Thoughts on the Red Wings’ Trade Deadline

I was feeling pretty good about the Red Wings’ efforts in the lead up to the NHL’s trade deadline this morning.  Then the Thomas Vanek trade happened.  Those who follow DH.N on Twitter know I am less than happy about that but I’ll look at each of the Wings’ moves piece-by-piece here.

Tomas Jurco
The Red Wings traded Tomas Jurco to the Chicago Blackhawks last Friday.  An upcoming restricted free agent, Jurco never really latched on with the Red Wings.  Detroit got a third-round pick in the deal, which is more than I would have expected.

I don’t think Jurco was ever used properly in Detroit so it hurts to see him go to Chicago, but if the Wings weren’t going to use him, at least they got some value for him.  This is a pretty solid deal.

Brendan Smith
The first of Detroit’s pending unrestricted free agents, the team tried to sign him to a contract extension but the trade offer from the New York Rangers was too much to turn down.  Smith netted the Red Wings a third-round pick in the upcoming 2017 NHL Entry Draft and a second-round pick in 2018.

This was Detroit’s best move of the week.  I probably would have been happy with a second or a third, to get both feels like larceny.  That said, like Jurco, perhaps Smith just needs a change of scenery.  It’s not that he was particularly bad this year in Detroit, but he’s weighed down by the expectations and the memory of bad performances.

Steve Ott
I never liked Ott’s signing, that’s no secret.  I don’t know why the Canadiens thought they needed him, either.  He wasn’t horrible in Detroit by any means, I just think his role could have been filled by one of the kids in Grand Rapids, namely Tyler Bertuzzi or Tomas Nosek.  Getting a sixth-round pick for Ott seems like a near-miracle.

Thomas Vanek
I’m going to need more space for this one.

Nick Jensen
Not a trade, the Red Wings locked up Jensen for two more years at around $800,000 each.  Jensen has stepped onto the Wings’ blue line and seemingly leapfrogged both Ryan Sproul and Xavier Ouellet (and definitely Alexey Marchenko, now in Toronto).

I like this signing for multiple reasons.  One, it’s only two years, unlike the ridiculous four-year deal that Brian Lashoff got after serving in a similar capacity back during the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign.  Two, it can entirely be buried in the minors if Jensen ends up being a bust or if the Wings acquire a legitimate top defenseman at some point.

Mitch Callahan
With Ott off to Montreal, the Red Wings called up forward Mitch Callahan to take his place.  I’m okay with this but I’d rather have seen Bertuzzi get the nod, as I mentioned above (Nosek is currently injured and wouldn’t be called up).

Drew Miller
The trade that didn’t happen.  I don’t know if anyone was interested in Miller but he’s the one upcoming unrestricted free agent that Holland was unable to unload.  Part of me thinks that if you can unload Ott, you can unload Miller.  But maybe the Habs were the only team interested in a guy like that.

Thomas Vanek
Okay, let’s try this one again…

Vanek had to be dealt.  He’s been one of the Wings’ best players this season and is an unrestricted free agent this summer, so it was assumed that he had significant value.  At the end of the day, it sounds like there weren’t that many teams interested, though, and he only fetched a third-round draft pick (plus AHLer Dylan McIlrath, minus retaining some salary).  That the Wings got the best deal they could get is good.

It’s kind of hard to see that for multiple reasons, though.  There was a lot of buzz about Vanek in the lead up to the deadline and Minnesota made a massive deal for Martin Hanzal, a player deemed to be somewhat comparable to Vanek.  You don’t trade buzz, though.  The best player the Red Wings had to offer simply wasn’t enough to generate that much interest.

Winging it in Motown’s JJ from Kansas has been talking about getting caught up in the hype about Vanek.  Take a look at Detroit’s history as buyers, though, and it’s hard not to.

In 2015 the Wings gave up a solid prospect in Mattias Janmark, a questionable prospect in Mattias Backman, and a second round pick for Erik Cole and a third rounder.  In 2014 Detroit traded Calle Jarnkrok, Patrick Eaves, and a third round pick for David Legwand.

In my mind, 2017 Thomas Vanek is better than 2015 Erik Cole or 2014 David Legwand, so I would expect 2017 Thomas Vanek to bring in more than 2015 Erik Cole or 2014 David Legwand.  But that’s not what this year’s market supported.

So it’s disappointing that costs are high when the Wings are buyers but they’re low when they’re sellers.  It’s hard to swallow.  It feels like if the Wings should have to sell, they should get to sell for the same prices that all the teams that profited from them got to sell at.

Overall
All of that said, the Wings did the best that they could with what they had.  In sheer volume of picks, the last week has been a pretty impressive haul.

