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Abel to Yzerman

The Biggest Problem Is Detroit’s Defense

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

A core of talented, young forwards on the roster and some promising prospects in the system ease the Detroit Red Wings’ concerns about goal-scoring in the years to come.

Getting the puck out of their zone quickly and efficiently? That’s another story.

Defense was the Red Wings’ biggest weakness this season and improving the blue line their biggest challenge.

They could sign a free agent. They could make a trade. They could use the sixth pick in this year’s draft on a defenseman....

“What do we do about the defense?” general manager Ken Holland said. “We draft, we develop, we have patience. We live with their mistakes. We hold them accountable. We educate them. We try to have some veteran players here we think are role models for them and are steadying influences on and off the ice.

“But to find top-four defensemen, you got to draft them, for the most part, and you got to develop them. Maybe you can trade for one, but you got to trade a significant piece to get one of those guys.”

read on

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Defense was the Red Wings’ biggest weakness this season and improving the blue line their biggest challenge.

And last season.
And the season before.
And the season before that one.

“But to find top-four defensemen, you got to draft them, for the most part, and you got to develop them. Maybe you can trade for one, but you got to trade a significant piece to get one of those guys.”

At least he appears to have moved on from his tactic of paying mediocre defenseman as if the were better than they are.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 04/15/19 at 10:35 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

At least he appears to have moved on from his tactic of paying mediocre defenseman as if the were better than they are.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 04/15/19 at 10:35 AM ET

Slow down there.  We’ve got an entire summer and a boat load of cap space ahead of us before we can make that call.

Talk is cheap, and the last time they had a chance to draft a high end dman they lost there minds and drafted a forward instead.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 04/15/19 at 11:00 AM ET

Ataris18's avatar

Just tossing out an idea on peoples thoughts.  Would we be happy if we draft byram (whatever top d guy) and can end up with karlsson or trouba after this offseason?  I have zero hope or thought we could do this but curious if this is a move people would push for. Obviously there are $$$ costs to signing those guys… so now that im thinking about it, Karlsson is probably way to pricey for what we feel we should pay and need at this point in rebuild right?

It’s a low hope… but damn id be happy if we somehow got rid of daley/ericsson somehow.  Even if ericsson is dropped in ahl.

Green/ddk/hronek/cholowski/witkowski/Sulak/Byram (yes I’m ok with a $800K witkowski 1 year deal. He shouldnt be playing huge minutes if we are competing but i’ll take a guy that can punish some players a bit for some questionable hits.

Posted by Ataris18 from House on 04/15/19 at 11:10 AM ET

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I think they bring up McIsaac and hope for a good hire in free agency.

The problem is the forwards are still not what they need to be to be cup competitive. I think the best way to approach the draft is best available again this year.

Posted by teldar on 04/15/19 at 11:18 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

I think the best way to approach the draft is best available again this year.

Posted by teldar on 04/15/19 at 11:18 AM ET

The problem isnt the approach, its whos making the call on which player is the best available.

You also can’t say that the only way to get top 4 d is to draft them, and then not use any of your top picks to draft a defenseman.  If memory serves, Cholowski was the fist D selected in the 1st round by Detroit since Smith.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 04/15/19 at 11:42 AM ET

SauceBoss's avatar

EK65’s biggest want is money, which he made clear to everyone through the press. Detroit won’t have the cap to give him the 11 mil or so he wants this offseason. Plus they only have 2 swedes on the roster so we can’t really play the swede card like we used to. And not to mention Detroit will still be bottom dwellers for the next few years


Trouba is still an rfa. So he won’t be signing with Detroit either


The only dmen after EK worth going after are Gardiner or Myers

Posted by SauceBoss on 04/15/19 at 12:18 PM ET

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Would we be happy if we draft byram (whatever top d guy) and can end up with karlsson or trouba after this offseason?

I’d be happy with Detroit picking Byram.
I’d be happy if Holland were able to move one or two of their veteran D losers.

