20 - James Wisniewski

Until July first, the Canadiens have exclusive bargaining rights to defenseman James Wisniewski.  After that, the gates open and, according to Fox Sports Detroit, the Red Wings will be jumping on the bidding bandwagon. 

 The Wings lost Brian Rafalski to retirement last month and Nicolas Lidstrom may go the same route.   Signing Wisniewski, who comes from the Detroit area, makes the most sense.  Fox Sports mentions that Wisniewski “should be affordable”.  I’m not so sure about that, unless people in the Red Wings front office consider 4.5 to 5-million dollars “affordable”. 

From today’s FS Detroit

Expect the Wings to go after UFA and Michigan native James Wisniewski. He’s a right-handed shot (which Detroit desperately needs), only 27 years-old, has a mean streak, offensive skill (51 points last season) and he should be affordable.

With Wisniewski on the roster, or whomever else they sign as Rafalski’s replacement, the Wings should sign Niklas Kronwall to a contract extension.  Kronwall will be an UFA at the end of next season. Take some of Rafalski’s money and tie up Kronwall long term — now.