With the NHL’s All-Star Break over, we’re fully into trade deadline season, and the biggest chip the Red Wings have to cash in is defenseman Mike Green.
We knew that would be the case coming into the season. As much as the team itself said otherwise, they weren’t expected to compete for a playoff spot. As such, their pending free agents – most notably Green – would be available come February. And as much as the team continues to say they’re going to try to make a push, they’re in exactly the spot we expected.
Early in the season we heard a lot about possible destinations for Green. Toronto and Pittsburgh and Edmonton and Tampa. Vegas jumped onto the list as it became clear that they weren’t fading.
But with every look at the possibility of trading Green, more disclaimers were added. Suddenly there were concerns about being too expensive. About being one-dimensional. About teams not having room for someone who plays his role.
It reminds me of the lead up to trading Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers for a third-round draft pick and minor-leaguer Dylan McIlrath last season.
Vanek was expected to fetch the most leading up to Detroit’s sale at the trade deadline. According to some reports, a first-rounder wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. Multiple teams were interested. Then, as the clock ticked down, it came down to just the Los Angeles Kings and the Panthers, with the Kings bowing out and going with Jarome Iginla instead. Vanek went to Florida, with the Panthers failing to make the playoffs anyway.
Immediately, we heard talk about how Vanek was too one-dimensional. He was only successful when playing sheltered minutes. That a third-round pick was actually a great return for him. None of this was stated in the lead up to the deadline but once the deal was made they were presented as irrefutable facts.
Now come back to Green. He’s the Red Wings’ top trade piece. He’s also a power play specialist. He’s a bottom-pair defenseman on a good team. He’s unreliable in his own zone. He’s expensive, even with Detroit retaining salary.
I’m not saying it will happen, but I could see Green’s value in trade being less than many fans would hope. We saw it with Vanek and it may be the case again.