On the Red Wings as Trade Deadline Sellers

The NHL’s trade deadline is less than a week away and – in the middle of their “bye week” – the team sits last in the Atlantic Division, only two points up on the Carolina Hurricanes (who have four games in hand) for last in the Eastern Conference, and twenty-sixth overall in the thirty-team league.

For the first time in a quarter century, the Red Wings will (in all likelihood) not make the playoffs.  As such, they’ll be sellers at the trade deadline.

Detroit general manager Ken Holland insists that the team will not be torn down in a total rebuild.  He expects only to unload “rentals” – players who will be free agents this summer anyway.  With that in mind, there are three players who we can probably expect to see moved.

Thomas Vanek
Vanek has been one of the Red Wings’ top forwards this season, leading the team in goals with 15 in just 47 games played.  He was signed last summer to a cap-friendly one-year deal as a reclamation project and is just the kind of player a team looking to make a playoff push would want to add.  The only hiccup is that he reportedly loves Detroit and Holland may choose to simply extend his contract rather than trade him and risk being unable to bring him back this summer.

Brendan Smith
At 28, Smith is no longer a prospect, he’s a known quantity.  He could be a solid addition to a team like the Pittsburgh Penguins (who, as I write this, traded for Ron Hainsey), looking to shore up their defense.  That said, Holland has stated that he’ll talk to Smith’s camp about a contract extension, so he could stay put.  The Red Wings have five defensemen already under contract for next season, plus restricted free agents Nick Jensen and Xavier Ouellet.  If Jensen can do Smith’s job at half the price (or less), it makes sense to get what they can for him.

Steve Ott
Ott signed with his “hometown” Red Wings last summer and was excited to come to Detroit.  He clearly wants to be here.  I’ve been against his signing from the start.  There are a lot of GMs who love the kind of player he is, even if I don’t.  He could be a cheap veteran addition for a team looking for a little extra grit.


In addition to the above three, there are a few others in unique positions that could see them dealt.

Drew Miller
Exiled to the Grand Rapids Griffins in the face of a roster crunch in Detroit, Miller has made it clear that he’d like to be traded and get back into the NHL.  His position is similar to Ott’s, as a veteran grinder who would come cheap, except for the fact that he already cleared waivers so any team that wanted him will have already passed him up.  The Wings would likely have to take a player back in any deal for Miller.

Tomas Jurco
Jurco has been stuck in the press box for much of the season and doesn’t seem to have a future in Detroit.  He reportedly requested a trade earlier in the year and will be a restricted free agent this summer.  That said, if the Wings were to sell on Vanek and Ott, it would seemingly open up a roster spot in Detroit for Jurco to get more playing time.

Tomas Tatar
Tatar has been one of the Wings’ top forwards this season but has been plagued at times by accusations of not living up to his potential.  He’s a restricted free agent this summer, likely due a raise from the $2.75 million he makes now to something close to the $4.75 million of Gustav Nyquist.  The Chicago Blackhawks called about Tatar and Nyquist earlier this season, so if the Wings wanted to avoid paying Tatar, they could ship him out now.


Finally, there’s a small group of players that might have value but probably won’t be dealt for various reasons, primarily because – as stated above – the Wings say they’re not tearing the team down.

Gustav Nyquist
Signed for two more seasons after this one and currently suspended, the Blackhawks did ask about him, so the possibility of moving Nyquist is there.  Even more than Tatar, Nyquist can’t shake the “underperformer” label and the Wings may want to dump his salary to facilitate re-signing Tatar (or anyone else).

Mike Green
Green has one year left on his contract for $6 million, so any team looking to acquire him wouldn’t be going for a rental.  If available, though, he’d be one of the top defensemen on the market and could probably bring in a decent haul for the Red Wings’ reload.  It’d also clear a lot of money from the Wings’ cap.  I don’t expect him to be dealt but I think it’s an intriguing possibility.  Green does have a no-trade clause.

Jimmy Howard
I don’t expect Howard to be traded at the deadline, lets get that out of the way.  But – especially if he’s not claimed by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft this summer – the Wings are going to have quite the logjam in goal to deal with, plus a lot of money dedicated to goalies.  Clearing that up sooner rather than later would be to Holland’s benefit, so he should be trying to move Howard now.  Of course, Howard is currently hurt and has no timetable for return, so pulling off this move would be near-miraculous.


My prediction? Vanek and Smith or Ott get traded.  Maybe Miller, especially if Ott stays.

Red Wings Drop 3-1 Decision to Hurricanes

Looking to start a new winning streak after snapping their losing streak at four games on Saturday, the Detroit Red Wings faltered at home, dropping a 3-1 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes.

