Jay Bouwmeester’s name continues to come up whenever the Detroit Red Wings’ muddled defensive situation is the topic of conversation, and Brandon Savage of MLive reported Thursday that there may be something to that chatter.
Savage cited a team source, who confirmed that that the Red Wings and Calgary Flames “are talking … about making a deal” involving Bouwmeester, a 29-year-old defenseman due to make $13 million over the next two seasons.
Bouwmeester became expendable in Calgary when the Flames signed Dennis Wideman to a five-year, $26.25 million deal and the Red Wings need help on defense after captain Nicklas Lidstrom retired and Brad Stuart was traded to San Jose before he could sign with the Sharks as a free agent.
The drawback to acquiring Bouwmeester is his $6.68 million salary cap hit for each of the next two seasons. Only Pavel Datsyuk ($6.7 million) has a higher cap hit among the Red Wings.
The Wings have been hesitant to jump into any bidding wars this summer, though they did send lucrative offers to both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter before those players signed with Minnesota. But Detroit’s desperate situation on defense could force the franchise’s hand — and if Calgary picked up a little of the tab on Bouwmeester, it would make things even easier.
Bouwmeester, 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, is coming off a 29-point season (5 G, 24) in which he played all 82 games for the seventh consecutive year. He did, however, post a minus-21 rating and has finished just two seasons with a positive plus-minus mark.
Savage also mentioned the Wings’ possible concern that Philadelphia will swoop in and take a run at Bouwmeester, now that the Flyers will be without Andrej Meszaros for all of 2012-13 after he tore his Achilles.
It’s unclear what it would take to land Bouwmeester — though some will depend on how badly the Flames need to clear his salary — but the Red Wings do have some young depth at forward from which to deal. Currently, the Flames have eight defensemen under contract, another indication that they intend to unload someone at some point.