list began with Boyle, who’ll turn 38 next month, and was offering him a two-deal at around $5.5 million a season.

Matt Niskanen (Pittsburgh) remains out there and his price will continue to go up with the lack of right-handed blue liners in this free agent class.

The 27-year old defenseman was looking for a lengthy deal at the maximum seven years and possibly in the upwards of $6 million a season to sign.

The Wings are fine with the length and they may meet his salary demands when all is said and done.

Originally they didn’t seem willing to pay him much more annually than what Niklas Kronwall ($4.75 million) is making.

Niskanen had a career high in goals (10), assists (36) and plus-minus (plus-33) last season with the Penguins.

The Wings, who want their young right-handed defensemen to start the season in Grand Rapids, also could settle on Anton Stralman (New York Rangers) or Stephane Robidas (Anaheim).

Tom Gilbert (Florida) was also a possibility, but he got a two-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens at $5.6 million.

Christian Ehrhoff didn’t take long to sign a one-year deal worth $4 million with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Ehrhoff, who was bought out of the final seven years of a 10-year deal with Buffalo, had the offensive abilities they were looking for. He’s a premier skater who logs a ton of minutes who can move the puck and likes to join the rush. He can also quarterback the power play.

Detroit thought Ehrhoff was asking for a five-year deal and the Wings are only willing to give him three years at roughly $5 million a season.

Detroit had interest in Ehrhoff in 2011 when Brian Rafalski retired, but didn’t want to overpay him. There was also talk between the teams a couple of times about possibly trading Ehrhoff to the Wings, but Buffalo decided to hang onto him.

Lefty Michael Del Zotto (Nashville) was also added to the pool of unrestricted free agents on Monday.

The free agent pool for right-handed defensemen is thin and the asking price via a trade – Buffalo’s Tyler Myers or Arizona’s Keith Yandle – is quite steep (Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar or Tomas Jurco).

The Wings had enough money to sign two high-end blue liners.

Detroit has just over $55 million tied up in 19 players for next season and still need to sign restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser and Tomas Tatar.

With the salary cap at $69 million for next season that leaves the Wings close to $10 million to spend on other free agents.

Defenseman Kyle Quincey hit the open market.

Daniel Cleary, who was promised a possible extension after signing a one-year deal on the first day of training camp, could also be back.

Wings lock up one restricted free agent; Sheahan gets $1.9 million

DETROIT >> One down and two to go.

The Wings signed one of their three restricted free agents off last year’s roster, Riley Sheahan, to a two-year worth an average salary cap it of $950,000.

His last three-year deal had an average salary cap hit of $785,000.

Sheahan had nine goals and 15 assists in 42 regular season games last year.

However, like most of the youngsters he struggled in the playoffs. He had no points, was a minus-1 and struggled to win faceoffs.

Sheahan really caught the eye of Wings coach Mike Babcock at last year’s eight-team prospects tournament in Traverse City stating he was the best player throughout the event.

“He’s gotten better and better,” Babcock said last season. “He’s made plays for us and he’s allowed his linemates to play and not worry about the defensive side as much.”

“Your confidence grows when you know your coach feels comfortable with you,” Sheahan said last season.

Because of a rash of injuries at center last season, Sheahan got an opportunity to show how his game had developed and he really impressed.

He was recalled from Grand Rapids in mid-December and was sent back after playing four games. Not even three weeks later he was back with the team and was a fixture in it since Jan. 11.

Sheahan was Detroit’s first round selection (21st overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and was projected to be a second-line, two-way center.

“Great player, great shot, big body, smart guy,” Tomas Tatar said last season. “I think he’s one of the guys that’s got the whole package.”

With Grand Rapids the year before, Sheahan had 16 goals and 20 assists in 72 games.

“I think my offensive game maybe is leveled up a bit,” Sheahan said. “I think confidence is the biggest thing. Playing with such good players it’s sort of easy to get confidence because they’re always making plays and you always feel like you’re part of the play and then in the O-zone you’re cycling the puck and you’re always on it.”

Sheahan helped lead the Griffins to winning the Calder Cup two seasons ago.

Wings shorten list to Boyle, Niskanen; Ehrhoff wants too many years

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings have one need to address when teams can begin signing free agents at noon Tuesday … a top four defensemen, who’s preferably a right-handed shot.

“We’ve got a couple of specific needs,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said on the eve of when free agents can sign deals. “Free agency is always competitive. It appears to be a little deeper pool than last year, but there are lots of teams in the mix. It’ll be an interesting time.

