The Detroit Red Wings are currently beefing up for their 20th consecutive trip to the playoffs, having clinched the Central Division title yet again. However, despite having what the rest of the NHL would call a very successful season, the Red Wings have managed only 102 points so far this year and sit third in the West, very different from their usual first or second that they usually sit in.
(Keep in mind, however, this is also an improvement from last year which saw them finish in fourth in the West due to Chicago winning the division.)
Even though their form going into these playoffs hasn't exactly been sparkling (getting blown out 10-3 by a mediocre St. Louis squad isn't too encouraging), the Wings will likely have a pretty deep playoff run and be a pretty serious contender for the Stanley Cup.
Their lineup is aging however. Nick Lidstrom, despite putting up an amazing 62 points this season, is nearly 41 years old. Mike Modano is 40, Kris Draper is 39, Tomas Holmstrom and Chris Osgood are 38, Brian Rafalski is 37, and Todd Bertuzzi and Ruslan Salei are both 36. In total, the Red Wings have 14 players over the age of 30 and none younger than 24.
This brings up a problem for Detroit. With so many aged veterans, there's really no telling when one of them might decide to hang up their skates and call it quits on their career. With this in mind, who do the Red Wings target to keep their core of experienced veterans intact while still filling in the shoes of those who potentially might depart?
Here are 15 free agents who I think the Wings should target this summer to both maintain their team philosophy while putting together a very strong contender.