I’m not as excited about the upcoming draft as Ken Holland is, though.  Holland has spoken about having so many picks to work with, more than they’ve had since 2002.  This draft is shallow and none of those picks are particularly high.  As such, I don’t see this sell off as sparking a rebuild.  Barring some big changes this summer, I don’t think the assets gained in the last week are going to turn things around next year.

Miller, Pulkkinen Out At Least Six Weeks

Detroit general manager Ken Holland announced on Friday that both Drew Miller and Teemu Pulkkinen are each expected to miss at least six weeks due to injuries suffered in the Red Wings’ 5-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night.

Pulkkinen dislocated his shoulder while being boarded by the Coyotes’ Martin Hanzal and could be out up to eight weeks. Hanzal received a two-minute minor on the play.

Miller suffered a broken jaw from a hit by Klas Dahlbeck. Dahlbeck was not penalized.

With the pair out, Tomas Jurco and Joakim Andersson will rejoin the Red Wings’ lineup for their Saturday matchup against the Nashville Predators. Holland said that the Wings would call up at least one forward prior to Detroit’s stretch of three games in four nights next week.

Red Wings Rout Coyotes for 5-1 Win

The Detroit Red Wings earned a point in their ninth consecutive game Thursday night with a 5-1 victory over the visiting Arizona Coyotes.

Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard stopped 26 of the 27 shots he faced to earn the win – his fourth in a row – and five different players scored for the Red Wings.

The game could have been very different, as the Coyotes thought they had opened the scoring just 1:22 in. Klas Dahlbeck scored on a play that Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill challenged. Video review revealed that Connor Murphy was offside and the goal was wiped out.

Instead, it was Justin Abdelkader‘s goal with 7:30 left in the opening frame that got things started. Detroit rookie Dylan Larkin forced a turnover behind the Arizona net and chased it up the side boards, then worked the puck to Abdelkader in front of the net for a backhander past goalie Mike Smith.

Niklas Kronwall made it 2-0 with 42 seconds left in the period on a blast from the slot off a feed from Tomas Tatar. Just 18 seconds later, Gustav Nyquist bounced a shot from the neutral zone past Smith to give the Red Wings a 3-0 lead.

The period would end with Kyle Chipchura laying a hard hit on Brendan Smith. Smith replied with a slash to Chipchura, then the two fought.

Arizona got on the board at 5:52 of the middle frame. Jordan Martinook snapped a shot from the inside edge of the right faceoff circle through traffic and past Howard off a feed from behind the net by Steve Downie.

Danny DeKeyser replied for the Red Wings just 1:26 later with a blast from the blue line past Anders Lindback, who replaced Smith in the Coyotes’ net to start the second period.

Darren Helm would round out the game’s scoring with his first of the season. Lindback lost the puck behind the net and it came out to Helm, who put it in before Lindback could get into position.

Lindback finished the night with 26 saves on 28 shots while Smith stopped 13 of 16 chances he faced.

The Red Wings lost both Teemu Pulkkinen and Drew Miller to injury in the first period. Pulkkinen was boarded by Martin Hanzal and Miller took a shoulder to the head from Dahlbeck.

Second Period Sinks Red Wings in 4-2 Loss to Coyotes

The Red Wings scored first on Thursday night in Glendale but a three-goal second period propelled the Phoenix Coyotes to a 4-2 win over Detroit.

Valtteri Filppula opened the game’s scoring just 1:56 into the first period on a power play. Gustav Nyquist‘s chance from the slot was knocked down and Nyquist caught up with the puck for another try. Phoenix netminder Chad Johnson knocked it aside but Filppula got to the rebound in the left faceoff circle and backhanded a shot into the open side of the net.

Michael Stone knotted things up at 1:47 of the middle period with a blast from the top of the left faceoff circle through Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

Former Red Wing Chris Conner put the Coyotes out in front at 8:08. Mikkel Boedker carried the puck into the Detroit zone and as soon as Detroit defender Brendan Smith shifted to pressure him, he passed the puck off to Conner all alone in the left circle to snap a shot between Howard’s legs.

With 3:59 remaining in the period, Shane Doan made it 3-1. Doan and Martin Hanzal were left all alone at the Detroit blue line during a Red Wings’ line change and Keith Yandle hit Hanzal with an outlet pass. Hanzal passed it around a diving defender to leave Doan all alone in front of Howard for a wrister into the back of the net.

The Red Wings made it close with 1:13 remaining when Henrik Zetterberg threw the puck on net and it deflected off Daniel Cleary to get past Johnson for a power play goal with Howard on the bench for yet another attacker.