After a scoreless first period, Victor Rask opened the game’s scoring with 7:34 left in the second period. Detroit neminder Petr Mrazek came out to play the puck in front of his cage but sent it right to Rask, who skated around him and put it into the net for a 1-0 lead.

Jakub Kindl tied things up with 2:16 left in the period, firing a point shot through traffic and between Carolina goalie Cam Ward‘s pads.

Ron Hainsey scored a similar goal from the opposite side of the ice off a Detroit turnover to make it 2-1 at 4:35 of the third period.

An empty-net goal by Eric Staal closed out the game’s scoring.

Mrazek made 18 saves on 20 shots against. Ward stopped 25 of 26 chances faced.

Neither team scored a power play goal, with Detroit getting two tries with the man-advantage and Carolina three.

The Red Wings are back in action on Friday when they host the Ottawa Senators.

Pulkkinen’s Pair Leads Red Wings Over Hurricanes

Despite being outshot by a wide margin, the Detroit Red Wings rode two third-period goals by Teemu Pulkkinen to a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.

Detroit trailed 2-1 heading into the final frame but Pulkkinen tied things up at 4:39 of the period. Carolina defender Ron Hainsey won a puck battle along the end boards and attempted to clear it through the slot, but Pulkkinen had jumped up and picked off the pass, banging a shot past goalie Cam Ward to make it 2-2.

Just 1:57 later, Pulkkinen deflected a shot from Tomas Tatar at the top of the left faceoff circle past Ward to give the Red Wings the lead.

With 3:35 remaining in regulation, Justin Abdelkader rifled a shot from the slot past Ward off a feed from behind the goal by Henrik Zetterberg to make it 4-2.

Carolina cut the lead to one goal with three seconds left in the game, as Justin Faulk blasted a shot from the top of the right circle past Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek while on the power play.

After a scoreless first period in which the Red Wings were outshot 18-2, Zetterberg got the Red Wings on the board with 8:27 left in the middle frame on just their sixth shot. Zetterberg cut in front of the net from the left of Ward and put a shot past him to make it 1-0.

The Hurricanes responded with 4:48 left in the period when Victor Rask banged home the rebound of a Noah Hanafin shot.

Nathan Gerbe tipped a Ryan Murphy shot past Mrazek from the edge of the crease with 57 seconds left in the period to make it 2-1.

Mrazek finished the night with 44 saves on 47 shots. Ward stopped 15 of 19.

The Hurricanes had six power play tries and scored once. Detroit had one chance with the extra attacker.

The Red Wings are now off until Tuesday when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Red Wings’ Rally Clinches Presidents’ Trophy

The Detroit Red Wings scored twice in the final 3:27 Thursday night, rebounding from down 2-1 to earn a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The win clinched their fourth Presidents’ Trophy in the past six seasons and sixth overall. No other team has won the award more than twice.

Johan Franzen tied the game on a Red Wings’ power play with 3:27 left in the third, putting home the rebound of a Nicklas Lidstrom shot from the blue line.

With 12 seconds left, Henrik Zetterberg gave the Red Wings their lone lead. Columbus netmnder Pascal Leclaire tried to play the puck on a dump in but it slipped past him as Zetterberg raced in. Zetterberg got to the puck behind the net before Leclaire could get back between the pipes, and the Swede’s backhand shot banked off of the goalie and into the net.

The Blue Jackets had scored first when Ron Hainsey scored on the power play at 7:13 of the second. After a fight for the puck on the right wing, Hainsey was left wide open acorss the ice for a blast past Dominik Hasek‘s glove.

Mark Hartigan evened things up 2:30 later, banging the rebound of a Niklas Kronwall shot past Leclaire.

Aaron Rome put Columbus back out in front before the Detroit comeback, scoring at 4:05 of the third on a blast from the blue line that slipped through Hasek.

Hasek made 20 saves on 22 shots on the night, with Leclaire stopping 36 of 39 attempts.


Justin Abdelkader made his Red Wings debut, in for the injured Kirk MaltbyTomas Kopecky left the game early in the third period with a knee injury.

Red Wings Ride Third Period Scoring Past Blue Jackets

The Detroit Red Wings survived two lackluster periods of hockey Tuesday night by scoring three times in the third period to pick up a 3-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The victory came despite being outshot 35-23 on the night.

Neither team scored until Kyle Calder got Detroit on the board just 16 seconds into the final frame.

Calder laid a hit on Columbus defenseman Ron Hainsey at the bottom of the left faceoff circle in the Blue Jackets’ zone, knocking the puck loose. He picked it up and cut to the net, backhanding a shot past goaltender Fredrik Norrena.

