Detroit Red Wings mailbag: What to expect at trade deadline – Detroit Free Press
The trade deadline is Feb. 25. What will the Red Wings do? Filmed Jan. 18, 2019 in Calgary, Alberta. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Detroit Red Wings are headed for a break, and when they come back, trade talk will intensify.
We’re about a month away from the deadline (Feb. 25), with the Wings well outside the playoff picture. They’ve been playing well since New Year’s Eve, but game after game demonstrates they don’t have the talent that marks elite teams. They need another good draft, and the trade deadline may offer an opportunity to boost the rebuilding process. How many buyers there will be at the deadline should become clearer once the NHL comes out of the All-Star/bye break, which for the Wings spans Jan. 23-31. That’s the top question in this mailbag edition.
Thank you as always for the questions.
Q: What’s going to happen at the trade deadline? — P. Phillip, via email
HSJ: Front-office personnel met this month in Florida to discuss the state of the team, with a focus on the trade deadline. There are clear-cut candidates to move — Jimmy Howard, Gustav Nyquist — to stoke the rebuilding process, but it makes sense to listen to offers for any player who is not a central part of the rebuild (Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou. Basically skilled young players and prospects). There’s perennial interest in Luke Glendening because of his ability to skate and defend. I don’t see the Wings trading a guy like Nick Jensen, though, because he’s inexpensive (less than $1 million) and can eat minutes at regular strength and penalty killing because of his skating.
The Wings have 10 picks headed into the 2019 draft. They had 21 picks spanning the 2017 and 2018 drafts. I spoke with Ken Holland about the meetings, and his views going into the trade deadline.
“As we look to ’19-20, if we don’t make it this year — we want to compete for a playoff spot. We’ve got some players who are unrestricted free agents, I am going to talk to them. I am going to talk to the other teams around the league. We’re not in a vacuum. Is there more buyers than sellers? Is there more sellers than buyers? Most teams are going through the process right now of evaluating where they are at, but we are also going to have another month of games, that is going to affect teams’ thinking.
“Any deal has to make sense. I don’t know that you just move people out for late-round draft picks. I don’t know what that does. We made a decision last year to trade Tomas Tatar, we felt that a package of three draft picks was something that we couldn’t pass up. Is there a deal out there we don’t want to pass up? I have to work the phones.”
Holland emphasizes that “I am not trading any future — future assets, young players, anybody we think is a building piece.”
HSJ: If Howard is traded, the Wings would look to bring him back on a two-year deal. He’s played very well the past two seasons, and there isn’t a prospect in the system ready to ascend to NHL duties.
Regarding rookie Michael Rasmussen, he can be sent to Grand Rapids next season. He is not eligible this season because he had junior eligibility left, so he either had to play with the Wings, or he’d have had to go back to juniors. That’s where the Wings were lucky with 2018 first-round pick Filip Zadina; because he was on loan to his junior team from his Czech team, he is eligible to play this season with Grand Rapids.
HSJ: Coach Jeff Blashill said after the Anaheim game it came down to special teams minutes. The Wings have Mike Green back, so that bumps Filip Hronek from the power play. Danny DeKeyser is a regular on the penalty kill, and averages in the 21-minute range overall, third-highest on the team. As for not changing a winning lineup, it depends on the situation — in this case, a defenseman Blashill deemed would make the Wings better. With the Wings losing at Calgary, Hronek appears likely to rejoin the lineup at Vancouver.
A little aside regarding Hronek’s point total. He was originally credited with two assists at Minnesota, but the NHL ended up taking away his second assist, on Tyler Bertuzzi’s third goal, and giving it Dylan Larkin. This was after the final scoresheets had been printed. Similarly with the Dec. 22 game against Florida, there was a change after the final scoresheet. At that time it mattered more, because it was during Larkin’s point streak. It wasn’t until the following afternoon he was credited with an assist.
HSJ: The 2019 draft has forward Jack Hughes as the top prize, but there are high-end forwards (Kaapo Kakko, Vasily Podkolzin, Dylan Cozens to name a few) and defensemen (Bowen Byram, Philip Broberg, Cam York) available in the top 10, which in all likelihood is where the Wings will end up picking. They will draft a skater with their first pick.
Contact Helene St. James: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames.