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Sacrificing Valtteri Filppula for Detroit Red Wings defensive help

Greg Wyshynski
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Detroit Red Wings forward Valtteri Filppula has David Krejci disease.

He's an offensively gifted player, a No. 2 center on any team in the National Hockey League not named Pittsburgh and yet perpetually hoisted on the trading block for the right deal.

He might have been part of that "hell of an offer" from Detroit for Rick Nash. He's been mentioned as a cornerstone in a deal to land Jay Bouwmeester from the Calgary Flames, although the rumored package was an absurd overpayment for a player with that contract and pedigree.

But Bouwmeester is, at the end of the day, a premium NHL defenseman, which the Red Wings suddenly have in short order on their blueline with the departure of Brad Stuart and the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom. So is Keith Yandle of the Phoenix Coyotes, whose availability seems to ebb and flow depending on how the ownership situation plays out.

To get one of those players, the Wings might have to sacrifice Filppula, who is only 28 and coming off his best offensive season on the NHL (66 points in 81 games).

Should they move him?

Helene St. James of the Freep thinks not:

Filppula's age and talent make him a prime-rate trade asset, but the Wings have to consider that Pavel Datsyuk, 34, has just two years left on his deal, and they don't know whether he'll want to stay or go back to Russia. Filppula isn't at Datsyuk's level (few are), but he's in the tier right behind and would make an excellent second-line center. Filppula stands to cash in with his new contract, which will be his first as an unrestricted free agent, but he has earned it with his versatility.

Ditto Lyle Richardson:

I believe moving him for a defenseman would create another problem, as dealing him would weaken their offensive depth. It remains to be seen what the Wings do, but I'm guessing they don't want to move Filppula.

Here's where I move Valtteri Filppula: To Glendale, for Keith Yandle.

He's a 25-year-old franchise defenseman signed through 2016 who can pop 60 points in a season. Filppula goes UFA next summer, and if he follows last season's breakout with another impressive offensive year, then you're committing first-line money to a second-line center (in theory).

I agree with "Spector": Trading Filppula might create a new hole in filling another one. But Yandle's worth it, and the Wings would still have upwards of $11 million under the cap to find another center.

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