The 2012 NHL Trade Deadline may not have brought what Red Wings fans wanted but that doesn’t mean the Wings made the wrong moves.
As far back as last summer, fans were salivating over the idea of having virtually unlimited cap space at the trade deadline. With over $22 million available to spend, there would be no player Ken Holland would be unable to afford. After years of Detroit being unable to add a significant piece on the final day of NHL trading, the shoe would be on the other foot.
And then nothing happened.
With cap space to spend, Holland couldn’t find any trading partners. Unlike in previous years, there were no superstars on non-playoff teams in the last year of their contract to be had as rentals. No Ilya Kovalchuk, no Marian Hossa.
The Washington Capitals weren’t set to trade Alexander Semin, the New Jersey Devils had already stated they wouldn’t move Zach Parise and the surging Anaheim Ducks weren’t going to give up Teemu Selanne.
With those options unavailable, the Red Wings stuck to smaller moves. In two deals with the Tampa Bay Lightning, one last week and one today, Holland turned Mike Commodore, Sebastien Piche and a first round pick into Kyle Quincey and a conditional seventh-rounder. It’s an upgrade at the blue line with the potential to be more than a rental, as Holland has already stated that the Wings will at least tender Quincey a restricted free agent qualifying offer.
Detroit’s rivals made more moves, notably the Nashville Predators.
The Predators had acquired Hal Gill on February 17, then added Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad up front today. They paid a hefty price, giving up Blake Geoffrion, a first-round pick, and two second-rounders.
In essence, Nashville paid as much for fourth-line, free agent forward Gaustad – a rental – as the Red Wings did for restricted free agent defenseman Quincey – a non-rental.
So I’m okay with Holland standing pat. I would have liked a move for a depth forward; I’d been thinking former Wing Mike Knuble could be a good fit for cheap but as he wasn’t moved at the deadline, I have to think either he wasn’t available or the Capitals were asking too much from everyone.
I’m also not going to lie – I am concerned that Nashville, Chicago, Vancouver and San Jose all added players while the Red Wings didn’t. Those teams got better and got deeper. The Red Wings got better but are not a deep team.
That last note will be proven tomorrow in Columbus. Jonathan Ericsson is already out with a broken ankle and now Quincey has a sore groin. Brendan Smith has been called up and will be in the lineup, along with Jakub Kindl. Another defensive call-up could be necessary if Nicklas Lidstrom, who didn’t practice today, can’t go.
Or maybe these late-season injuries will prove the depth the team can call on from Grand Rapids and show that a trade wasn’t necessary.