The Detroit Red Wings continue to look for a defenseman to help fill the holes left by Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart.
While nothing more has come from those discussions, Gregg Krupa of The Detroit News reported that the Red Wings offered Valtteri Filppula, Jonathan Ericsson and a prospect in exchange for Bouwmeester. To many Red Wings fans, that seems like a lot to give up for Bouwmeester. That being said, the asking price for Keith Yandle is likely going to be much higher.
The Detroit News also reported that the Red Wings have inquired about Yandle, but with the lingering ownership problems in Phoenix, GM Don Maloney may not be willing to make any moves at this time.
With that being said, if Yandle is, or were to become available, should Ken Holland go all out in trying to acquire the skilled blueliner or wait and hope the price drops?
Yandle has four years remaining on a five-year $26.25 million contract that has a cap hit of $5.25 million. He is a much better option than Bouwmeester, who has two years remaining on a contract that has a $6.68 million cap hit.
At 25, Yandle hasn’t even entered his prime yet. The 6'1", 190-pound defenseman would bring superb speed and offensive skill to the Red Wings' blue line.
Yandle has reached the 40-point mark in each of the last three seasons and has been strong offensively in the postseason, scoring 19 points in 27 total playoff games. He’s also appeared in all 82 games in each of the past three seasons, a testament to his ability to stay healthy.
Yandle has proven he can play big minutes, leading all Coyotes defensemen in ice time the past two seasons. Yandle can also contribute on special teams by quarterbacking the power play. With the departure of Lidstrom, it would certainly benefit the Red Wings to add a player who is sharp on the power play, has great agility and good endurance.
However, Yandle does have a weakness. For whatever reason, he frequently turns the puck over. Last season, he ranked near the top of the league in giveaways by a defenseman, with 75. Considering his age, perhaps this is something he will improve on as he matures as a hockey player.
There is clearly a huge upside to adding a player like Yandle, but the cost will, without a doubt, be significant.
The Red Wings aren’t short on forwards with 15 under contract and Justin Abdelkader still a restricted free agent. Among those under contract are Gustav Nyquist and Dammien Brunner, two players signed to entry-level contracts who the Coyotes may be interested in. Filppula and Ericsson, mentioned earlier in a possible Bouwmeester trade, may also be of interest to Phoenix.
Red Wings fans would likely prefer to see the team act now, but Holland may have no other option but to continue to wait.
In addition to the Coyotes' ownership situation, the looming lockout could play a role in delaying Holland, or any GM for that matter, from making a trade.
Regardless of whether the Red Wings can move for Yandle, it wouldn’t hurt to sign a veteran free-agent defenseman. These include blueliners such as Michal Rozsival, Pavel Kubina, Jaroslav Spacek, Brett Clark and Carlo Colaiacovo.
Any one of these defenseman could provide insurance and a short-term boost to the blue line. Don’t forget, Detroit still has over $13 million in cap space.
If there is one thing Red Wings fans can agree on, it’s this: It will be tough to watch the team take to the ice at Joe Louis Arena without No. 5 in the lineup.
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