“I anticipate things will happen fast (Tuesday),” Holland continued. “There should be lots of activity the first four or five hours.”

Detroit’s shopping list for a right-handed blue liner starts at Dan Boyle (New York Islanders), who’ll turn 38 next month, and could be had for a two-deal at around $5.5 million a season.

Boyle could however be looking for a third year on the deal which could be a sticking point or the Wings will meet his demands.

Matt Niskanen (Pittsburgh) is next on the list.

The 27-year old defenseman is looking for a lengthy deal at the maximum seven years and possibly in the upwards of $6 million a season to sign.

The Wings are fine with the length and they may meet his salary demands when all is said and done.

Originally they didn’t seem willing to pay him much more annually than what Niklas Kronwall ($4.75 million) is making.

Niskanen had a career high in goals (10), assists (36) and plus-minus (plus-33) last season with the Penguins.

“(Brendan) Smith can play left or right,” Holland said. “(Jonathan) Ericsson has played the off-side for a number of years, but ideally you’d like to have three left and three right but it doesn’t always work out that way.”

The Wings could get lucky and land both Boyle and Niskanen since they have enough room to fit them under the salary cap.

The Wings, who want their young right-handed defensemen to start the season in Grand Rapids, also could settle on Anton Stralman (New York Rangers), Stephane Robidas (Anaheim) or Tom Gilbert (Florida).

They also could stand pat if Boyle or Niskanen decide to go elsewhere.

From that point it could be a left-handed shot the Wings have to settle for.

Christian Ehrhoff, who was bought out of the final seven years of a 10-year deal with Buffalo, has the offensive abilities they’re looking for. He’s a premier skater who logs a ton of minutes who can move the puck and likes to join the rush. He can also quarterback the power play.

Ehrhoff appears to be asking for a five-year deal and the Wings are only willing to give him three years at roughly $5 million a season.

Detroit had interest in Ehrhoff in 2011 when Brian Rafalski retired, but didn’t want to overpay him. There was also talk between the teams a couple of times about possibly trading Ehrhoff to the Wings, but Buffalo decided to hang onto him.

“We’ve got seven left-hand D,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I love it but how do you get (a righty)? It’s great to have this fantasy, like Kenny Holland would tell you, there’s no tree. I’ve been all over him but there’s no tree to grab them off of, so we’ll get what we get.”

Lefty Michael Del Zotto (Nashville) was also added to the pool of unrestricted free agents on Monday.

“I just think it’s so much easier when you have a right and lefty on every pair,” Babcock said. “All you’ve got to do is look at L.A., a right and lefty on every pair. It makes it easier to get through the neutral zone. It’s easier off D-zone faceoffs to execute, you have the puck more. You can get it off the wall and shoot it in the offensive zone. To me it just makes sense.”

The free agent pool for right-handed defensemen is thin and the asking price via a trade – Buffalo’s Tyler Myers or Arizona’s Keith Yandle – is quite steep (Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar or Tomas Jurco).

“We’ll explore the forward market a little bit, but we’ve got 13 forwards and we can send Tomas Jurco to the minors if we wanted to,” Holland said. “We’ll see how Daniel Alfredsson is and where (Anthony) Mantha is in September.”

The Wings also have enough money to sign two high-end blue liners.

Detroit has $54.2 million tied up in 18 players for next season and still need to sign restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser, Tatar and Riley Sheahan.

With the salary cap at $69 million for next season that’ll leave the Wings close to $10 million to spend on other free agents.

Defenseman Kyle Quincey will hit the open market. Daniel Cleary, who was promised a possible extension after signing a one-year deal on the first day of training camp, could also be back.

Wings appear willing to meet demands to sign Boyle, Niskanen; Ehrhoff wants longer term more than what they want to offer

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings have one need to address when teams can begin signing free agents at noon Tuesday … a top four defensemen, who’s preferably a right-handed shot.

“We’ve got a couple of specific needs,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said on the eve of when free agents can sign deals. “Free agency is always competitive. It appears to be a little deeper pool than last year, but there are lots of teams in the mix. It’ll be an interesting time.

“I anticipate things will happen fast (Tuesday),” Holland continued. “There should be lots of activity the first four or five hours.”

Detroit’s shopping list for a right-handed blue liner starts at Dan Boyle (New York Islanders), who’ll turn 38 next month, and could be had for a two-deal at around $5.5 million a season.

Boyle could however be looking for a third year on the deal which could be a sticking point or the Wings will meet his demands.

Matt Niskanen (Pittsburgh) is next on the list.

