Trade Barriers: Eastbound Detroit Facing Added Complications
With the NHL trade deadline just days away, the Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland has already said he is unlikely to make a move unless there is a fit. Ideally, the Wings would like to acquire help at both ends of the ice, but they aren’t willing to relinquish prospects and draft picks for short-term help.
Among those Detroit was rumored to be interested in was former Calgary defenseman, Jay Bouwmeester before he was moved to the St. Louis Blues last night. The Wings were in on the discussions, but likely had difficulty meeting the asking price and also fitting the remainder of his contract under next seasons lower salary cap.
Next seasons reduced cap is a factor, but also complicating Detroit’s trade ability is a move to the Eastern Conference. Teams in the East may be less inclined to help an Eastbound Detroit team and if they were willing to trade it would come at a premium price or would not include a player that could provide long-term help.
A deal in the West might be easier to make but the playoff picture is murky at this stage of the season. Five teams (St. Louis, Dallas, Edmonton, Nashville and Phoenix) are just four points outside a playoff spot and may be making a playoff push instead of trading valuable assets. The two obvious targets are Calgary and Colorado who are seven and nine points out of the playoffs.
The Wings brass will assess the market heading into the deadline, but all signs are pointing to no major movement this year. Having injured players like Todd Bertuzzi, Kyle Quincey and Darren Helm return to the lineup would provide a needed boost, but won’t resolve the team deficiencies. Even if a trade materialized, there likely isn’t a deal that could provide the Wings with a complete solution and they would likely have to sacrifice some young talent like Tomas Tatar, Petr Mrazek, Gustav Nyquist or high draft picks.
Working within the cap and weighing the costs of moving prospects and draft picks isn’t new for the Red Wings, but the added barriers of moving to the East while currently playing in the West puts the team in a unique circumstance. The situation is temporary and will resolve with the planned realignment next season, but expect it to add an extra wrinkle in Detroit’s ability to make a significant deal by Wednesday’s deadline.