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With Lidstrom and Stuart gone, Detroit is going to need some help on defense

Red Wings Oilers Hockey

Edmonton Oilers’ Ales Hemsky take a hits from Detroit Red Wings’ Niklas Kronwall, during first period NHL hockey game action in Edmonton, Alberta, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, John Ulan)


This summer is shaping up to be a big one for the Detroit Red Wings’ defense. With Nicklas Lidstrom hanging up his skates and Brad Stuart sent off to San Jose, the Wings’ blue line is in rough shape.

Detroit heads into the offseason with Niklas Kronwall as their top guy with Ian White, Jonathan Ericsson, Jakub Kindl, and Brendan Smith as fellow incumbents and Kyle Quincey as a likely-to-be-re-signed restricted free agent. While that’s enough to make up a starting six-man unit, that’s not what you’d call a Stanley Cup-caliber set up.

Detroit has oodles of salary cap space and high hopes of going after Nashville’s Ryan Suter as well as New Jersey’s Zach Parise. It’s the blue line that requires the most attention though and Suter should just be the starting point.

Soon-to-be college free agent Justin Schultz is there to be chased after and with Detroit’s penchant for going after defenseman who played at Wisconsin (Suter, Smith, Chris Chelios, and Brian Rafalski). Ansar Khan of mentions Dennis Wideman as a potential Plan-B. Hey, Detroit could use the power play help, right?

Guys like Jason Garrison, Filip Kuba, and Matt Carle also offer interesting backup plans, if they’re available, but no one that’s a true No. 1 defenseman. Suter or bust? Sure looks that way for Wings GM Ken Holland.