Detroit’s search for top-3 defenseman may have to wait

The Detroit Red Wings have had a busy 2016 off-season so far. They managed to trade the $7.5M contract of Pavel Datsyuk to the Arizona Coyotes and later snagged free agents Frans Nielsen, Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott while re-signing Darren Helm, Alexey Marchenko, and Drew Miller.

However, their hopes to acquire a top-3 defenseman may be put on hold, potentially up until training camp begins in September.

Photo Credit: Kristen Jerkins/Flickr
Photo Credit: Kristen Jerkins/Flickr

They’ve been linked to blue-liners Cam Fowler and Kevin Shattenkirk, both of whom have ties to the Detroit area. Fowler was born in Windsor but grew up in Farmington Hills, while Shattenkirk played two seasons with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor.

Because neither are free agents, they would have to be acquired via trade. Unfortunately, the asking price for Shattenkirk from the St. Louis Blues was Dylan Larkin, whom the Red Wings have no intention of seeing in a different uniform.

Meanwhile, the Anaheim Ducks haven’t been able to find a trading partner that they’re comfortable dealing Fowler to, much to his surprise.

Photo Credit: Pain Gretzky/Flickr
Photo Credit: Pain Gretzky/Flickr

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland knows that he has a plethora of forwards following their recent free agent signings, one of whom could be dangled as trade bait to acquire a defenseman. But he’s also accepted the reality that a deal to strengthen Detroit’s blue line may have to wait.

“Part of this might be let’s get to September and see,” Holland reported. “I’m hoping we’ve got 15, 16 NHL forwards and we’re positioned to do a deal.”

The Red Wings’ training camp officially opens September 23 at Center Ice Arena in Traverse City, Michigan.

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