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.

On Red Wings Veterans Earning a Roster Spot

Okay, this is old news by now but I was thinking tonight about the idea that Daniel Cleary will supposedly have to earn his roster spot and decided to look into some history around that kind of decision.

I think it’s safe to say you don’t give a guy a $2.5 million contract with the intent of dumping him in the minors. Cleary is going to be on the opening night roster, barring injury. So Ken Holland and Mike Babcock (and Cleary himself) saying he has to earn it… Just talk.

But lets say it wasn’t. Lets say the Wings were bringing back Cleary but that Tomas Jurco had just as much of a chance to make the final roster. Would that be as groundbreaking as it seems?

It turns out, yes.

In the Ken Holland era, no veteran has ever been waived at the start of the season in favor of a younger player who could be sent to the minors without passing through waivers.

Okay, yeah Cory Emmerton lost his roster spot to Joakim Andersson last fall but Andersson was out of waiver options. Patrick Eaves and Jordin Tootoo and Mikael Samuelsson were all sent to Grand Rapids but not at the start of the season.

Derek Meech was waived and sent to GR in 2010 but not in favor of a player who wouldn’t have to pass through waivers.

Kyle Quincey was lost off waivers in 2008 but that was so the team could keep Meech and Chris Chelios.

Before that, we go back to the waiver draft era. Chris Osgood was lost in 2001 when Dominik Hasek was signed to replace him. Brent Gilchrist was lost and then re-acquired in 1998. In 1997, Tim Taylor was lost but because he was out of options, not because someone beat him out.

Not that it’s a surprise but history shows that veterans haven’t needed to earn a roster spot since Holland took over the team.

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.

Pre-Christmas Roster Updates

The Red Wings remain a heavily-injured team heading into the Christmas break but will have good news tonight as forward Gustav Nyquist returns from a groin injury.

This comes one game after defenseman Danny DeKeyser returned from a shoulder injury that kept him out for fifteen games.

To make room for Nyquist’s return, Jordin Tootoo was sent back to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Justin Abdelkader is expected to return from concussion on Saturday. Darren Helm (shoulder) could return for that matchup against the Florida Panthers. Johan Franzen has been ruled out for Saturday but is hopeful for next Monday against the Nashville Predators.

Similarly, both Henrik Zetterberg and Jimmy Howard are aiming to return for returns in the game prior to the Winter Classic.

Stephen Weiss, though, will remain out through the Olympics, having undergone successful surgery for a sports hernia this morning.

Luke Glendening, Patrick Eaves, Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan and Petr Mrazek remain with the Red Wings, called up from the Griffins to fill out the roster, remain with the club for the time being.

Red Wings Injury Recap

Gustav Nyquist joined the long list of the Red Wings’ walking wounded today, as it was revealed that he is day-to-day with a groin injury.

By my count, Nyquist is the fifteenth Detroit player to miss time due to injury this season. Darren Helm and Stephen Weiss have missed time twice for seventeen total injuries.

The full list is as follows:

Player Injury
Justin Abdelkader Head
Daniel Alfredsson Groin
Todd Bertuzzi Shoulder
Pavel Datsyuk head
Danny DeKeyser Shoulder
Patrick Eaves MCL
Jonathan Ericsson Shoulder
Johan Franzen undisclosed
Darren Helm Back, Shoulder
Niklas Kronwall Head
Gustav Nyquist Groin
Brendan Smith Shoulder
Jordin Tootoo Shoulder
Stephen Weiss Groin (twice)
Henrik Zetterberg Back

The breakdown by injury type is as follows:

Injury Times Occurred
Shoulder 6
Groin 4
Head 3
Back 2
MCL 1
undisclosed 1

Read into that what you will.

Howard Out Two to Four Weeks

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Friday that goaltender Jimmy Howard will miss two to four weeks due to a sprained MCL. The injury was suffered in practice on Wednesday when Howard stopped a shot by Daniel Cleary.

Petr Mrazek was called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins to back up Jonas Gustavsson after the injury occurred. He is expected to remain with the Red Wings while Howard is out.

In 21 games this season, Howard is 6-8-7 with a 2.66 GAA and .910 save percentage.

The Red Wings also announced three other roster moves. Center Cory Emmerton has been sent back down to the Griffins while center Luke Glendening and forward Patrick Eaves have been called up.

The moves give Detroit 24 roster players, one over the 23-man limit. To make their roster compliant, it’s possible that the Red Wings will place Darren Helm, Stephen Weiss, or Howard on long-term injured reserve before Saturday’s matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On Trading Quincey

Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press posted an interesting article yesterday, positing that the Red Wings should trade defenseman Kyle Quincey when Danny DeKeyser returns from injury.

This isn’t a new idea by any means. Quincey has been a scapegoat among the Detroit fanbase since about a week after he returned to the team in a trade deadline deal in 2012.

What’s interesting is that, this time, the suggestion was put forth by a member of the mainstream media. Traditionally (and for whatever reason you want to blame), the writers on the Red Wings’ beat don’t publish anything that could be considered controversial. Suggesting that a current roster player be dealt – and not taking it from the perspective of “this is what it might take to bring in Player X” – is something that hasn’t often been done. Especially damning is that St. James specifically calls Quincey’s play “mediocre.”

It could be the Red Wings brass speaking through the media. It could be that things are changing and the beat writers have a little more freedom than they previously seemed to. Given the team’s history with the media, though, this seems to carry some weight.

That said, the mainstream media-types were reporting that the Wings were looking to deal Jordin Tootoo all summer. Patrick Eaves‘ name came up. Those players, though, were pretty clearly the odd-men-out with Detroit’s cap (and roster space) crunch. Quincey isn’t quite in that boat, so it’s not quite the same thing to see his name in print.

For the record, I don’t see how any Quincey trade would be anything other than a salary dump. Detroit isn’t going to be able to flip Quincey for a prospect or high picks or anything like that. A probable deal – as St. James notes – would be Quincey for a late pick or a cheaper, older defenseman, with the Wings keeping some of Quincey’s contract. As Detroit already has Nathan Paetsch on an AHL-only deal with Grand Rapids, I’d rather see them get the late pick and the open spot on their 50-man reserve list, with the option to sign Paetsch if need be in the future.

We’ll see what happens. It’s all conjecture at this point but given the source, I’d be willing to be there’s substance there.

Franzen Scores Twice but Red Wings Fall to Capitals in Shootout

Johan Franzen scored twice and added an assist on Friday night but it wasn’t enough for the Detroit Red Wings, who dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the Washington Capitals.

It was Detroit’s fifth loss in a row and their seventh consecutive home loss. Their last five home losses have come in overtime or the shootout.

Nicklas Backstrom scored the only goal of the tiebreaker to give the Capitals the victory. Washington goalie Braden Holtby stopped Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi while Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard stopped Mikhail Grabovski and Alex Ovechkin before Backstrom won it.

The Red Wings had carried a 3-1 lead into the third period but couldn’t hold on.

Just 3:19 into the period, Ovechkin snapped a shot from low in the right faceoff circle between the legs of defender Niklas Kronwall and past Howard to make it 3-2.

Michael Latta tied things up with 8:06 remaining when Howard got spun around after coming out to stop a John Carlson chance. The puck came to Latta on the far side of the crease and he shoveled a backhander into the vacated net.

Before they closed out the scoring, the Capitals opened it at 5:50 of the first when Brooks Laich swatted his own rebound past Howard on a partial breakaway after a Detroit turnover in the neutral zone.

Franzen would get the Red Wings on the board with 4:08 remaining in the period. On a power play, Franzen carried the puck along the left wing boards and cut into the faceoff circle, snapping a shot off the post and into the top corner through a screen by Tomas Tatar to make it 1-1.

Before the period was out it would be 2-1, as Franzen took a crossing feed from Tatar to put a shot off Holtby’s pad and into the back of the net from the bottom of the right circle with 1:50 remaining.

With 18 seconds remaining in the second period, Danny DeKeyser would give Detroit their 3-1 lead. Franzen fed DeKeyser in the left circle for a shot into the open side of the net on a Red Wings’ power play.

Detroit finished the night with two goals on five power play tries. Washington was scoreless on for attempts with the extra attacker.

Howard made 30 saves on 33 shots while Holtby stopped 34 of 37 chances.

The Red Wings are right back at it on Saturday when they visit the New York Islanders.


The game marked the return from injury of defenseman Jonathan Ericsson… To make room for Ericsson under the salary cap, Patrick Eaves and Luke Glendening were sent to the Grand Rapids Griffins, joining Jordin Tootoo and Xavier Ouellet, who were sent down on Thursday… Daniel Alfredsson missed the game with a groin injury, causing the Red Wings to play with only 17 skaters.

Pregame: Capitals @ Red Wings – 11/15

With three-straight extra-time losses behind them, the Red Wings look to snap their slump tonight as they host the Washington Capitals.

Detroit will get Jonathan Ericsson back on their blue line. He returns from long-term injured reserve with cap space created by the assignment of Patrick Eaves, Jordin Tootoo, Luke Glendening and Xavier Ouellet to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Jimmy Howard gets the start in goal for the Wings.

Game time is 7:30 PM on FSD.