The Detroit Red Wings have been thin along the blue-line ever since Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski retired from professional hockey in 2011 and 2012 respectively. While Detroit has a number of promising young prospect defenders in the organizational pipeline, this is a playoff team now, and the club could use some additional help in the short- and medium-term.
Which brings us to Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler, fresh off of the worst season of his professional career. The former All-Star had the lowest plus/minus rating in the NHL this past season, and managed only 22 points in 63 games. While his results were atrocious, his on-ice shot differential was solid and the team didn't give up goals against at an appreciably higher rate when he was on the ice at even-strength when compared with past seasons.
Basically Edler's offensive luck was brutal this past year, and his low plus/minus is mostly the result of his atrophying offensive production.
According to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press, Edler's career-worst season hasn't dissuaded the Red Wings of his potential value and the club would have "considerable interest" in potentially acquiring his services if he becomes available this summer.
The Red Wings and the Canucks were reportedly engaged in trade talks involving Edler at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, but Vancouver's asking price (which included a first-round draft pick and three additional assets) proved too rich for Red Wings general manager Ken Holland. The Flyers also reportedly attempted to trade for Edler at the NHL trade deadline this past March.
Presumably Edler's cataclysmic 2013-14 campaign has caused Vancouver's new management team to re-assess his trade value. The 28-year-old defender is signed to a contract with a $5 million cap-hit for five more seasons, and could be a very intriguing buy-low option for a club like Detroit. That is, of course, if he's willing to waive his no-trade clause to play in Motown.