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With Lidstrom and Stuart gone, Detroit is going to need some help on defense

Jun 11, 2012, 10:59 AM EDT

Niklas Kronwall AP

This summer is shaping up to be a big one for the Detroit Red Wings’ defense. With Nicklas Lidstrom hanging up his skates and Brad Stuart sent off to San Jose, the Wings’ blue line is in rough shape.

Detroit heads into the offseason with Niklas Kronwall as their top guy with Ian White, Jonathan Ericsson, Jakub Kindl, and Brendan Smith as fellow incumbents and Kyle Quincey as a likely-to-be-re-signed restricted free agent. While that’s enough to make up a starting six-man unit, that’s not what you’d call a Stanley Cup-caliber set up.

Detroit has oodles of salary cap space and high hopes of going after Nashville’s Ryan Suter as well as New Jersey’s Zach Parise. It’s the blue line that requires the most attention though and Suter should just be the starting point.

Soon-to-be college free agent Justin Schultz is there to be chased after and with Detroit’s penchant for going after defenseman who played at Wisconsin (Suter, Smith, Chris Chelios, and Brian Rafalski). Ansar Khan of Mlive.com mentions Dennis Wideman as a potential Plan-B. Hey, Detroit could use the power play help, right?

Guys like Jason Garrison, Filip Kuba, and Matt Carle also offer interesting backup plans, if they’re available, but no one that’s a true No. 1 defenseman. Suter or bust? Sure looks that way for Wings GM Ken Holland.

  1. govtminion - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    Wideman is actually in interesting suggestion. Not a bad idea.

    • Joe Yerdon - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:06 AM

      Even with his glaring defensive liabilities?

      • govtminion - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:27 AM

        Well, there’s THAT. (Bruins fan here, all to familiar with his defensive prowess). But, he does make a good power play even better- so combining him with a quality stay at home d-man to help cover for him could be a gamble worth taking. I’m thinking back to the late-’90s Avalanche and the combination of Sandis Ozolinsh (playing as Wideman here) and Jon Klemm (as his security blanket)- if Ozolinsh jumped into the play, often it produced points. And if he did something stupid, Klemm covered him.

  2. rtrmusic - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    The Pens are trying to trade Paul Martin and Z. Michalek. Any thoughts on them?

    • theawesomersfranchise - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      I have two thoughts
      Over and Paid

      • rtrmusic - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:05 PM

        two more thoughts (in terms of being on the pens) WRONG and SYSTEM. Moreover, that’s the going rate for DEF.

      • theawesomersfranchise - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:11 PM

        Oh so your GM is a complete idiot then?

        And the going rate for an old D man who never played well defensively in his own zone, who was signed to make good 1st passes to his forwards on the break-out and move the puck well on the power play, who failed at both is 5 million per seaon?

        LOL at the DESPERATE attempt to simply sum it up as “Wrong System”
        Who are you? Ray Shero himself trying to convince me that I should pay Martin 14 million over the next 3 years?

        And please don’t reply, you are ill-equipped to debate this with me

  3. xjokerz - Jun 11, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    Semin , suter , parise. Welcome to Detroit

    • theawesomersfranchise - Jun 11, 2012 at 4:44 PM

      Semin?

      There is this guy name Kenny Holland who would be caught dead signing Semin and a coach Mike Babcock who would healthy scratch Semin on a nightly basis.

  4. heyzeus143 - Jun 11, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    they can have Paul Martin

  5. polegojim - Jun 11, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    Kimmo Timonen – hey, anyone who’s UFA is fair game and the wings can afford to pay him
    Lubomir Visnovsky – Anaheim- +7, solid points, LF
    Douglas Murray – SJ- +3, recover from last years injuries, regain half a step, plow the road

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