One pending unrestricted free agent the Red Wings can snag from each team in the Central Division

The Detroit Red Wings could look to the Western Conference and a few former division rivals to snag a big-name free agent or two.
Chicago Blackhawks v Detroit Red Wings
Chicago Blackhawks v Detroit Red Wings / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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Once upon a time, way back when, the Detroit Red Wings were part of the NHL’s Central Division, though it looked rather different than the one you see today. That said, Detroit had plenty of rivals that reside in that same Central Division today, mainly the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, and the Winnipeg Jets (who would later become the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes). 

The Wings were also members of the Central Division when the Nashville Predators entered the league. And when they last hoisted the Stanley Cup in 2008, Detroit also did so while in the Central. But when the NHL switched to four divisions before the 2013-14 season thanks mainly to the Atlanta Thrashers becoming the second incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets, the Red Wings became members of the Eastern Conference, where they reside in its Atlantic Division. 

But what if we looked at the Red Wings former conference and took note of some players who could be on the move when free agency rolls around in July? Who would be ideal for general manager Steve Yzerman to acquire, and why would that be the case?

Brandon Duhaime, W/Colorado Avalanche

Hockey is a physical game, and the Red Wings play in the same division as some of the league’s most physical teams, like the Florida Panthers. Others, like the Buffalo Sabres, have also grown edgier in recent seasons, and there are few forwards who exemplify physicality better than Brandon Duhaime of the Colorado Avalanche. 

He ended the year with 208 hits, and he nearly hit the three-per-game mark in his short stint with the Avs. In the 2023-24 playoffs, that number has increased to almost four, and he would single-handedly bring more fight to a Red Wings team that can use some from their forward group.

Chris Tanev, D/Dallas Stars

More physical play is something the Red Wings can afford, but so could finding more quality blueliners who are good at scoping out the puck. The experienced Chris Tanev kept 207 shot attempts from having a chance to reach his goaltender, and while the Red Wings have players who can block shots in the lineup - such as Moritz Seider - they could use another one. 

Per contest, the Red Wings landed between 16 and 17 blocks in 2023-24, but they still allowed way too many shots on net. Signing someone like Tanev to a one-year deal would further remedy that issue and ideally provide more chances for the team’s scorers if he can both block and get puck retrievals.