DETROIT - The Red Wings have not made it a secret this season: they are in need of a top-four defenseman.
According to a report from ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, Detroit had its chance on Monday, but bailed late in the process.
Jay Bouwmeester was traded from the Calgary Flames to the St. Louis Blues for a first-round pick and two prospects: defenseman Mark Cundari and goaltender Reto Berra.
LeBrun says the Red Wings were involved in the talks to acquire Bouwmeester, but didn't want to part with a first round pick in advance of Wednesday's trade deadline.
The report speculates Detroit's offer was a second round pick and two prospects.
Last season at the trade deadline, the Red Wings acquired Kyle Quincey for a first rounder. He was officially acquired from Tampa Bay after the Lightning acquired Quincey from Colorado earlier in the day.
Quincey has one goal and one assist in 26 games this year, and has a plus-8 rating. In 33 games with Calgary, Bouwmeester registered six goals and nine assists with a minus-11 rating.
Bouwmeester has not missed a game in the last seven seasons. In his nine seasons, he has played all 82 games in eight years. His 611 consecutive games played is the best in the league.
His production has dropped off in recent years, and he is owed an annual cap hit of $6.68 million through to the end of next season. Add in the realization that the Red Wings pick may be higher in the first round than it has been in decades.
Those factors clearly played a role in Holland's weariness to part with a first round pick, but there is no denying Bouwmeester is a talent and would have immediately helped Detroit's back end.
Acquiring Quincey last season was a late addition to what was then a strong defensive unit with Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart. Bouwmeester is expensive, but few would argue he is far and away a better, more consistent defenseman than Quincey.
Alas, he is headed to the Blues for a high price, and Detroit is still looking for a top-four defenseman.