Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Custance on the Wings’ selling strategy

So I have some philosophical differences with the following entry: I don't believe that the Red Wings will be "sellers" at the trade deadline, but should they do so, ESPN's Craig Custance believes that the team should go into the trade deadline with the following strategy, as noted in his Insider-only mailbag entry:

Here's Custance's answer to the question:

They need a good, young, top-pair defenseman. I like the young forwards in the organization, although I’m not sure I’m convinced that Dylan Larkin projects as a center long term. I like him on the wing. We’ll see. If that’s the case, they need a center, too.

There may be a path to get there without completely tearing things down and ruining the winning culture in Detroit that has taken years to develop.

If this season is a wash, the Red Wings would be smart to be sellers at the deadline earlier than later. Thomas Vanek has proven he still has value and elite skill. They could move him for a decent return to a contender that is trying to boost its power play. Drew Miller, Steve Ott and Brendan Smith have varying potential values at the deadline. That should all be explored.

Detroit is currently No. 26 in the league, so the Red Wings would have a rare crack at a top pick, especially if they become sellers. It might be painful for a team so used to winning, but it would also bring in a top prospect to feature in a new building that opens next year. You wouldn’t crush years of winning culture by having one rough season.

Then you make sure you have the money freed up to be aggressive in the free-agent class of 2018. The Red Wings like Cam Fowler, whose contract expires in 2018. He’d be a top target, and he’s a kid who grew up in the area as a fan. He’s a perfect fit. That free-agent class also has John Tavares, who has been a good soldier with the Islanders, but has to be tiring of the inconsistencies with that franchise.

The Red Wings would have a new building to help attract free agents, plus lots of young talent including this year’s lottery pick. That would be my game plan.

Custance continues at extended length...

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


Chet's avatar

if they’re still 26th, there’re about 5 players tops i’d say should be untouchable.

what they have isn’t working. it’s not a tweak here or there, either. it’s a problem that isn’t going away without some honest self evaluation and appropriate action. saying trades are hard and rebuilds might not work is total nonsense when you’re already a lottery team.

this is Management 101.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 12/23/16 at 03:29 PM ET


If the Red Wings continue to employ Blashill by the TD, they will have only pride left to salvage for thereat of the season because they will be completely out of the playoff picture by that time.

Yes, George, they will be sellers….or definitely ought to be. Painful, for sure, but the only realistic way to begin the rebuild.

Posted by NewfieWing on 12/23/16 at 03:43 PM ET

Chet's avatar

Firing Blashill also makes little sense. The team he’s been given is hot garbage, and you may as well “develop” him too. This is already a lost season. This is to say nothing of the fact that there’re at least 5-6 awful contracts on this team that will plague them for a few seasons to come. Blash has been far from perfect, but I don’t think Babcock could have this team in a playoff spot either.

Now, if LGD is still playing 19:00/game on a top line while AA plays 12:00 this time next year, then it’s clear he hasn’t learned and should go.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 12/23/16 at 04:03 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

I can not see how they can be sellers as most of the Contracts are long and have NoMove/NoTrade.Cap Horror stories

The ones that can be moved are our future and they better stay put

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 12/23/16 at 04:14 PM ET


Yes, George, they will be sellers

Not if KH is still a GM at the deadline and something tells me he is not going anywhere.

Posted by VPalmer on 12/23/16 at 05:21 PM ET


I’d hang onto Blashill till there’s a better candidate.  No point in having a revolving door of coaches and the guys I can see getting let go of in the near future probably aren’t a huge upgrade from Blashill.  Capuano has never been consistent with the Islanders, Dan Bylsma is the new Randy Carlyle (one hit wonder with a stacked roster who never demonstrates a winning strategy again), Dave Tippett would be a real roll of the dice.  Guys like Paul MacLean and Marc Crawford have demonstrated they’re much better suited to the assistant role.  Realistically we might as well sit on Blashill till a better name hits the market, like Julien or Vigneault.

Posted by BarryKlob on 12/23/16 at 05:24 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Gallant is available now, how much does Detroit want to change its current dysfunctional chemistry?  Probably it doesn’t, or lacks the decisiveness to do so.

There is no guarantee a high draft pick would be immediately ready to play in the NHL in the new arena.  Odds are actually against having a three month wonder.

