DETROIT – With the Wings’ roster crowded on the blue line and up front, some possible moves to adjust those numbers could be coming soon.
According to a source, Detroit may look to deal defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo and forward Jordin Tootoo.
The team would still like to re-sign unrestricted free agent Valtteri Filppula, who could hit the open market once free agency starts on July 5 if he doesn’t get a new deal with the Wings.
Filppula made $3 million last season and is reportedly seeking a multi-year deal in excess of over $5 million.
If they can’t do that they will try and trade his rights and use the money they had earmarked for him to sign a second-line center once free agency opens.
The team will begin pursuing deals at Sunday’s NHL Entry Draft in New Jersey.
Detroit currently has six defensemen under contract for next season – Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Kyle Quincey, Danny DeKeyser, Brian Lashoff and Colaiacovo.
Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl are both restricted free agents and will be re-signed.
Tootoo may just run into a numbers crunch up front, where there just isn’t a lot of room since the team would like to keep their younger players, who would need to clear waivers to be sent to the minors, whom emerged in the playoffs.
Tootoo has two years left on a deal is signed last offseason at $1.9 million a season.
Fourth-line center Cory Emmerton may also be available.
After signing Drew Miller to a new deal this offseason, the Wings have 12 forwards under contract for next season. Two others – Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist – are restricted and will be back with the team.
The team has made qualifying offers to Andersson, Nyquist, Smith and Kindl.
There are also two other unrestricted free agent forwards – Daniel Cleary and Damien Brunner – the team will more than likely wait until after free agency opens to sign, if they do at all, so their money and rosters spots are tied up.
The amount and length of contract will dictate who comes back and who doesn’t.
However, three of the forwards – Darren Helm, Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson – under contract for next season battled through serious injuries last year and there is still some concern if they’ll be able to return.
The Wings would prefer not offer buyouts to anyone on their roster, but if it comes to that to clear a roster stop then they will look into that as an option.
Teams are permitted two amnesty buyouts that can be used this summer or next summer. They would be able to buyout a player at two-thirds of their remaining value of the contract and not have any of the salary count against the salary cap.
The buyout period begins 48 hours after the last game of the Stanley Cup finals and ends at 5 p.m. on July 4.
Samuelsson, who has one year left at $3 million on his deal, could be a candidate to be bought out, but since he never returned to play in the playoffs due to an injury it could be a dicey situation where his agent might not accept it based on those grounds.
He has been cleared to return from the strained pectoral muscle injury that finished his postseason.