Hanzal would add an empty-net goal to round out the scoring in the game’s final second.

Detroit finished the night with two power play goals on six tries with the man-advantage. Phoenix was scoreless on four attempts.

Howard stopped 34 of 37 shots he faced while Johnson made 34 saves on 36 shots.

The Red Wings are right back in it on Friday night in Colorado.


Brian Lashoff, called back up from the Grand Rapids Griffins with the NHL’s roster limits no longer in place, swapped into the lineup for Ian White… Henrik Zetterberg returned from a groin injury to replace the injured Damien Brunner (hip flexor) in the lineup.

Gustavsson Helps Carry Red Wings to 3-2 Win over Coyotes

Jonas Gustavsson stopped the Coyotes’ Lauri Korpikoski on a penalty shot with 4:12 remaining in regulation on Monday night, keeping Phoenix from tying the game late as the Detroit Red Wings held on for a 3-2 win.

Gustavsson made 29 saves on 31 shots to earn his second win of the season. Phoenix netminder Jason Labarbera stopped 32 of the 35 shots he faced in the loss.

Ian White got the Red Wings on the board 4:01 in, snapping a shot from the blue line through traffic and past Labarbera to make it 1-0.

Phoenix responded 3:55 later when Martin Hanzal tipped a Radim Vrbata shot from the left wing past Gustavsson on a power play.

The Coyotes got out in front with 7:43 left in the period. After the Red Wings failed to clear the zone, Keith Yandle fired a shot on net. Gustavsson stopped Yandle’s shot and a rebound attempt from in front by David Moss but Rob Klinkhammer jumped into the play and roofed it over the sprawling goalie, making it 2-1.

Johan Franzen evened things back up with 39 seconds remaining in the second period. On a Red Wings’ power play, Niklas Kronwall faked a shot from the left wing before feeding Franzen in the slot for a snap past Labarbera.

Pavel Datsyuk put the Wings back in front with a power play goal 6:12 into the third. Henrik Zetterberg took the puck behind the Phoenix net before sending a pass out front. The puck bounced off defenseman David Schlemko’s skate and settled down at the edge of the crease for Datsyuk to scoop up and lift past Labarbera to make it 3-2.

The Red Wings scored twice on five total power plays. The Coyotes had three power plays and scored on one of them.

The win was Detroit’s fifth consecutive road win. They’ll conclude their West Coast road trip on Thursday in San Jose.

Red Wings Score Five in the First to Power Past Coyotes

The Detroit Red Wings scored five first period goals Thursday night, all the scoring they needed to defeat the Phoenix Coyotes, 5-2.

Todd Bertuzzi and Valtteri Filppula scored in the first 2:09 of the period to get the Red Wings out to the early lead. In the final 5:14 of the opening frame, Tomas Holmstrom, Darren Helm and Jiri Hudler added three more goals.

Bertuzzi opened the games scoring 1:16 into the game. He took a pass near the top of the right faceoff circle from Pavel Datsyuk and backhanded the puck into the slot, where he caught up with it and snapped a shot between the pads of Coyotes’ goalie Mike Smith.

Just 53 seconds later, Filppula – returning to the lineup after missing a game with a deep cut on his leg – was left all alone in front of the Phoenix net to take a pass from Henrik Zetterberg and put a wrister past Smith.

Holmstrom restarted the scoring on a power play with 5:14 left in the first. Ian White drove into the slot and threw a shot on net with Holmstrom there to knock in the rebound.

Helm made it 4-0 43 seconds later. He gave the puck to Chris Conner in the right circle and went to the net. Conner carried it down low and got it back to Helm to bang past Smith. Smith would be pulled for Jason Labarbera after the goal.

Hudler wrapped up the period’s scoring with 43 seconds left. After failing to score off a turnover in the Phoenix end, Filppula took the puck to the left wing boards and sent a pass across to Zetterberg in the slot. Zetterberg moved it on to Hudler in the right circle and he threw it into the open side of the net.

Radim Vrbata got the Coyotes on the board with 4:15 left in the second period, rifling a shot from the top of the right circle past Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard.

Martin Hanzal added another Phoenix goal with 8:28 left in the third when a Shane Doan power play shot deflected off of his pants on its way past Howard.

Both teams had five power play chances on the night and each scored a goal.

Howard finished the night with 30 saves on 32 shots. Smith stopped seven of the eleven shots he faced in 15:29 of play while Labarbera made 20 saves on 21 shots to close out the night for the Coyotes.

The Red Wings will next be in action on Saturday when they host the Winnipeg Jets.


