The NHL is closing in on it’s spring-time shopping event, with the trade deadline looming in a matter of days. As intriguing as it might be to tinker up front, the Detroit Red Wings’ biggest need is to bolster their back end.

Searching for a veteran defenseman this time of year is a nearly-league wide competition, because every team in the playoff hunt wants more depth in that area. The Wings have a solid core in Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson and young Danny DeKeyser, but would be well served in the top four by someone more experienced than Kyle Quincey or Brendan Smith.

As Wednesday’s 3 p.m. buzzer nears, there’s been a great deal of focus on Livonia’s Ryan Kesler. He’d be an excellent second-line center behind Pavel Datsyuk — but at what price? Kesler, 29, is Vancouver’s third-best player. For Detroit to get him, it’d likely cost Justin Abdelkader, either one of Gustav Nyquist/Tomas Tatar/Tomas Jurco, and either a first-round pick or a high-end prospect like Ryan Sproul, Calle Jarnkrok or Teemu Pulkkinen. Weigh that price against Kesler, whose history includes the 2011 Selke Trophy but also significant time missed because of various injuries.