During the off-season rumors fly as to who a team is looking to acquire, or who a team is looking to trade. Currently one slowly circulating the rumor mill would be the Detroit Red Wings being interested in Florida Panthers defenseman Keaton Ellerby. It’s no secret that during free agency the Red Wings focused Ryan Suter to replace future Hall of Famer Nik Lidstrom, but once he signed with the Minnesota Wild the Red Wings needed to shift their attention elsewhere. With Shea Weber being locked up with the Nashville Predators for at least another season Detroit is still searching for someone to fill their needs on defense.
Apparently Keaton Ellerby is possibly what they’ve been searching for and could easily fill in at the very least on the second pairing. Florida currently has an abundance of defenseman signed and still has RFA Dmitry Kulikov to sign as well, so could definitely spare the young defenseman to a team where he would get more ice time. There’s nothing set in stone, especially not until either team announces it themselves or the trade is done, but it’s been said Detroit was attempting to “low ball” Florida in a deal to bring the blueliner to Michigan. That could mean a mid round draft pick in exchange for the former 10th overall pick, or potentially depth for Florida’s AHL affiliate who lost several key names to free agency.
Ellerby has yet to play in more than one full season in the NHL, and is on a one year, one-way deal he signed this off-season. If given the right ice time and with Detroits system that’s been known to work, Ellerby could develop into a good top 4 defenseman with offensive upside. The Panthers should look towards depth in the AHL and potentially a pick as well if Detroit doesn’t want to trade any of their roster. They also have a nice prospect who ranks 6th on their prospect list named Tomas Jurco, who is a linemate of Panthers top Prospect Jonathan Huberdeau in the QMJHL. Florida had the chance to draft Jurco in 2011, and this could be a good chance to get the young wing. Jurco for Ellerby sounds reasonable, potentially needing a few tweaks, maybe a conditional draft pick.