COMMENTARY| New Jersey Devils star winger Zach Parise and Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter are two targets that the Detroit Red Wings should go after during free agency.
Parise is coming off a six-game Stanley Cup series loss to the Los Angeles Kings, while Suter's Predators downed the Red Wings in the first round. Parise might be a hard draw. It'd be hard to walk away from a team that fought so valiantly against the Kings after being down 3-0. His emotions could keep him in New Jersey; then again, he could opt to leave.
Suter is planning to explore the market, according to reports. One report says Detroit is the leading contender in the race for Suter, who isn't interested in playing in the Eastern Conference, according to a source.
Detroit has about $26 million in cap space heading into next season, plenty of money to chase down Suter and Parise.
Suter is one of the best young defensemen in the NHL. The 27-year-old is also smart, evidenced by his relatively low penalty minute totals each season. He's a great set-up guy who finished with 39 assists, along with seven goals, in the 2011-12 regular season.
"Unless something changes in the near future, he's going to take a peek at July 1," Predators GM David Poile told the Tennessean. "We're going to be in consistent contact with him, and I'm certainly hoping, as he said to me a week ago, that he's not going to make a sudden decision … and we're going to have some conversations after he has talked to these different teams."
Strengthening the blue line should be the Red Wings' top priority. They just lost Nicklas Lidstrom to retirement. The seven-time Norris Trophy winner left as one of the team's franchise greats, and as one of the NHL's best blue-liners -- if not the best.
Red Wings general manger Ken Holland has said, according to information passed along on local sports radio talk shows, that the team will be aggressive during the free-agency period. If the team is to get back into Stanley Cup-contention mode, it will have to make a splash over the summer, landing Suter and/or Parise. However, Suter should be the top priority.
Adam Biggers has followed the NHL for over 20 years, specifically the Detroit Red Wings. He can be found on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.