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August 21, 2012 | 10:32am ET
Should the Red Wings trade Filppula?

The Red Wings may be still looking to bolster their blueline for the upcoming season, and the Detroit Free Press has explored the possibility of trading forward Valtteri Filppula, who is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

While Filppula, 28, is an all-around good forward, playing significant minutes on the powerplay and penalty kill, his age and skill make him a potential trade asset that the Wings could use to upgrade their lineup.

Filppula has often been often mentioned this summer as potential trade bait for either Calgary Flames rearguard Jay Bouwmeester or Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle, but dealing him would weaken the Wings' offensive depth.

Heading into the last year of his five-year, $15 million contract, Filppula finally erupted up front last season, moving from the center to the wing, and posting 23 goals and 43 assists for 66 points in 81 games.

Filppula has become far more dangerous offensively, shooting the puck more often which could have him record another breakthrough season for 2012-13. The veteran forward could therefore cash in on a hefty raise and could be interested in testing the open market as a first time unrestricted free agent.

However, the Wings might lock him up seeing that 34-year-old star player Pavel Datsyuk only has two years remaining on his current deal. The team could look to keep Filppula as a valuable second-line center.

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