Monday, April 1, 2013

Don't Expect Big Deadline Deal for Red Wings

Remember the good ol' days?  The days where the Red Wings, Avalanche and Rangers would have an arms race during the NHL trade deadline to load up for the playoffs?  Those were the days...and they are over, especially for Ken Holland and the Detroit Red Wings, at least in recent years. 

Since acquiring Brad Stuart before the 2008 Cup run, Holland has not made any moves of significance (please don't retort with Kyle Quincey) via trade at the deadline (or at any point of the season for that matter).  For fellow Wings fans, don't hold your breath thinking that this year will be any different.  I'm serious, you may pass out.

The biggest reason, which is of no control of Ken Holland, is that the market is incredibly thin.  Gary Bettman's coveted parity in the NHL is at an all-time high.  As of today, four points separate the eight and final playoff spot and the 14th team and only seven points for the last-placed team in the Eastern Conference.  In the West that gap is seven and nine points respectively.  With virtually every team having at least a slim chance of sneaking into the playoffs, it's hard to imagine that there will be many teams willing to part with high profile players as long as they think they have a shot.  Welcome to the "New NHL."  One in which the NHL trade deadline is no longer like Christmas for hockey fans, but more like the soup kitchen for the homeless.  There are scraps available and not enough to go around.  Thanks, Gary.

One big clue that Holland is not going to make a splash prior to Wednesday's deadline is he's already publicly given his "getting Helm, Bertuzzi, Samuelsson (laughable, I know) and Colaiacovo (just as funny) will be like deadline acquisitions" state of the team address.  Yep, that rhetoric has already been circulating in the media for weeks now. 

This has become somewhat of an annual speech as the Wings get ravaged by injuries each and every season it seems.  Is it because of the insistence of signing and re-signing aging/injury-prone players?  Maybe.  Regardless of the reason it's becoming a trend and not just dumb luck.  That trend has led to Holland's reluctance to make any significant trades in the hopes that the cavalry of injured players will return and magically fill the team's glaring needs.  The payout on this annual gamble has been minimal to say the least.  If I were a betting man, my money says it will be more of the same this year because Helm, Bertuzzi, Samuelsson and Colaiacovo do not fill the desperate needs of a top-pairing defenseman or a top-six goal-scorer.  Not by a long shot.

Holland has also said he will not spend a 1st round draft pick for an acquisition.  I can't say I blame him.  It appears he realizes that last year's "splash" of burning such a pick on Kyle Quincey was a bonehead move.  However, if there is a deal to be made that could fill one of the voids aforementioned then I would assume he would take moving that pick into serious consideration.  Maybe I should not assume such things anymore...

Though the deadline hasn't been as exciting in recent years, there always seems to be a team or two that manages to make some bold moves that betters their team.  The GM of the Penguins, Ray Shero, seems to make said moves each year.  This year, after already trading for Douglas Murray and Brendan Morrow, he goes out and gets Jerome Iginlia.  I can't help but to applaud that aggressiveness.  Do these moves guarantee the Pens win the Cup?  No.  But they are certainly a better squad now and I'd rather be aggressive and fail than be passive and fail.  That's just me.

Look, I'd love to see the Wings explore moving Filppula instead of possibly losing him to free agency.  I sure hope they don't pay him the $5MM per year he wants.  I'd love to see them at least see what they could get in return for Datsyuk instead of seeing him return home to Russia after next season.  I'd be thrilled if they decided to be bold and go out and deal for Yandle, Bouwmeester or Gaborik.  Maybe they will.  They probably won't.  If Holland does indeed swing a deal to acquire one or, Heaven forbid, TWO of those players I will gladly enjoy the taste of my foot in my mouth.  However, logic tells me I'll be sticking to the four major food groups.


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