Karlsson?  Sure.

The only dmen after EK worth going after are Gardiner or Myers

Gardiner? Jeez, no thanks. Detroit already has too many mediocre D who aren’t any good at D.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 04/15/19 at 12:44 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

After the wings lost out on the top 3 EK is no longer in the consideration. 
Myers will not be worth the contract he’ll be signed too. 
Trouba would be, but we would need to give up trade assets to do so.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerGod's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 04/15/19 at 01:19 PM ET

d ca's avatar

Karlsson’s (29) will cost too much (plus health concerns the past two years). I wonder if he tries a 3 year term in order to squeeze out one more $$$$ contract or if he goes for the 6/7 year deal. The only way Detroit gets him is if they throw out ridiculous term and money—don’t put it past Holland—but I say he signs elsewhere.

Myers is a few months older than Karlssson and established himself as a sub 10 goal and approx 20 assist, but he’ll want to be paid like a top pairing guy. Let’s call him the new Mike Green Lite. Could see it happening—won’t love it but won’t hate it.

Trouba is a RFA so a good GM would inquire about trading for his rights before the draft (the Jets have young NHL’ers Joshua Morrissey and Sami Niku—former AHL defenseman of the year—so they might have room to move him especially if there is bad blood regarding previous contract negotiations). If not throw an offer sheet at him (if only to pry Myers away)—oh yeah Holland won’t do that. Odds are slim.

Which brings us to Jake Gardiner, call him the Larry Murphy of Toronto. He desperately needs to get out of there if only to leave 2018’s game 7 behind him. Another 2nd pairing guy that will seek 1st pairing money. Would prefer Myers to him, but won’t hate it if it happens given a reasonable cap hit. Risky given injury history.

But if you don’t want to overpay a 29 year old top 2/3 d-men, you have to draft them (high) and I don’t see Byram still there when the Wings pick 6th. I hope they don’t reach for Soderstrom. Maybe Podkolzin falls like Zadina and you have to grab him—but I just don’t see that scenario playing out. I think the Wings will get either Cozens, Dach, or Turcotte then load up on d-men/goalies with the 2nd round picks and beyond.

But more than anything I’d say Detroit’s biggest problem is it’s GM and his contract negotiating skills—not it’s defense—and that’s not changing this summer despite what people here think.

Face it. We’re stuck with this d-core until 20-21.

Posted by d ca on 04/15/19 at 03:45 PM ET

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Which brings us to Jake Gardiner

And let’s drive right on by. He’s not going to make the Wings better, so signing him would simply continue the clogging of the prospect pipeline.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 04/15/19 at 03:52 PM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

Posted by Ataris18 from House on 04/15/19 at 11:10 AM ET

Very good post.


I think its best to wait a season before adding any big time player and big time contract. We have too much debris in the way on both sides of the puck (Abby, Ericsson…etc).

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 04/15/19 at 03:58 PM ET

AzWingsFan's avatar

I wonder if our 6th, a 3rd and SDK would interest the Jets for Troubadour as long as we get to work our a contract first

Posted by AzWingsFan on 04/15/19 at 04:39 PM ET

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No to Trouba, Karlsson, Meyer and a big NO to Gardiner. Stay the course, cut down vets minutes and let the kids play more in all situations

Posted by Stump23 on 04/15/19 at 06:35 PM ET

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I would be open to trading for Trouba, potentially even moving the #6, as long as we could lock him up to a reasonable deal. Then buy out Daley and don’t re-sign Kronwall, so you’re still netting an extra roster spot for a young player.

Trouba is still young enough and good enough to be a valuable part of a rebuilt roster, and the team desperately needs experienced defenders who can play offense.

Karlsson would be the dream but his contract demands, age and injury history probably prevent him from being a fit—although a healthy Karlsson alone might make Detroit a playoff team (albeit first-round cannon fodder).

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 04/15/19 at 07:49 PM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com