Everyone in the Western Hemisphere views the Detroit Red Wings to be one of the favorites for Alex Killorn. Both Steve Yzerman and coach Derek Lalonde know, and respect, him from their days with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
He can score and play a strong all-around game. He also has a lot of winning on his resume.
But the Red Wings are always tight-lipped about their wants and desires when it comes trading and buying free agents. But we do know they are looking for scorers, another proven goalie, some players with a tenacious style and right-shot veteran defensemen. Moritz Seider and Gus Lindstrom (signed Friday) are the only two returning right shot D men.
Here is a general list of some available players:
Alex Killorn (Tampa Bay Lightning)
If you talk to people around the NHL, they think Yzerman will make a pitch for Killorn. He knows him, and his ability, from their time together in Tampa. Killorn is 33, hard-edged, and has scored 52 goals over the past two season. He’s been a durable player throughout his career. Plug him into the second line and count on 20 goals and a strong all-around season.
Right Wing Vladimir Tarasenko (New York Rangers)
At 31, he’s still a potential 30-goal scorer. Proven scoring touch. Two years ago, he posted 34 goals and 82 points in 75 games. Injuries undermined him last season and he had 50 points in 69 games. What could he do with Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond?
Center J.T. Compher (Colorado Avalanche)
Compher took his game to higher level this season, putting up 52 points. He played at the University of Michigan with Dylan Larkin and Andrew Copp. All three played in the U.S. National Team Development Program. Although their time there also doesn’t line up perfectly, they all know each other. Compher has never scored 20 goals, but his point total is significant. Copp had 42 points this season.
Left Wing Pierre Engvall (New York Islanders)
He’s a 6-foot-5 Swede who is just coming into his own. He scored 17 goals last season in a split season between the Maple Leafs and Islanders. Engvall is a solid, 220 pounds. Considerable up-side potential. Should be reasonably priced in comparison to the bigger names. Could turn out to be a bargain if he continues to grow as a player.
Center Ryan O’Reilly (Toronto Maple Leafs)
The rugged two-way center would be a good complement for Larkin. But he wants to stay in Toronto, and if the Maple Leafs can’t make it work, his next choice would be a prime contender. That’s not the Red Wings at this point.
Left Wing Jason Zucker (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Zucker, 31, is coming off a 27-goal season. It was his sixth season of scoring 20 or more goals. Doesn’t seem like he’s a perfect for an Yzerman team. But he can score goals. He has to be on the list.
Center Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks)
Toews is expected to retire. He’s 35 and has nothing to prove. He has health concerns. But he is still a smart, poised center. Would the Red Wings be interested in talking to him? He could be a bridge to give Marco Kasper another season to ready himself for the job? It’s an unlikely scenario, but the idea of Toews wearing the winged wheel is fun to think about
Matt Dumba (Minnesota Wild)
At 28, he’s in the prime of his career. He’s a two-way defender who will post 100+ blocked shots and hits every season. He averaged 21:17 of playing time for a hard-nosed Minnesota Wild. There is some inconsistency in his game. But teams will put up with more to get a right shot D man. He should have multiple suitors. That’s not good for a team that has missed the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons.
Radko Gudas (Florida Panthers)
You saw him in the postseason. He’s always in beast mode. When it comes to defense, Gudas, 32, is like an ogre guarding the castle. He is 208 pounds of misery for opposing forwards. He posted 308 hits this season. That’s 100 more than Moritz Seider had and we know Seider is a tough kid. Gudas could make Detroit’s blue line corps harder to play against.
Scott Mayfield (New York Islanders)
He’s a dependable defender. Plus, he’s 6-foot-4, 220 pounds. Mayfield blocked 168 shots this season. Would fit well in Lalonde’s system.
Connor Clifton (Boston Bruins)
Plenty of room on the bandwagon for those who like Clifton. He’s a decent offensive player and posted 208 hits this season. Clifton is 28.
Kevin Shattenkirk (Anaheim Ducks)
The plus for Shattenkirk is that he has 891 games of NHL experience. Wouldn’t think he would be Detroit’s first choice. He’s known more for offense than defense. He was -20 last season for a poor Ducks team. He will be 35 in January. The Red Wings want more push-back. That’s not not necessarily Shattenkirk’s game.
Frederik Andersen (Carolina Hurricanes)
Could challenge Husso for No. 1. But his asking price may be too high
Antti Raanta (Carolina Hurricanes)
He also won’t be a bargain, but the Red Wings would have a strong tandem
Semyon Varlamov (New York Islanders)
Varlamov is 35, but is a steady, consistent performer. If the Red Wings want to be a playoff team, he certainly could be a quality option, especially on a one-year deal
MacKenzie Blackwood (New Jersey Devils)
He’s only 26 and has NHL experience. At the right price?