DETROIT – As the NHL and its players limp to the Sept. 15 deadline of a possible lockout, the Wings continue to have a pressing need along their blue line where they still have just six defensemen under contract.
“We need to sign another defenseman or two,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said in a phone interview Tuesday. “There are some veteran defensemen out there looking for an opportunity. I’m having conversations.”
Last Friday, a source confirmed that Detroit had offered often-injured Carlo Colaiacovo a two-year deal worth $2.7 million a season.
Colaiacovo, who reportedly is looking for a three-year deal and was originally offered a one-year deal by the Wings, hasn’t played more than 67 games in any season.
“We’re not close to signing anybody,” said Holland, who didn’t know if they would be able to sign one or two defensemen before Sept. 15.
The Wings are in need of a top four defenseman after losing Nicklas Lidstrom (retirement) and Brad Stuart (trade) this offseason.
The Wings, who are $13 million under the salary cap, have Niklas Kronwall, Ian White, Jonathan Ericsson, Kyle Quincey, Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl under contract for next season.
Earlier this month, a source confirmed that the Wings had been in contact with the Calgary Flames about trading for defenseman Jay Bouwmeester.
They made a pitch for 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 organization isn’t thrilled with what is left on the open market – Michal Rozsival (Phoenix), Pavel Kubina (Philadelphia), Mark Eaton (New York Islanders), Brett Clark (Tampa Bay) and Milan Jurcina (New York Islanders) – and may wait until the collective bargaining agreement is reached.
If the salary cap goes down, teams may be forced to trim salary and perhaps leave a top four defenseman looking for work.