Postgame: Red Wings @ Devils – 3/4

Well, that was heartbreaking but not entirely unexpected.

Detroit spent the entire third period running around looking lost, aside from the power play on which they scored their third goal. It was like after Daniel Alfredsson lost his teeth, so did the Red Wings.

Some things were good on the night. Johan Franzen is playing like a man possessed. Todd Bertuzzi looked good. Brendan Smith really did make a smart play to jump up on Detroit’s second goal.

Many things weren’t good, though, and those stick out. Two goals against due to defensive miscues and another due to the ridiculously bad break of Jonathan Ericsson knocking the puck out of Jimmy Howard‘s glove. The game-winner was the only goal that wasn’t entirely set up by a Detroit failure.

In all, the bad outweighed the good. It was a pretty ugly effort and the Wings probably didn’t deserve to win.

And as I mentioned on Twitter, this marks the Red Wings’ first-ever regulation loss at Prudential Center.

Trade Deadline Thoughts: Robidas, Draft Picks, and Kesler

In the final twenty-four hours before the NHL’s trade deadline I want to talk on a couple points based on some of today’s news.

Red Wings’ general manager Ken Holland has said the team is looking to make a “hockey trade” and that they want a top-four defensemen. “Hockey trade” apparently means that they’re not looking for a rental, or that they’re not willing to give up big assets for one.

That likely means the price tag for a player like Christian Ehrhoff from Buffalo or Alexander Edler from Vancouver will be too high. Andrew MacDonald was dealt from the Islanders for a fifth rounder this year, a third next year, and a forward prospect. Stephane Robidas was different, however.

Robidas went from Dallas to Anaheim for “just” a fourth round pick. Hardly an exorbitant amount for a right-handed shot on the point and a veteran with a mean streak. The Stars say they’re not selling assets off and that Robidas was an exception, so maybe the seemingly-low price was driven by that. Maybe Robidas wanted a deal to Anaheim, for example.

If Detroit could have had him for a fourth-rounder, though, I have a hard time saying I wouldn’t make that move. It would be a rental, yes. Robidas is 37, he wouldn’t be the long-term acquisition that Holland seems to be looking for. But at that cost, I do the deal. Especially given that the kind of deal Holland says he wants looks less and less likely.

Trading draft picks is a crapshoot, especially a fourth-rounder. No pick is a sure-thing. The fourth round is early enough that you can still find some good talent but late enough that it’s not easy to do so. Recently, the Red Wings have used fourth round picks to select Andreas Athanasiou, Teemu Pulkkinen and Gustav Nyquist. I wouldn’t trade any of those players for Robidas.

Before that, though, the fourth round brought Mattias Ritola, Evan McGrath, Johan Berggren, and Miroslav Blatak. I’d dump all of them (or equivalent players) for a Robidas rental. It would appear that Holland wasn’t willing to take that chance. Or he didn’t get the option.


To jump back to Ehrhoff’s name for a minute… The word is that Buffalo wants prospects in return for him, not picks. I think that, should the Wings decide to make a move, that favors them. Holland won’t want to dump his first-rounder but the Wings have some prospects that could be deemed extraneous. I’m still not sure it’d be worth it but it depends on what Buffalo wants. Trade a defenseman for a defensive prospect or for the best player you can get? I’m not sure I’d move a Pulkkinen but what about Ryan Sproul?

I mean, I’d prefer Ehrhoff for Kyle Quincey, straight up, but we’ve gotta be a little realistic.


After missing out on (or never being in on, or whatever) Robidas, we’ve still got reports that the Red Wings are going after Vancouver forward Ryan Kesler. There was a specific Tweet I wanted to reference on that but I lost track of it.

I just can’t see how this deal makes sense for Detroit. Vancouver wants a top young center plus prospects and picks. Maybe I’m biased against Kesler, he grew up in Livonia hating the Red Wings and I see that as a character flaw, but I wouldn’t deal any of the Wings’ young roster players for him. Dump some vets for him, sure. A couple draft picks? Yeah. The Canucks aren’t going to do that, though. As I said, we’ve gotta be a little realistic.

That said, if Holland somehow swings a deal for him, I’ll probably be able to justify it to myself somehow. As I said awhile ago, a slightly-dirty player who hates the Red Wings? Fifteen years ago that was Chris Chelios and it worked out okay when he came to Detroit.

Trade Deadline Thoughts: “I Like Our Team”

At last season’s trade deadline, Detroit general manager Ken Holland somewhat-famously declared “I like our team” in explaining why there wasn’t a need to make any moves to either gear up for a playoff run or sell off assets in preparation for missing the playoffs.

I strongly disagreed at the time, thinking the Wings were certain to miss the playoffs or lose in the first round and that they should be sellers to maximize profit from it. To a large extent, I was wrong, as that team was good enough to come one win away from advancing to the Western Conference Finals. That said, a second-round loss isn’t that far off from a first-round elimination and they still lost Valtteri Filppula, Damien Brunner and (to a much lesser extent) Ian White and Carlo Colaiacovo for nothing over the summer.

This year it’s different. I won’t claim at all that the Wings should be sellers this time around, mostly because any of the assets I want them to sell come laden with no-trade clauses or were available for free on waivers and went unclaimed. Selling is not an option.

But we saw last night in New Jersey that this team is not poised to make a playoff run. Injuries have them decimated at center and, even when healthy, they have only three top-four defensemen.

This year, unfortunately, the problem is that prices seem to just be too high. By all accounts, every trade conversation Holland has starts with the other team asking for Tomas Tatar or Gustav Nyquist. And that’s just not a cost worth paying, even if it leaves the team shorthanded for the stretch run.

This year, I’m totally fine with the Red Wings standing pat rather than overpaying to fill the gaps. Sometimes cost is just too prohibitive. I just hope we don’t see any “I like our team” comments if that happens, because Holland really should be able to see these flaws.

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