Red Wings’ general manager Ken Holland is on the record stating that he’s looking to trade for talent, not depth as the NHL trade deadline approaches.
I agree with that strategy. This team already has tons of depth, to the point that they’ve been pushing bottom-six forwards into the top six all season. They just gave away Kent Huskins essentially for free because they were able to sign Danny DeKeyser and also get Carlo Colaiacovo and Kyle Quincey back from injury (though Quincey isn’t due back until later this week).
Depth isn’t going to help this team. Talent is, and a move to acquire it is admirable.
If talent isn’t available, however, standing pat should not be an option for Holland. He has to switch gears and become a seller.
As assembled, this Red Wings team is good enough to make the playoffs. They can finish in the bottom half of the postseason teams and probably drop a six-game series in the first round. Their consecutive playoff appearance streak will remain intact but, with that outcome, you would hardly be able to call the season a success.
I know people will say all you really need to do is get into the playoffs and then anything can happen. Just look at the Los Angeles Kings of last season. The Kings, however, were able to add talent in the form of Jeff Carter at the trade deadline. The team as assembled prior to the trade deadline does not make that run.
Without a move to get better, the Wings will not make a run, and as such should sell.
We keep hearing that there aren’t many sellers in the market right now. Too many teams are still in the hunt. The Wings are still in the hunt, too, but I believe it’s worth risking their position this season – a season in which they’re not likely to win the Cup anyway – to put themselves in better position next season.
With defensemen at a premium, what return could Ian White fetch the Red Wings? A second-round draft pick? More?
I’d love to suggest dealing Colaiacovo as well but, as he’s been injured all year, I can’t imagine he has much trade value.
Michael Handzus just got San Jose a fourth-round pick. What would Daniel Cleary bring Detroit?
Would Mikael Samuelsson waive his no-trade clause if Holland told him “We’re buying you out this summer, here’s your chance to impress a different team?”
The Wings want to keep him, but what would Valtteri Filppula bring in trade?
I’m not suggesting Holland blow the team up. Dealing Fil would require a good return. Pending free agent Jimmy Howard isn’t going anywhere.
Clearing out a few bodies gives a chance for more of Detroit’s youth to get playing time. DeKeyser has an open roster spot. Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist remain in the lineup.
If the young guys prove they’re not ready, Holland can go back to signing veterans like Samuelsson and Colaiacovo over the summer, as he did preemptively last year.
I just don’t think doing nothing should be an option. As assembled, this team is not going to win the Cup. Either get better and take a shot at it or risk getting worse and still not winning the Cup.
Personally, I’d rather miss the playoffs this year (a deep draft year) and come back stronger next year than have two years of seventh-place finishes and first-round exits.