More speculation on how the Red Wings could replace Brian Rafalski, plus find out which Sharks pending UFAs hope to return.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Adam Proteau believes the Detroit Red Wings don’t need a big-money defenseman to replace the retired Brian Rafalski, suggesting instead the Wings shore up their backup goaltending and their bottom two forward lines.

DETROIT NEWS: Bob Wojnowski cautions Wings management to invest their available cap space wisely, but believes GM Ken Holland will make the right decision, noting Holland said this summer’s market isn’t a strong one for top defenseman but added he’s only seeking one player, but if the right one isn’t available he’ll consider an alternate plan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Proteau makes a good point, but shoring up the backup goaltending and checking lines would be considerably more affordable to address. Still, the Wings don’t necessarily have to blow the works on just one defenseman, as they could get two pretty good ones with upside for $6 million. That being said, if Kevin Bieksa, Christian Ehrhoff or Andrei Markov become available, I have to believe Holland will have serious interest in them.

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: Mark Emmons reports pending UFA defenseman Ian White, whom the Sharks acquired in a late-season trade, would prefer to re-sign with the Sharks. David Pollak meanwhile reported UFA center Scott Nichol also hopes to return. Forward Dany Heatley meanwhile promised to rebound next season, and Pollak believes Heatley would be tough to move if management were to consider trading him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wilson won’t shop Heatley, and considering the winger was hampered by a broken hand during the season, a high ankle sprain in the playoffs, plus may not have fully recovered earlier in the season from off-season groin surgery, it may be premature to suggest Heatley, at only age 30, is past his prime. White’s performance in the post-season could earn him a new contract, but Nichol could be amongst those the Sharks pass on re-signing.