Trade Deadline Thoughts: Offense vs. Defense

I’ve already written my thoughts on the Red Wings’ trade for David Legwand so I won’t go into that right now, but Bill Roose has a piece about today’s transaction that piqued my interest. Specifically, the opening paragraph:

Late Tuesday night, general manager Ken Holland scrapped his original plans to enhance the Red Wings’ defense as the league’s Wednesday trade deadline approached.

I wrote earlier (and was a little more outspoken about it throughout the day via Twitter) that I thought defense should be Detroit’s first priority. Specifically, I was concerned that the current Red Wings lineup has only three real top-four defenseman, with the fourth spot taken by whoever happens to pair up with the odd-man-out of Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson and Danny DeKeyser. By paycheck that really should be Kyle Quincey but, while he’s been better of late, he hasn’t really seized that role.

It’s great to see that the Wings’ brass thought a defensive upgrade was the top priority, too. It’s also understandable that, upon learning of Darren Helm‘s injury, the team would decide to add some depth at center. Those were clearly the holes in the lineup heading into the NHL’s trade deadline.

What’s shocking to me is that the team considered it a “one or the other” situation, and that they chose to fill the gap at center over the one on defense; that fixing both issues was not an option.

By adding Legwand, the team has partially addressed their needs at center. Legwand, at this point in his career a second- or third-line center, will center the top line until Pavel Datsyuk returns from injury. Rookie Riley Sheahan will take the second line while rookie Joakim Andersson has the third and rookie (sensing a theme here?) Luke Glendening has the fourth line. It’s a band-aid but it prevents the team from having to shift Johan Franzen or Justin Abdelkader to center or use Cory Emmerton.

But they still have a big hole on defense. In adding the band-aid up front, they neglected the problem they had in the first place. Is it worth fixing the forward issue if you don’t resolve the problem on defense?

For me, the mid-term repercussions are the damning ones. If you accept that the team was going to have to – and is able to – make the playoffs with either a weakness at center or on defense, then you’ve also got to assume that the Red Wings will be playing in the postseason with a healthier lineup. Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg will be back, as will Helm and Stephen Weiss. Suddenly Legwand is your third- or fourth-line center… And you’re still missing a number four defenseman because no amount of return from injury is going to make one of those appear on this lineup.

Trade Deadline Thoughts: Snap Judgement

Okay, the Red Wings’ only move of the deadline was to acquire David Legwand for Patrick Eaves, a conditional third-round draft pick (it becomes a second-rounder if the Wings make the playoffs), and Calle Jarnkrok. I’ve been ranting on Twitter but I’m going to put it all in one place here.

I wouldn’t have traded Jarnkrok for Legwand straight-up. I hate this deal.

As I said earlier, I can justify a deal. I don’t like losing a guy like Patrick Eaves but he’s expendable and the Preds were going to ask for a roster player back, so it’s not a big loss. He’s also an unrestricted free agent this summer so he was gone anyway. The third-rounder is what I would expect to deal. I really don’t like that it’s conditional but that’s not too bad. Jarnkrok… TSN is reporting that he’s considering returning to Sweden this summer so the Wings might have lost him anyway.

In that optimistic view, it’s a second-rounder to rent Legwand and that’s not too bad. Especially if maybe Legwand re-signs with Detroit, his hometown team, this summer.

I don’t think that’s the case, though.

First off, even with injuries to Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm, forward was not Detroit’s biggest problem. Eventually they’ll get healthy up front. No amount of returning from injury will help their defense and they did nothing to augment it.

Secondly, I think you have to look at things in relation to other trades. The Montreal Canadiens acquired Thomas Vanek today for a second-rounder and a prospect. The Wings essentially spent more to get Legwand.

Third, if Detroit is healthy next season, as should be expected right now, they don’t need Legwand so re-signing him becomes unnecessary.

So best-case it’s a second rounder and two players the Wings would have lost anyway, who weren’t going to help them much this season. Worst-case, it’s a second-rounder and the fourth-best prospect in the Detroit organization (Eaves is a wash either way).