Todd Bertuzzi would pad the lead with 2:24 remaining and the Blue Jackets pressuring, going to the front of the net and knocking the puck past Norrena on a second chance.

Kris Draper added an empty net goal with 47 seconds remaining and the Red Wings killing a penalty.

Dominik Hasek held on to preserve the shutout after losing one on Sunday when the Blue Jackets scored their only goal of the game with 59 seconds remaining.

Neither team scored a power play goal. They each had six tries with the extra skater.

The win, combined with the Nashville Predators’ shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, means that one point earned by the Red Wings or failed to be earned by the Predators will clinch the Central Division for Detroit. Both teams have two games remaining.

The Red Wings will close out their season with a home-and-home series against the Blackhawks starting on Thursday in Chicago.


Detroit was without defenseman Mathieu Schneider, who sat out with a sore elbow. Nicklas Lidstrom returned to the lineup after missing Sunday’s game with a back sprain.

Cleary’s Hat Trick Carries Red Wings over Blue Jackets

Dan Cleary‘s first career hat trick helped lead the Detroit Red Wings to a 7-4 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night in a see-saw matchup between the Central Division foes.

The third meeting in the last eleven days between the two teams saw the Red Wings score the first three goals before Columbus countered with four of their own. Detroit then answered with four more to retake the lead as the game closed.

Cleary’s third of the game was the game-winner for Detroit, came with the Red Wings on the power play and 5:19 remaining in the game. Robert Lang, who assisted on all of Cleary’s goals, rifled a shot from the left circle that was deflectd by a Columbus defender before being knocked out of the air and past goalie Fredrik Norrena by Cleary.

Detroit had tied the game 3:17 earlier on a strong individual effort by Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk held the puck in the Columbus zone at the right point on an attempted clear by the Blue Jackets, then carried along the blue line and down through the left circle – weaving around defenders the whole way – before lifting a shot into the top of the net.

In the final two minutes of play, Datsuk added a second goal and Danny Markov scored into the empty net to close out the scoring.

Cleary had opened the game’s scoring 4:21 into the opening period, setting what was then a new career high with his 15th goal of the season. He would add to that total with 4:00 remaining in the first to give the Red Wings a 2-0 lead.

Henrik Zetterberg stretched Detroit’s lead to three goals at 8:45 of the second before the Blue Jackets took over.

Ron Hainsey scored a near-side goal from the left circle to get Columbus on the board with 7:28 left in the middle period and David Vyborny added another 1:28 later, stealing the puck from Nicklas Lidstrom before moving in alone on goalie Chris Osgood and outwaiting him.

A pair of early third-period power plays put the Blue Jackets out in front, with Dan Fritsche picking off a clearing attempt by Niklas Kronwall and firing it past Osgood at 3:15 and Adam Foote scoring on a blast from the blue line 2:02 later.

Osgood finished the night with stops 21 on 25 shots against, while Norrena made 29 saves on 35 shots.

Detroit had three chances on the power play, scoring only once. Columbus had four tries and picked up two goals.

The Red Wings’ next game is Sunday night when they host the Los Angeles Kings in Detroit’s annual New Year’s Eve game.

Cleary Scores Twice as Red Wings Defeat Blue Jackets

Checking-line forward Dan Cleary scored two goals Saturday night, leading the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-1 win over the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets.

Cleary’s first goal came with 2:17 remaining in the first period, tipping a Chris Chelios shot from the point past Columbus goalie Pascal Leclaire.

His second, a shorthanded goal, came with 5:56 left in the second period. Cleary streaked past the Blue Jackets’ defense down the left side of the ice and cut across the front of the net before lifting a backhand shot over Leclaire’s outstretched pad.

Between those goals, Ron Hainsey scored for Columbus to tie the game but Henrik Zetterberg quickly replied, putting Detroit back out in front.

Mikael Samuelsson added a goal on a delayed penalty just 1:29 after Cleary’s second.

Fredrik Norrena stopped all ten shots he faced after replacing Leclaire to start the third period. Leclair made 24 saves on 27 shots in the opening 40 minutes, while Detroit goalie Dominik Hasek made 16 saves on 17 shots.

Columbus’ lone goal came on the power play, putting them at 1-for-9 on the night. Detroit was scoreless in seven tries with the extra attacker.

The Red Wings will be off until Wednesday night when they host the Edmonton Oilers.


Valtteri Filppula returned to the Detroit lineup after having been sent to Grand Rapids on Wednesday. Brad Norton, returning from a shoulder injury, was assigned to the Griffins to make room in the lineup.