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.

Red Wings Wrap Up North American Exhibitions, Set Lineup for Sweden

The Detroit Red Wings finished off their North American exhibition schedule Sunday night with a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in a game that saw both teams rest many of their star players.

Detroit was without Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Chris Osgood, Dan Cleary, Valtteri Filppula, Brad Stuart, Todd Bertuzzi and Niklas Kronwall. Pittsburgh sat Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar.

Pascal Dupuis scored the lone goal for the Penguins while Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk, Jason Williams and Ville Leino all scored for Detroit. Jimmy Howard stopped 25 shots on the night, including a Jordan Staal penalty shot.

After the game the Red Wings made their final preseason roster cuts. Johan Ryno, Mattias Ritola, Andy Delmore, Francis Pare, Logan Pyett, Jakub Kindl and Evan McGrath were all assigned to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins. Brad May was released from his pro tryout but he is expected to join the Griffins. Earlier in the day the Wings had assigned Jeremy Williams, Doug Janik, Thomas McCollum, Kris Newbery and Jan Mursak to the Griffins.

The Red Wings now head to Sweden, where they will open up the regular season with a pair of games against the St. Louis Blues at Stockholm’s Globe Arena.

On Wednesday Detroit will play their final exhibition game of the season in Karlstad against Farjestads BK.

Red Wings Fall to Oilers in Shootout

A goal by Raffi Torres in the seventh round of the shootout lifted the Edmonton Oilers over the Detroit Red Wings Saturday night, just one night after the Red Wings fell to the Calgary Flames.

Edmonton had a late 3-2 lead but Jiri Hudler tied the game with just over three seconds remaining in regulation, deflecting a shot from the right circle by Dan Cleary past Edmonton goalie Dwayne Roloson.

The Red Wings never led the game, with Shawn Horcoff opening the scoring for Edmonton at 4:38 of the first period beating Detroit netminder Joey MacDonald on a one-timer from Ryan Smythe.

Kris Draper tied the game 2:50 later on a shorthanded 2-on-1 with Henrik Zetterberg, putting a shot into Roloson’s glove which was – after lengthy review – determined to have crossed the goal line.

Joffrey Lupul put the Oilers back out in front 3:18 later, bouncing a shot from behind the goal line off of MacDonald’s pad and into the net.

Danny Markov‘s first goal as a Red Wing pulled Detroit even again at 5:11 of the second period but Torres snuck a shot past MacDonald at 8:52 of the third to restore Edmonton’s lead.

In his first NHL start, MacDonald stopped 18 of Edmonton’s 21 shots. Roloson made 38 saves on 41 shots.

Neither team scored on the power play, with Detroit getting two tries and Edmonton taking three attempts with the extra attacker.

Having closed out their road swing through western Canada, the Red Wings will return to the ice on Wednesday when they host the Vancouver Canucks.


Jason Williams made his return to the lineup after missing three games with a concussion. Darryl Bootland and Evan McGrath were returned to Grand Rapids to make room in the lineup… Continuing the effort to keep Dominik Hasek from playing on back-to-back nights and with Chris Osgood still injured, Stefan Liv backed up MacDonald.

Red Wings’ Streak Ends with Loss to Flames

The Detroit Red Wings failed to set a new franchise record for consecutive wins Friday night, falling to the Calgary Flames, 4-1.

Had the Red Wings won, it would have been their tenth victory in a row, a feat unmatched in the team’s history. They have won nine-straight games six times, including once last season.

Calgary’s power play led the way, with three of the Flames’ four goals coming with the extra attacker.

Kristian Husilius and Matthew Lombardi notched first-period power play goals to put Calgary on the board. Dion Phaneuf added another in the third period after an even-strength tally by Daymond Langkow in the middle frame.

Dan Cleary scored Detroit’s only goal of the game with 41 seconds remaining in the third. It was a power play goal.

While their winning streak was snapped, Cleary’s goal allowed the Red Wings to avoid being shut out, extending a streak of games in which they scored at least one goal that goes back to 2004.

The Red Wings will look to rebound on Saturday in Edmonton. With Chris Osgood injured, rookie goaltender Joey MacDonald could get his first career NHL start.


Prior to the game, the Red Wings retroactively placed Tomas Holmstrom, Niklas Kronwall, and Chris Osgood on the injured reserve list. Darryl Bootland, Evan McGrath and Stefan Liv were called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins to take their roster spots.

Wings Focus on Forwards at Entry Draft

Centers and wings made up six of the Detroit Red Wings’ eight selections at the NHL Entry Draft this weekend. Detroit also selected two defensemen and no goalies after picking University of Maine standout goaltender Jimmy Howard with their first pick in last year’s draft.

The Red Wings’ first selection came with the second-to-last pick of the first day of the draft, 97th overall at the end of the third round. Detroit selected 24-year-old center Johan Franzen of Linkoping in the Swedish Elite League. The 6-foot-2, 207 pound role player could contribute for the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit’s AHL affiliate, immediately and earn a roster spot with the Red Wings later.

In the fourth round, the Red Wings picked 18-year-old center Evan McGrath from Kitchener of the Ontario Hockey League. The 6-foot, 181-pounder has all the tools to be a star in the NHL but didn’t put up the numbers expected of him last season in Kitchener. The Wings hope he will get back on track in the OHL next season.

Siarhei Kolasau was the Wings’ first defensive selection, made in the fifth round with the 151st overall pick. At 6-foot-4 and 187 pounds, he is a punishing blueliner in the mold of former Red Wing Vladimir Konstantinov. Unfortunately, the 18-year-old’s game is still undeveloped and he needs to spend more time in Europe before the Red Wings will bring him to North America.

Smallish center Tyler Haskins of the OHL’s St. Michaels Majors was Detroit’s second pick of the fifth round at 162nd overall. The 18-year-old has everything but size, at 6-foot-1 and only 177 pounds, he will need to bulk up if he hopes to put his skills to use.

Role players Anton Axelsson and Steven Covington were selected in the fifth and sixth rounds, respectively. Both have shown an inability to finish that left them overlooked through the early rounds of the draft. If they can bulk up in the next several years, they may get a shot at making the AHL or the NHL.

The Red Wings’ selected Gennady Stolyarov in the eighth round at 257th overall. The 17-year-old is projected to be a long-term project for the Red Wings. He has decent offensive skills and at 6-foot-4, 187 pounds, he has some size, but how he matures will determine how far he goes in the Detroit organization.

Detroit’s final pick in the draft, 290th overall in the ninth round, was long-shot defenseman Nils Backstrom. Backstrom celebrates his 18th birthday this week and has plenty of time to develop but only time will tell what chance he has of ever coming to North America from Europe.