I dislike the deal. I think it has the potential to be the worst Ken Holland has made. But if things work out perfectly, I can justify it.

Red Wings Acquire Center Legwand at Trade Deadline

Detroit Red Wings have acquired center David Legwand in a trade deadline day deal from the Nashville Predators, the team announced on Wednesday..

Legwand was Nashville’s first-ever draft pick, selected second overall in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, behind Vincent Lecavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightning. In 894 career games with the team, he had 200 goals and 326 assists.

A native of Detroit, Legwand played junior hockey for the Ontario Hockey League’s Plymouth Whalers.

To acquire Legwand, the Red Wings gave up forward Patrick Eaves, a conditional third-round draft pick that would become a second-rounder if Detroit makes the playoffs this season, and prospect Calle Jarnkrok, who was the Grand Rapids Griffins’ third-leading scorer in his first season in North America.

NHLPA Charity Game Rosters Announced

Per the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff, rosters for Saturday’s “Rock Out the Lockout” NHLPA charity game in Windsor have been announced.

Team Red
Justin Abdelkader, #8 (Detroit Red Wings)
David Clarkson, #23 (New Jersey Devils)
Johan Franzen, #93 (Detroit Red Wings)
David Legwand, #11 (Nashville Predators)
Jamal Mayers, #22 (Chicago Blackhawks)
Steve Ott, #29 (Buffalo Sabres)
Mikael Samuelsson, #37 (Detroit Red Wings)
Drew Stafford, #21 (Buffalo Sabres)
Thomas Vanek, #26 (Buffalo Sabres)
Kyle Wellwood, #13 (Winnipeg Jets)
Kevin Westgarth, #19 (Los Angeles Kings)

Jonathan Ericsson, #52 (Detroit Red Wings)
Niklas Kronwall, #55 (Detroit Red Wings)
Jordan Leopold, #3 (Buffalo Sabres)
Nick Schultz, #55 (Edmonton Oilers)
James Wisniewski, #21 (Columbus Blue Jackets)

Jonas Gustavsson, #50 (Detroit Red Wings)
Michael Leighton, #49 (Philadelphia Flyers)

Team Black
Todd Bertuzzi, #44 (Detroit Red Wings)
Adam Burish, #37 (San Jose Sharks)
Dan Cleary, #11 (Detroit Red Wings)
Matt Ellis, #37 (Buffalo Sabres)
Cory Emmerton, #48 (Detroit Red Wings)
Darren Helm, #43 (Detroit Red Wings)
Shawn Horcoff, #10 (Edmonton Oilers)
Matt Martin, #17 (New York Islanders)
Brenden Morrow, #10 (Dallas Stars)
James Neal, #18 (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Sergei Samsonov, #14

Trevor Daley, #6 (Dallas Stars)
Mike Komisarek, #8 (Toronto Maple Leafs)
John-Michael Liles, #24 (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Jeff Petry, #58 (Edmonton Oilers)
Ian White, #18 (Detroit Red Wings)
Ryan Wilson, #44 (Colorado Avalanche)

Jimmy Howard, #35 (Detroit Red Wings)

All players will be available for a free autograph session in the WFCU Centre concourse from 4:45 – 5:30 PM. The game is scheduled to begin at 6:30 PM.

Update, 12/8 – 10:10 AM: Event co-organizer Steve Ott tweeted a full roster including jersey numbers this morning. There will be overlapping numbers in some cases. On Team Red, Drew Stafford and James Wisniewski will wear #21 while Niklas Kronwall and Nick Schultz will wear #55. For Team Black, Todd Bertuzzi and Ryan Wilson will both wear #44, Shawn Horcoff and Brendon Morrow will both wear #10, and James Neal and Ian White will both wear #18.

Red Wings Eliminated with Loss to Predators

The Detroit Red Wings were eliminated from the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Friday night with a 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators.