Pavel Datsyuk was kept out of the third period as a precaution, as he reported feeling sore earlier in the day. He is expected to be available on Saturday… Cory Emmerton and Mike Commodore were the healthy scratches for the Red Wings.

Red Wings Finish Sweep of Coyotes with 6-3 Win

The Detroit Red Wings rode three third-period goals to a 6-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes Wednesday night, completing a four-game sweep in their Western Conference Quarterfinal series.

Danny Cleary scored on a shot from the left corner with 6:19 remaining in regulation to break a 3-3 tie. Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov came off the near post and Cleary’s acute-angle shot deflected off of Bryzgalov’s arm and into the net.

Todd Bertuzzi put Detroit up by a pair 1:53 later when his wraparound attempt deflected off defenseman David Schlemko’s skate and slipped past Bryzgalov.

Patrick Eaves added an empty net goal to finish off the scoring, his second goal of the night.

Detroit had opened the game’s scoring just 3:47 into the first period. Tomas Holmstrom chipped the puck through the neutral zone for Pavel Datsyuk to gain the Phoenix zone. Datsyuk cut latterally through the slot and dropped a pass for a streaking Holmstrom to fling past Bryzgalov.

The Coyotes responded 1:59 later, when Taylor Pyatt’s attempted crossing pass from the left wing boards deflected off of Jonathan Ericsson‘s skate and slid past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

At 9:46 of the period, Shane Doan gave Phoenix its second lead of the series, winning a battle along the boards and stepping into the left faceoff circle to fire a shot that deflected off of Nicklas Lidstrom and squeaked past Howard.

Eaves scored his first of the night to tie things back up with 1:13 remaining in the opening frame. Darren Helm bowled over Michal Rozsival and Keith Yandle behind the Phoenix net and came away with the puck, coming out to the side of the goal and sending a cross-crease pass to Eaves for a tap-in.

Martin Hanzal put Phoenix back in front just 1:09 into the second. Radim Vrbata drifted across the front of the net with the puck on a Coyotes power play before passing off to Hanzal at the far side of the net. Hanzal buried it into the open goal as Howard dove to get back.

Detroit countered with their own power play goal as Niklas Kronwall buried a rebound chance from the slot after a scramble in front of the net at 4:49.

The Coyotes finished the night with one goal on two power play tries while the Red Wings went one-for-three with the extra attacker.

Howard stopped 24 of the 27 shots he faced. Bryzgalov made 34 saves on 39 shots.

Detroit must now wait for the conclusion of the other first-round matchups to know who they will play in the Western Conference Semifinals.


The Red Wings played without Henrik Zetterberg (knee) and Johan Franzen (ankle). Zetterberg missed all four games of the series while Franzen was a late scratch, having taken the pre-game skate. Mike Modano replaced Franzen in the lineup… Jakub Kindl was a healthy scratch on defense.

Zetterberg Scores in Overtime to Carry Red Wings Past Coyotes

Henrik Zetterberg scored on a delayed penalty in overtime Monday night, giving the Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 win over the visiting Phoenix Coyotes.

Zetterberg tipped a slap-pass from defenseman Ruslan Salei past Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov at 1:23 of the overtime period. Todd Bertuzzi, who had come on as the extra attacker, picked up the secondary assist.

Nicklas Lidstrom had tied the game at 7:24 of the third period, blasting a shot from the left point past Bryzgalov.

Danny Cleary opened the scoring for the Red Wings just 1:40 into the game. Brian Rafalski, playing in his first game back after arthroscopic knee surgery, fired a shot from the right point wide of the net. It bounced off the end boards and came out the other side, where Cleary knocked it into the open net.

Martin Hanzal got the Coyotes on the board with 55 seconds left in the opening period on a similar play, banging in the puck after a Derek Morris shot went wide and caromed off the end boards, coming back out in front.

Keith Yandle put Phoenix out in front at 7:31 of the second period on a broken play. Lauri Korpikoski carried the puck into the Detroit zone and cut to the slot, losing control. The puck slid into the left faceoff circle, where Yandle caught up with it and snapped it past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

Howard finished the night with 29 saves on 31 Phoenix shots while Bryzgalov stopped 37 of 40 Detroit chances.

Though the game-winning goal came with the extra attacker, neither team scored on the power play on the night. The Red Wings had four chances to the Coyotes’ three.

Holmstrom Sparks Red Wings to 4-1 Win over Coyotes in Game Five

Tomas Holmstrom broke a 1-1 tie with 8:51 remaining in the third period Friday night, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes in Game Five of their Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup.

The Red Wings now lead the series 3-2. It’s the first time they’ve led in these playoffs.

Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom set up Holmstrom’s goal. Datsyuk won an offensive-zone faceoff back to Lidstrom for a shot from the blue line. The shot slipped through Phoenix netminder Ilya Bryzgalov but was knocked down by Holmstrom and defender Adrian Aucoin, who were in behind the goalie. Holmstrom found the puck before Aucoin or Bryzgalov and swatted it into the open net to put the Red Wings up 2-1.

Datsyuk made it 3-1 just 70 seconds later. Holmstrom worked the puck from behind the net to Johan Franzen on the left wing boards before Franzen got it to Datsyuk all alone at the top of the crease. Datsyuk spun and lifted a backhander off the post and into the top corner of the net.

Henrik Zetterberg added an empty net goal in the game’s final minute to wrap up the scoring.

Drew Miller had opened the scoring for Detroit, scoring on a wraparound chance with 2:56 left in the first period. Bryzgalov stopped Miller’s initial chance but the rebound bounced off Coyote Vernon Fiddler‘s skate and back past Bryzgalov.

Ed Jovanovski tied the game up at 9:45 of the second, just 13 seconds after the expiration of a Phoenix power play, banging home the rebound of an Aucoin shot from the point while standing on Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard‘s pad.

The Coyotes had a chance to take a 2-1 lead early in the third period, when Martin Hanzal jumped out of the penalty box to take a pass and break in on Howard. Howard knocked the initial shot aside and then dove back to grab the rebound chance, keeping the game knotted up.

Howard finished the night with 30 saves on 31 Phoenix chances. Bryzgalov stopped 25 of 28 shots he faced.

For the first time this series, neither team scored a power play goal. The Red Wings had six chances with the extra attacker while the Coyotes had five. Phoenix is now 0-for-19 on the power play since scoring on their first three tries in Game One.

Detroit will have a chance to win the series at home in Game Six on Sunday.


Phoenix was without captain Shane Doan for the second consecutive game. Doan has not played since leaving Game Three with a shoulder injury.

Red Wings Ride Zetterberg’s Hat Trick to Game Two Win over Coyotes

Henrik Zetterberg scored three goals, including two in the third period, as the Detroit Red Wings posted a 7-4 win over the Phoenix Coyotes Friday night, evening their Western Conference Semifinal matchup at one game apiece.

Zetterberg opened the scoring for Detroit at 6:27 of the second period, taking a feed from Valtteri Filppula to snap a shot past Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov from the slot. It was the first of two power play goals for the Red Wings and tied the game at one.

Phoenix responded just 38 seconds later, when a miscommunication between netminder Jimmy Howard and defenseman Niklas Kronwall left the puck available for Wojtek Wolski to bang past Howard.

The Red Wings tied things back up at 8:20 of the period. Johan Franzen threw the puck to the net, then, at the top of the crease, Pavel Datsyuk reached through the legs of defenseman Adrian Aucoin to get his stick on the puck and deflect it over Bryzgalov’s shoulder.

The Coyotes responded quickly again, with Matthew Lombardi racing the length of the ice, splitting the defense, and beating Howard five-hole 49 seconds after Datsyuk’s goal.

Valtteri Filppula made it five goals in a 3:58 span when he outraced Zbynek Michalek to the puck in the Phoenix end and beat Bryzgalov with a backhander to tie the game at four.

Justin Abdelkader, inserted into the lineup in place of Jason Williams to give Detroit a more physical presence, gave the Red Wings their first lead of the game at 2:32 of the third period. He stole the puck from Wolski as Wolski tried to carry it out of the Phoenix end, then raced in on Bryzgalov and snapped a shot past him.

Shane Doan would tie the game back up at 9:24 of the period, beating Howard on a feed from Vernon Fiddler on a two-on-one after Brian Rafalski pinched in at the Phoenix blue line.

Zetterberg scored his second of the night for the eventual game-winner, banging the rebound of a Todd Bertuzzi shot past Bryzgalov with 6:06 remaining.

Filppula added his second on a Detroit power play with 2:06 left in the third, snapping a shot from the right faceoff circle into the top corner of the net.

Zetterberg completed the hat trick with an empty net goal in the game’s final minute to round out the scoring.

Keith Yandle had opened the game’s scoring midway through the first period when he backhanded the rebound of a Martin Hanzal shot over Howard.

The Red Wings reversed their special teams fortunes from Game One, where they scored on only one of six power plays and allowed three goals on four penalty kills. In Game Two they scored on two of three power plays and held the Coyotes off the board on Phoenix’s four tries with the extra attacker.

Howard stopped 27 of 31 shots against for his first career playoff win. Bryzgalov made 32 saves on 38 shots.

Game Three will be Sunday afternoon in Detroit.