Friday, March 1, 2013

Wings Should Trade a Dman When Healthy

Keep your fingers crossed, but it appears the Red Wings are finally starting to get healthy for the first time this season; especially on the blue line after welcoming back Smith and Quincey and the savior (extreme sarcasm) Colaiacovo set to return this week. 

During this recent California trip the Wings have trotted out Kronwall, Ericsson, Lashoff, Smith, Quincey and Kindl to defend Jimmy Howard and according to Mike Babcock; it's the best the unit has played all year.  Anyone applying the eyeball test to this declaration can't help but to agree.  Since Huskins and White have been healthy scratches the last two games, the Red Wings defense has been more crisp with their breakouts, moving the puck more efficiently, generating more offense and simply playing better overall.  White wasn't happy about being benched but tough rocks.  As long as this current group appears to be the best possible players to be on the ice he's just going to have to deal with it.  Or will he?

When Colaiacovo returns from IR the Red Wings will have nine healthy defensemen on the roster.  That is at the very least one too many, probably two.  So who's the odd man/men out and what do they do with the extra bodies?  Send people down?  Waive players?  Trade?  I am of the opinion they should explore the latter.  Let me explain.

Some have suggested that the Wings should send down Lashoff as he is the only player eligible to be sent to Grand Rapids without having to clear waivers.  Well, that would be easy if he wasn't one of the few pleasant surprises this season and becoming one of the Wings' most reliable defenders.  Babcock has been trusting this guy to play big minutes and play in key situations including the PK and 5-on-3 duty which has earned him a 3-year contract extension.  He's a young (22), smart and steady defenseman who has good size (6'3", 207 lbs).  Players like that don't grow on trees. 

The last time I checked it's about winning in the NHL, and to do so a coach needs to put his best players available on the ice.  To send a budding young player who happens to be one of your best defensemen to the minors just because they can would completely go against a winning philosophy.  Therefore, in my humble opinion, taking him out of the lineup is not an option.  Period.  Getting healthy is supposed to upgrade your roster, not downgrade it...He stays.

Kindl has looked better as of late. In the last two games he is a +1 and has six SOG.  Above all he has passed the eyeball test by being responsible in his own zone and making crisp and precise passes on breakouts.  He's looked like the solid puck-moving defenseman the team hoped he would be.  Maybe the fact that Babcock kept sitting him in the press box finally got the message through.  Maybe he finally realizes it's now or never for him with this team.  Yes, it's a small sample size but if the trend continues then why sit him or get rid of him?  He's young and if he's at the point where he's becoming a legit NHL defenseman then the Wings would be better suited to ride out the season and decide in the summer if they want to bring him back.

So with all of that said, if Holland is not going to send Lashoff down or waive Kindl, he should explore the option of trading one or even two of the extra defensemen.  More than likely a team would be interested in a veteran which leaves the possibilities of Huskins, Colaiacovo and White.

I'm just going to be short and sweet here: since nobody wanted Huskins as a free agent until we were desperate I'm guessing he won't fetch much in the trade market unless he's a throw-in for a package.  Moving along.

Colaiacovo is a mediocre player who can't stay healthy.  I mean, the guy has never played more than 67 games in a season and has been in the league for nine years.  I loathed this signing from the beginning and hate it more with each passing day. If Kenny could fleece some team into taking him and his waste of a contract it would be wonderful. It would be nice to see Kenny admit he wasted money, a roster spot, a signing and ink to bring this guy aboard. The emergence of Lashoff makes him irrelevant to this team especially since Illitch is paying him to sit on the training table so far this season anyway.  Unfortunately, I would be willing to bet most of the other GMs in the league probably have a similar opinion of Colaiacovo's worth and won't be willing to part with much for him.  At least not for him alone.  If he were packaged with another defenseman and/or a forward, prospect, pick etc. then we could be cooking with gas.  Heck, I'd be happy to get a pick for him...any pick.

White looks as if he could be the odd man out when it's all said and done if Kindl continues to improve. White simply hasn't played well at all now that he's not paired with Lidstrom.  Yes, he has the coveted right-handed shot but let's be real, it's not exactly a cannon.  Not to mention he's not the biggest guy (5'10", 190 lbs) and therefore he loses many battles in the corners.  He's being exposed by not playing alongside the best defenseman ever to play.  Sad but true.  He is a veteran with an expiring contract and in the right package similar to what was mentioned regarding Colaiacovo (maybe even including Colaiacovo...God-willing), maybe he could bring a decent return.  Who knows maybe Kenny decides to actually get creative and really put together an enticing package that brings the team a much-needed sniper or a true top defenseman.  One can only dream.

The bottom line is they should look to move Colaiacovo or White or both.  With the emergence of some of the younger players they just may not be a fit for this team anymore.  We'll see if Holland agrees soon enough.


No comments:

Post a Comment