MLive's Ansar Khan reports that the Red Wings will look to trade some of their forwards leading up to the NHL Draft on Sunday. Khan writes that the most likely candidate to be traded is Jordin Tootoo.
While Tootoo was a fan favorite for his knack for fighting and being a pest to opponents, Khan writes that he rarely played down the stretch:
"Tootoo was a frequent healthy scratch the second half of the season and appeared in only one playoff game. He has two years remaining at $1.9 million per season."
Cory Emmerton is another trade candidate. He played well as a fourth-line center this season, and he chipped in eight points (five goals, three assists). But with Joakim Andersson holding down the third-line center spot, and continuous talk of Darren Helm returning from a back injury. Emmerton appears to be the odd man out. It doesn't help his cause that there are younger centers in Grand Rapids (Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening, Landon Ferraro) who could see some time with the Wings next season in the event of injuries.
The Wings have 14 forwards under contract, but that number will likely go down as Valtteri Filppula is not expected to re-sign, and the chances of Daniel Cleary re-signing are looking slimmer by the day.
Should the Wings use one or both of their compliance buyouts, it appears that Mikael Samuelsson is the leading candidate for a buyout. However, Samuelsson could try and fight the buyout since injured players can't be bought out. He missed the remainder of the playoffs with a strained pectoral muscle, but has been declared healthy.
Samuelsson has one year remaining on his contract at $3 million.
Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo is also a buyout candidate, but he might be traded away on Draft Day. He has a year left on his contract at $2.85 million.
The other candidate for a buyout would likely be Todd Bertuzzi.
As for Filppula, there has been plenty of talk that the Wings could ship his rights to another club in exchange for a draft pick. Filppula has been demanding $5 million a year, which the Wings aren't willing to pay.
If the team wants a center to replace Filppula, Florida Panthers' center Stephen Weiss is the best free agent option.
The team has also been involved in discussions with Cleary and Damien Brunner. The issue for Cleary is contract length, as the Wings don't want to commit too many years to the 34-year old winger. This likely means he will sin elsewhere.
Brunner wants a raise from the $925,000 he made this past season. Reports indicate that he wants to make at least $3 million.
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