Red Wings Have Other Defenseman Targets After Severson Trade

The Hockey Writers

It is not a secret that one of the Detroit Red Wings’ biggest objectives for the 2023 NHL Offseason is to add a top-four, right-shot defenseman. This has been a notable need for Detroit since they dealt Filip Hronek (for a sweet return) to the Vancouver Canucks before the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline passed. Yet, one major free agent who would have helped fix that need is already off the board, as Damon Severson has been traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets and immediately signed an eight-year, $50 million contract with the club.

Damon Severson New Jersey Devils
Damon Severson, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Although losing a possible free-agent target in Severson is not the greatest news, it is also not the end of the world for Detroit. There are still multiple other defenseman targets for the Red Wings to consider bringing in this summer. Let’s discuss a few of them now.

John Klingberg

If the Red Wings are looking for an offensive defenseman in free agency, one player who stands out is John Klingberg. The 30-year-old plays a very similar offense-first game like Hronek, so he could be, at least in theory, a decent replacement for him. In 67 regular-season games this campaign split between the Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild, he had 10 goals to go along with 33 points. Overall, it ended up being another decent year for the veteran, and the Red Wings could use that kind of production from the point.

When looking for a specific spot for Klingberg in Detroit’s lineup, it is fair to argue that he could work on their second pairing with Olli Maatta. This is because Maatta plays an extremely reliable defensive game, and it could open the door for Klingberg to take more chances offensively. With that, Klingberg would also be a clear candidate to receive plenty of time on the power play.

John Klingberg Minnesota Wild
John Klingberg, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Yet, there are also some clear risks in a potential Klingberg signing. He is entering the wrong side of 30, and his statistics have dropped off just a tad over the last few years. As a result, the only way that I could see a Klingberg signing making sense for the Red Wings is if it is a short-term deal. If the Red Wings believe that he can bounce back, it could be an avenue worth going down.

Matt Dumba

When looking at this year’s free agency class, there may not be a better right-shot defenseman than Matt Dumba. Throughout his 10-year stint with the Minnesota Wild, he proved to be a legitimate top-four defenseman because of his solid all-around play. Although his offensive numbers were a bit lower in 2022-2023 (four goals and 14 points in 79 games), he is a prime bounce-back candidate (at least offensively) heading into next season when looking at his previous statistics.

Matt Dumba Minnesota Wild
Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Dumba would have the potential to be a very strong addition to Detroit’s second pairing. Due to his steady defensive play and plenty of NHL experience, he could be a great partner for top prospect Simon Edvinsson to play with. Furthermore, unlike Klingberg, he would be an option to receive time on the club’s penalty kill. Furthermore, if he finds his scoring touch again next season, he would also work quite well on their power play.

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When noting that Dumba is still only 28 years old, he is a player who the Red Wings could sign to a long-term deal, and it would not come with too much risk. Therefore, he could be a nice addition to Detroit’s lineup if they successfully sign him in the summer.

Adam Boqvist

After acquiring Severson, the Blue Jackets have a surplus of right-shot, NHL-caliber defensemen. Heading into the 2023-24 campaign, Columbus has Severson, Erik Gudbranson, Andrew Peeke, and Adam Boqvist all under contract. Gudbranson’s expensive contract makes it likely that he will stay, so Peeke and Boqvist should be viewed as possible trade candidates. Although Peeke has the potential to be a good addition to Detroit, I believe that Boqvist would be the better fit.

Adam Boqvist Columbus Blue Jackets
Adam Boqvist, Columbus Blue Jackets (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Boqvist is still only 22 years old, and he has shown that he has the potential to be a legitimate top-four defenseman in the NHL. As a result, he is exactly the kind of player that Detroit should have on their radar this summer. Since he is effectively offensively, he also could be the perfect replacement for Hronek on the club’s second pairing and power play. In 46 games this season, the 2018 eighth-overall pick had five goals and 24 points.

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Given the fact that Boqvist is a former first-round pick with high potential, he carries a good amount of trade value. Thus, it would likely cost the Red Wings the Boston Bruins’ 2024 first-round pick that they received in the Tyler Bertuzzi trade to acquire him. Although it would be a pretty notable price to acquire Boqvist, it is worth considering when noting that he could give Detroit another long-term, top-four defenseman.

Other Free-Agent Defensemen Potentially Available

Some other right-shot defensemen who could hit the free-agent market on July 1 include Radko Gudas, Luke Schenn, Erik Johnson, Kevin Shattenkirk, Travis Hamonic, and Justin Holl. However, these are veteran defensemen who the Red Wings would likely limit to third-pairing minutes if signed.

Radko Gudas Florida Panthers
Radko Gudas, Florida Panthers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

One other free agent who could be an intriguing addition is Dmitry Orlov. Although he is a left-shot defenseman, he has proven over the years that he can handle playing the right side. However, when noting that the soon-to-be 32-year-old is looking for a multi-year contract and raise after his strong season, the Red Wings may choose to go in another direction.

Related: Red Wings’ 2023 Free-Agent Targets: Pittsburgh Penguins

It will be intriguing to see what the Red Wings decide to do from here when it comes to their defensive group. Out of the main trio listed above, Boqvist has the potential to make the biggest impact in the long term. However, adding an experienced veteran in either Dumba or Klingberg also could be beneficial. No matter the case, we should expect to see Detroit focus primarily on its right side this summer.

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