The 27-year old defenseman is looking for a lengthy deal at the maximum seven years and possibly in the upwards of $6 million a season to sign.

The Wings are fine with the length and they may meet his salary demands when all is said and done.

Originally they didn’t seem willing to pay him much more annually than what Niklas Kronwall ($4.75 million) is making.

Niskanen had a career high in goals (10), assists (36) and plus-minus (plus-33) last season with the Penguins.

“(Brendan) Smith can play left or right,” Holland said. “(Jonathan) Ericsson has played the off-side for a number of years, but ideally you’d like to have three left and three right but it doesn’t always work out that way.”

The Wings could get lucky and land both Boyle and Niskanen since they have enough room to fit them under the salary cap.

The Wings, who want their young right-handed defensemen to start the season in Grand Rapids, also could settle on Anton Stralman (New York Rangers), Stephane Robidas (Anaheim) or Tom Gilbert (Florida).

They also could stand pat if Boyle or Niskanen decide to go elsewhere.

From that point it could be a left-handed shot the Wings have to settle for.

Christian Ehrhoff, who was bought out of the final seven years of a 10-year deal with Buffalo, has the offensive abilities they’re looking for. He’s a premier skater who logs a ton of minutes who can move the puck and likes to join the rush. He can also quarterback the power play.

Ehrhoff appears to be asking for a five-year deal and the Wings are only willing to give him three years at roughly $5 million a season.

Detroit had interest in Ehrhoff in 2011 when Brian Rafalski retired, but didn’t want to overpay him. There was also talk between the teams a couple of times about possibly trading Ehrhoff to the Wings, but Buffalo decided to hang onto him.

“We’ve got seven left-hand D,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I love it but how do you get (a righty)? It’s great to have this fantasy, like Kenny Holland would tell you, there’s no tree. I’ve been all over him but there’s no tree to grab them off of, so we’ll get what we get.”

Lefty Michael Del Zotto (Nashville) was also added to the pool of unrestricted free agents on Monday.

“I just think it’s so much easier when you have a right and lefty on every pair,” Babcock said. “All you’ve got to do is look at L.A., a right and lefty on every pair. It makes it easier to get through the neutral zone. It’s easier off D-zone faceoffs to execute, you have the puck more. You can get it off the wall and shoot it in the offensive zone. To me it just makes sense.”

The free agent pool for right-handed defensemen is thin and the asking price via a trade – Buffalo’s Tyler Myers or Arizona’s Keith Yandle – is quite steep (Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar or Tomas Jurco).

“We’ll explore the forward market a little bit, but we’ve got 13 forwards and we can send Tomas Jurco to the minors if we wanted to,” Holland said. “We’ll see how Daniel Alfredsson is and where (Anthony) Mantha is in September.”

The Wings also have enough money to sign two high-end blue liners.

Detroit has $54.2 million tied up in 18 players for next season and still need to sign restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser, Tatar and Riley Sheahan.

With the salary cap at $69 million for next season that’ll leave the Wings close to $10 million to spend on other free agents.

Defenseman Kyle Quincey will hit the open market. Daniel Cleary, who was promised a possible extension after signing a one-year deal on the first day of training camp, could also be back.

Wings set to sign McCollum; make offers to restricted free agents; part ways with Emmerton

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings feel goalie Tom McCollum might have finally found his game.

The team will resign McCollum, who Detroit selected with its top pick (30th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, to a one-year, two-way NHL contract.

After struggling for three straight seasons within the organization, McCollum is coming off his best season in the American Hockey League, going 24-12-4 with a 2.30 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage.

“He has made strides and is developing into the prospect we hoped he would be,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “It’s a little slower than we thought, but he’s become a real solid goaltender in the (AHL). Some players bloom a little later.”

In McCollum’s lone appearance in the NHL he gave up three goals in 15 minutes before being pulled.

McCollum, 24, will again backup Petr Mrazek with the Griffins.

The other two goalies in the system are Jared Coreau and Jake Paterson.

The team also made qualifying offers to seven of its restricted free agents – Danny DeKeyser, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, Landon Ferraro, Mitch Callahan, Adam Almquist and Andrej Nestrasil – to retain their rights.

Almquist signed a two-year deal in the KHL with Severestal Cherepovets.

The Wings didn’t make offers to Cory Emmerton, Trevor Parkes, Willie Coetzee, Gleason Fournier and Max Nicastro, thus relinquishing their rights.

Emmerton, who was the Wings’ top pick (41st overall) in 2006, played most of last season in Grand Rapids after being waived. He’s signed to play with the Sochi Leopards of the KHL next season.