Trades, buyouts could help Red Wings fix surplus of forwards

DETROIT - Now that the NHL's postseason has come to an end, it's officially time to look forward to next season.

And there's not a lot of time.

The league's entry draft is this weekend in Newark, and the Red Wings could be busy.

Thanks to the emergence of young talent during the playoffs, Detroit is faced with handling an excess of forwards. In order to trim the roster down, trades may be on the horizon.

Valtteri Filppula is a free agent and seems to be the most likely candidate to go. According to MLive, the 29-year old is seeking a long-term deal worth $5 million a season. After a disappointing 2012-13 season slowed by injuries, Filppula scored nine goals and eight assists in 41 games. The Red Wings may trade his negotiating rights as contract talks are reportedly stalled.

The team could, of course, still re-sign him after the free agency period opens up, but his rights holder would exclusive ties to negotiate with him before that point.

The Red Wings have two compliance buyouts, as part of the new CBA. They can use one or both this summer. Mikael Samuelsson is the most logical choice to be cut loose, but with $3 million and one year left on his contract, the belief is that his camp may argue his pectoral muscle is not healed. Per CBA rules, injured players cannot be bought out.

Todd Bertuzzi is another player who could fit the buyout category, but his cost isn't too expensive at only $2 million. MLive's Ansar Khan said the team will not decide if it will use a buyout until Monday at the earliest.

Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist, and Grand Rapids star Tomas Tatar are all players the Red Wings would like to see in Detroit next season. Darren Helm is projected to return after missing most of the season with a back injury, and Damien Brunner and veteran Daniel Cleary are free agents the team is interested in bringing back - for the right price.

14 forwards are under contract. Cory Emmerton and Jordin Tootoo are potential trade options, with Tootoo being the most likely to be moved. After signing with the Red Wings in the offseason, Tootoo played in just one playoff game, as Mike Babcock elected to play younger talent.

Detroit has a surplus of talent up front, and that, by far is a good problem to have.

Brad Galli is a Sports Reporter for WXYZ Detroit. Follow Brad on Twitter @BradGalli

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