The loss in Game Five of the first-round matchup between the teams is the earliest exit for the Red Wings since 2003, when they were swept in the opening round by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

Nashville’s game-winning goal came just 13 seconds into the third period. The Red Wings won the period’s opening faceoff but Brad Stuart‘s attempted pass into the neutral zone became a turnover, with Alexander Radulov gaining the Detroit zone and working the puck to Gabriel Bourque. The Detroit defense collapsed on Bourque and blocked his attempted shot but the puck came right to the trailing David Legwand, who snapped a shot past Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard to make it 2-1.

The Red Wings would be unable to even things up, barely sustaining any pressure in the Nashville zone for the remainder of the game.

The Predators had opened the game’s scoring with 3:50 left in the first period. Legwand picked off Kyle Quincey‘s attempted pass to Jonathan Ericsson along the boards behind the Detroit net and sent the puck out to Radulov all alone in front of the goal for a shot past Howard.

Jiri Hudler tied things back up with 6:15 left in the second period, poking the puck under Nashville netminder after Valtteri Filppula threw it to the net.

Rinne finished the night with 21 saves on 22 shots against. Howard made 23 saves on 25 shots.

Neither team scored a power play goal. The Red Wings had two tries with the extra attacker and the Predators had three.

The series was the first of the season to end.

Red Wings Face Elimination After Game Four Loss to Predators

The Detroit Red Wings are one loss from elimination from the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs after dropping Game Four of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series with the Nashville Predators, 3-1.

The Predators now lead the series 3-1 as it heads back to Nashville for Game Five.

The Red Wings dominated the scoreless first two periods of the game, carrying a 28-11 shooting advantage into the third. It would be Nashville, however, that opened the game’s scoring.

Just 1:55 into the period, Gabriel Bourque was left along in front of Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard to take a feed from Alexander Radulov and snap a shot into the back of the net. The goal came shortly after the Predators thought they had made it 1-0 but an apparent goal was called off on an “intent to blow” play.

The Red Wings would even things up at 3:14. Niklas Kronwall‘s rocket from the blue line was tipped in front of the net by Jiri Hudler, with the deflection rising over Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne for a power play goal.

At 6:25, the Predators regained the lead when three Red Wings followed Martin Erat into the corner and Howard shifted right to track the play. This left Patrick Holmqvist and Kevin Klein wide open in front, and Erat fed Klein for an easy shot into the vacated net.

The Predators finished off the scoring with 39 seconds left in regulation. With Nashville on a power play, Danny Cleary attempted to carry the puck out from behind his own goal and start a rush. At the side of the crease, David Legwand poked the puck off his stick and it slipped through Howard, ending Detroit’s chance at a comeback.

Each team had a power play goal on the night, with the Red Wings having seven power plays to Nashville’s three.

Howard made 14 saves on 17 shots against while Rinne stopped 40 of 41 chances.

Game Five of the series will be on Friday.

Postgame: Predators @ Red Wings – Game 4 – 4/17

Ahh, where to begin after this one?

I’m not sure if we can call it the good, since it didn’t lead to anything, but we’ll start with the first two periods where the Red Wings were dominating the Predators. It was fantastic to see Detroit playing their game and felt like it was just a matter of time before they got a goal playing the way they were.

But at the same time, you kind of had the feeling they wouldn’t be able to keep it up. That either they’d make a mistake or Nashville would wake up. Or the calls that they were suddenly getting would stop coming.

Right off the bat, they needed one of those calls in the third. From the side of the net, the puck somehow trickles in off of Jimmy Howard. He really should have had it, I’m not even sure how it got through him right now, but the Wings actually benefit from an “intent to blow” play and the goal doesn’t count.

Rather than come out jumping after that bit of luck, the Wings were completely back on their heels, then they left Gabriel Bourque wide open in front of the net to take a feed that bounced off a skate on its way to him and put it past Howard.

The Red Wings finally converted on a power play to tie things up. We’re back to the good here, as it was a fantastic shot from the blue line by Niklas Kronwall nicely tipped in front by Jiri Hudler.

And just as quickly, we’re back to the awful. Nashville’s second goal was just a disgraceful effort by Detroit. Martin Erat takes the puck into the corner and three Red Wings follow him there, with Jimmy Howard also over-committing in that direction, leaving both Patrick Hornqvist and Kevin Klein wide open. Erat fed Klein for a shot into the open net.

