5 blueliners the Red Wings can steal from the Metropolitan Division in NHL free agency

The Detroit Red Wings can use one more blueliner to solidify their defensive rotation, and the Metro Division has a few pending unrestricted free agents.
Detroit Red Wings v Carolina Hurricanes
Detroit Red Wings v Carolina Hurricanes / Jaylynn Nash/GettyImages
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The Detroit Red Wings could use another blueliner, as the results from their up-and-down 2023-24 campaign should give general manager Steve Yzerman every reason to seek one out in NHL free agency. And if there is one division full of sound defensemen, either to ink to a long-term deal or just to find a potential stopgap, it’s the Metropolitan. 

This is rather curious since of the four divisions in the NHL, the Metro comes across as having by far the weakest class of pending unrestricted free agents. But there are always outliers, and we found one; you may be shocked by the sheer number of blueliners available that would help bolster what was a weak Red Wings defense. 

So, which players should Yzerman target in free agency IF they don’t end up signing a new deal with their current teams? Let’s start with a pair who are currently trying to earn a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals. 

Brady Skjei, Carolina Hurricanes

Top-four minutes, a two-way game, and a career-high in points, someone like Brady Skjei would be an adequate replacement for Shayne Gostisbehere if the latter doesn’t re-sign with the Red Wings. Skjei’s 47 points didn’t match the 56 Gostisbehere accumulated, and he wasn’t as effective on the man advantage - though he still had 12 power play points. But he also brings a better defensive game. 

One reason Skjei is on this list is because the Wings need more reliable play in the defensive zone from its blueliners. He was on the ice for 56 goals allowed at even strength, just a fraction above his 55.4 xGA. That was nowhere near the case with Gostisbehere, who had an xGA of 50.3 at even strength but was on the ice for 61. 

The big challenge would be Skjei’s contract, which sat at an AAV of $5.250, and he’s likely to earn even more with his next contract. But if Steve Yzerman can make it happen, Skjei would be a perfect signing, and he’s the top player on this list.