DETROIT – The Wings’ shopping list on Friday appears to be a very short one.
Their top need is a second line center.
And as of now there are three players they’re quite interested in and another one they’d be willing to settle for.
The free agency signing period begins Friday at noon.
The most notable player on that list is Valtteri Filppula.
Just as his days in Detroit appeared all but over there’s a possibility Filppula, 29, could return to the team.
Filppula’s agent continues to talk with the Wings.
“I haven’t thought about (leaving Detroit), but obviously it’s a possibly that could happen,” Filppula said during the Wings’ end-of-season locker cleanout. “It’d be tough. It’s been a really great place to be. I’ve been so happy here. We’ll see if we go … if that’s what’s going to happen.”
The Wings did make offers to Filppula in August and September before talks broke down.
Filppula, who made $3 million last season, is believed to be asking for about a $2 million raise a year, but may have lowered his asking price.
The other two unrestricted free agent centers the Wings have had discussion with are Mike Ribeiro and Stephen Weiss.
Ribeiro, 33, made $5 million last season with Washington.
The problem with signing him could be the number of years on a deal since he reportedly rejected a three-year extension offered by the Capitals. A five-year deal seems to be what he’s looking for.
He was second on the team in points last season with 13 goals and 36 assists in 48 games.
His strengths are his playmaking abilities as well as leadership on the ice, while his weakness tends to be in the faceoff circle.
Ribeiro was traded to Washington from Dallas during the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He’s also played for Montreal.
Weiss, 30, seems to tops on the Wings’ shopping list.
Weiss, who played for the Plymouth Whalers, has spent his entire career with the Florida Panthers where he’s their all-time leader in games played.
Weiss made $4.1 million last season.
But just like Ribeiro, the length of a deal could be a sticking point.
It’s believed Weiss is looking for a four- or five-year deal worth between $4.5 and $5 million a season.
Weiss does lack size (5-foot-11, 190 pounds), but has an offensive upside, scoring 20 or more goals four times in the past seven seasons. He’s also stronger in faceoffs compared to Ribeiro.
He missed the final 26 games of the season with a wrist injury.
If the Wings are unable to land one of those three, Matt Cullen would be next on the list.
Cullen, 36, made $3.5 million last season with Minnesota and could be had for a one- or two-year deal.
Detroit also seems a bit interested in wingers Jarome Iginla, 36, and Brenden Morrow, 34, if they’re unable to bring back either Daniel Cleary or Damien Brunner.
However, there are concerns with both players on whether they fit in the Wings’ plans as they’re in the midst of building a team that likes to get up-and-down the ice.