Nashville’s third goal? Another WTF moment. Danny Cleary carries the puck up from behind the net but David Legwand pokes it away at the edge of the crease and it just goes through Howard, who never reacts to it. Cleary has to protect the puck there but Howard didn’t even look awake. Maybe he was thinking ahead to getting out of the net as Cleary cleared the zone. Whatever the reason, it was an awful mental mistake.

So now Detroit is a game from elimination, having lost both games at home after having the league’s best home record all year. I do think this team can come back and win this series but I don’t think they’re going to. The Predators have been too good and the Wings have been unable to sort out their own problems. That said, I thought that against San Jose last year and Detroit made a hell of a series out of it.

Red Wings’ Winning Streak Ends in Nashville

The Detroit Red Wings’ winning streak ended at four games Saturday night as they dropped a 3-1 decision to the Nashville Predators. The win clinched Nashville’s victory in the season series between the two teams.

The Predators scored three consecutive goals to pick up the win after Detroit took a 1-0 lead in the first period.

Blake Geoffrion tipped a Patric Hornqvist pass past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard from inside the crease at 8:42 of the second period to get Nashville on the board.

At 8:12 of the third period, Jonathan Ericsson blocked a Hornqvist shot but the puck bounced right to Jonathon Blum, who beat Howard for a power play goal and a 2-1 lead.

David Legwand added an empty net goal in the game’s final moments.

Detroit’s lone goal came with 22 seconds remaining in the first, when Danny Cleary tipped a pass from Henrik Zetterberg past Pekka Rinne, a power play goal.

The Red Wings thought they had opened the game’s scoring on a previous power play when Niklas Kronwall fired a shot past Rinne but it was called back for goaltender interference on Tomas Holmstrom.

Detroit went one-for-three on the power play while Nashville scored on one of two chances.

Howard stopped 36 of 38 shots against on the night. Rinne made 39 saves on 40 shots.


Detroit was without Pavel Datsyuk (lower body injury), Johan Franzen (unspecified injury), Jiri Hudler (flu) and Ruslan Salei (family leave). Due to the scratches, they played with only eleven forwards, seventeen skaters total.

Bertuzzi the Hero Again as Red Wings Down Predators in OT

Detroit forward Todd Bertuzzi scored an overtime game-winning goal for the second time in as many nights on Saturday, beating Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne to give the Red Wings a 3-2 win.

On Friday night Bertuzzi scored on Anaheim’s Jean-Sebastien Giguere as the Wings won by the same score. In both games it was his second goal of the night.

Just 24 seconds into the extra period, Pavel Datsyuk broke up Nashville’s entry into the Detroit zone and sent Bertuzzi on a break. Bertuzzi stayed ahead of two Predators defenders and faked out Rinne, sliding the puck into an open net.

Bertuzzi had opened the game’s scoring 1:21 into the second period with a backhand spin-o-rama move in the left faceoff circle.

Drew Miller put the Red Wings up by a pair, knocking the rebound of a Datsyuk chance out of mid-air with 8:23 left in the second.

Ryan Jones deflected a Steve Sullivan shot past Detroit goalie Chris Osgood on a Nashville power play with 5:16 left in the period, getting the Predators on the board and ending the Wings’ streak of successful penalty kills at 27.

David Legwand tied the game 4:45 into the third period, snapping a shot from the bottom of the right faceoff circle past Osgood on a broken play.

Each team had four tries with the power play. Detroit was held scoreless while Nashville had one goal.

Osgood made 33 saves on 35 shots to earn his first win in over five weeks. Rinne made 26 saves on 29 chances.

Red Wings – Predators Pregame Notes

The Red Wings look to bounce back from their downright-pitiful performance against the New York Islanders on Friday night as they host the Nashville Predators this afternoon. The game is on FSN+, for those confused about finding the Pistons on FSN.

Detroit will be without Brian Rafalski, a late scratch. Nashville will not have captain Jason Arnott or Detroit-area native David Legwand available for the game.

Chris Osgood gets the start in net for the Red Wings.

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