Jay Bouwmeester? Keith Yandle? How about P.K. Subban? The Detroit Red Wings, after missing out on Ryan Suter, have opted to sit tight and hope they can stir up some defensive help in August or September.
What most NHL teams are waiting on right now is the completion of a new collective bargaining agreement, which would prevent a lockout this coming season and, for the sake of this discussion, could alter the current $70.2 million salary cap. Detroit is counting on that number dropping, which could force several teams to shed salary before the season begins.
So where might the Wings turn for help on the trade market? Here are a few possibilities:
Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres currently have nine D-men on their roster, if you count T.J. Brennan and his two-way contract. Three of those guys — Tyler Myers, Christian Ehrhoff and Robyn Regher — have no-movement clauses, so they’re probably out of the picture. But there are still several options behind them, including Jordan Leopold and Andrej Sekara.
Leopold, 32, has one year left on his contract at $3 million. He had 24 points last season and 35 in 2010-11, and he might be able to provide a little of the offensive boost Detroit’s looking for. Sekara, 26 with three years left on his deal at $2.75 per, is more of a stay-at-home guy.
Calgary Flames: After signing Dennis Wideman to a lucrative five-year deal, the Flames could have as many as 10 defensemen fighting for seven or eight roster slots. Because Calgary has only about $3 million in cap space currently, the Flames could be really stuck if that $70.2 million cap number drops.
Jay Bouwmeester has been the hot name in trade rumors, mainly because of his $6.68 million cap hit for the next to years. But Anton Babchuk, with one year left at $2.25 million, might be an alternative. The tricky spot? Both players have no-trade clauses.
Edmonton Oilers: Edmonton won the Justin Schultz sweepstakes, which puts them at eight defenseman on one-way deals. The Edmonton Sun recently speculated that could cause the Oilers to throw Corey Potter or Theo Peckham on waivers before the season. There aren’t a lot of top-notch options here, especially since Ryan Whitney has a no-trade clause, but both Ladislav Smid and Andy Sutton will be unrestricted free agents next summer — which might make it easier for the Oilers to move them.
Montreal Canadiens: If the Red Wings are determined to find someone they can plug into their top four on the blue line, then we might hear more about Montreal soon. Why? Well, 23-year-old P.K. Subban is a restricted free agent and, reportedly, remains very, very far apart in discussions. Subban has averaged 37 points over the past two seasons and could have a long, promising career in front of him. If the Subban situation lingers, could Detroit lay it on the line for a high-impact defenseman?
New Jersey Devils: The Devils took a big hit this offseason, losing captain Zach Parise to Minnesota. They also have yet to re-sign forward Petr Sykora, who provided a little scoring punch. But with eight defenseman, the answer to some of their problems might come by dealing from depth. Marek Zidlicky, acquired by New Jersey last year, has a no-movement clause but also has just one year left on his deal. Another possibility: Henrik Tallinder, though it's hard to see him being more than a fifth or sixth defenseman.
Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers sit with $3.5 million in cap space at the moment, though their pursuits of Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and Shane Doan indicate that they're willing to wheel and deal. The other factor here is that Chris Pronger and his $4.9 million hit could come off the books if he can't get back on the ice. But if Philadelphia opts to clear some cap space, someone here (Andrej Meszaros?) might be on his way out.
Phoenix Coyotes: Keith Yandle, anyone? We've heard the veteran defenseman could be available since the NHL Draft. If Phoenix can't get Shane Doan to stick around -- or if the team has to start the process of relocating -- then it might increase Yandle's availability.
Of course, the Coyotes already sit nearly $10 million under the current cap floor. They'll be rooting for that cap number to drop as it is, so dishing out Yandle ($5.25 million per year) might only work if they get a high-salaried player back.
Tampa Bay Lightning: The Red Wings went through Tampa Bay and Steve Yzerman to complete the Kyle Quincey deal last year, then later sent Mike Commodore to the Lightning. We know Holland and Yzerman are incredibly familiar with each other, and that always helps when you're talking trade.
Yzerman was active this offseason, too, nabbing Matt Carle and Sami Salo -- two Wings targets -- off free agency. Those moves left him with eight blue-liners, and someone like Marc-Andre Bergeron (31 years old, 24 points in 42 games last year) could help Detroit's depth issues.
Washington Capitals: Here's another spot where a restricted free agent, in this case John Carlson, could come into play. The caveat there: Ken Holland has avoided restricted free agents like the plague, so Washington might have to make the first move here.
If Carlson re-signs and stays in D.C., the Caps could wind up with as many as nine defensemen -- with Karl Alzner, Tom Poti and John Erskine all set for either unrestricted or restricted free agency next summer.