Daley is likeliest option for Red Wings defense
Detroit — When unrestricted free agency opens Saturday in the NHL it may not take long for the Red Wings to get their (defense)man.
All signs are pointing to the Red Wings angling to Trevor Daley, who was on Pittsburgh’s last two Stanley Cup teams.
If not Daley, then perhaps his teammate Ron Hainsey. Brian Campbell (Chicago) and Dan Girardi (Tampa Bay) are other options on a free-agent market that could be done pretty quickly if rumors are true.
Daley, who’ll turn 34 a few days into the season, had five goals and 14 assists in 56 games with a plus-7 plus-minus rating in Pittsburgh last season.
Daley had arthroscopic knee surgery during the season, missing a month, and was recovering from a broken ankle suffered in the 2016 playoffs.
This spring, Daley was one of the Penguins’ most consistent defensemen, with one goal and four assists in 21 games, and a plus-7 plus-minus rating.
Daley would fill a desperate need for the Red Wings — a mobile defenseman who can skate with the puck, make a strong first pass, and a veteran presence on the blue line.
The down side is Daley is prone to struggling defensively when he’s hemmed in, and at 5-foot-11, 195-pounds, bigger forwards can give him problems — and he’s been injury-prone the last two seasons.
Daley just finished a 6-year contract (salary cap average of $3.3 million per) which he signed with Dallas.
It’s believed the Red Wings and Boston are Daley’s preferred options at this point, with a third team possibly still lingering.
A key question will be the term and salary going toward Daley, with the Red Wings largely hamstrung by the salary cap.
Girardi was also a Red Wings target on a 1-year deal, but he’s likely headed to Tampa to play with former New York Rangers teammate Ryan Callahan.
Hainsey and Campbell are mobile, offensive defenseman who could also strengthen the power play.