Miller, Vanek, Ott, only Vanek is an upgrade for any contending team.  No one is going to want to add “grit” if they’re looking at a playoff run.

Like the Tigers, there are a lot of long term high-dollar contracts really tying the hands trying to make any significant restructuring of personnel.

Posted by RWBill on 12/23/16 at 05:35 PM ET


Gallant had two bona fide first line forwards, a franchise d-man, and a more consistent goalie in Florida.  He couldn’t make that work, he isn’t going to make it work in Detroit.

Posted by BarryKlob on 12/23/16 at 05:41 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Holland should sell and he should sell hard. This team is a dumpster fire. But Holland will not sell. A nacisist like him can not sell. Ever. I bet he still thinks he was a great goalie but circumstances got in the way….little feckin twit.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 12/23/16 at 06:36 PM ET

RW19's avatar

Firing Blashill also makes little sense

No its makes all the sense in the world. Coaches are there to win. Blash is playing his career. He doesn’t care about the future of the DRWs because he cannot afford to.
If the team really is going to get a lottery pick, it would make all the sense in the world to have a coach that understands that playing all the young and inexperienced players right now is the logical way to go. For Blash its career suicide.
Blash will keep playing the LGDs, Zetterbergs, Ericssons, Kronwalls, Millers , Sheahans and even Lashoffs in order to limit the damage. The Wings don’t need that right now.
Best play here - dismiss Blash with some dignity. Insert a temporary guy that knows the team needs to gauge the kids and start fresh in the new rink.

Posted by RW19 on 12/23/16 at 06:38 PM ET


The reason to fire Blash might be to just find out if our players are really that bad or they can be better with a better system in place.
As for Tavares, even if he is available in 2018, we will not have money for him. It’s all used for our plethora of bottom six forwards and average dmen.

Posted by VPalmer on 12/23/16 at 06:58 PM ET


RW nailed it. Blashill needs to go just to allow a talent evaluation.

Bonus would be the team starts winning. A team as dysfunctional as the wings may start to win with a different voice that says something other than “process” all the time.

Posted by akwingsfan on 12/23/16 at 07:13 PM ET


+19 on Blashill firing.

I understand that he doesn’t have the best ingredients to work with but a coach is supposed to make the sum of the parts greater than the individuals.  Under Blashill they’re worse!  Players and the team consistently under achieve.


Posted by Ventr on 12/23/16 at 08:07 PM ET

WingDingy's avatar

When is Stevie Y’s contract up in Tampa Bay?  That would be an excellent step in the right direction.  I can’t imagine he wouldn’t seriously consider returning to Detroit.  As long as Ken Holland is here, we have no chance.

Posted by WingDingy on 12/23/16 at 08:52 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

Firing Blashill also makes little sense. The team he’s been given is hot garbage, and you may as well “develop” him too. This is already a lost season.

Exactly. Blashill has won at all levels before coming to Detroit. Let the rebuild continue with him. smile

Posted by bigfrog on 12/23/16 at 08:59 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Firing Blashill also makes little sense. The team he’s been given is hot garbage, and you may as well “develop” him too. This is already a lost season.

Exactly. Blashill has won at all levels before coming to Detroit. Let the rebuild continue with him. smile

God no!

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 12/23/16 at 10:03 PM ET


There’s very little to be said for talent evaluation in dumping your coach and going with an unknown quantity.  Look at the Pittsburgh Penguins switching from Bylsma to Mike Johnston.  It looked like Crosby was an over the hill playmaker in the stage of his career where he was developing other aspects of his game to offset his decline in play.  That would have been your talent evaluation of Crosby under Johnston.  Now you’ve got Mike Sullivan and he’s a Conn Smythe winner and in the running for both the Art Ross and the Rocket Richard.  If you dump Blashill and some people look worse and some people look better under coach Joe Blow whose last gig was assistant coach at U of M where do you go from there?  There were literally people with this “evaluation” mindset that were seriously talking about the Pens trading Crosby.  What a mistake that would have been.  Would we make a mistake and trade a kid who goes on to be a 50 goal scorer somewhere else?

Posted by BarryKlob on 12/23/16 at 10:19 PM ET


The lesson I took from the Pittsburgh situation is that a bad coach can make good players seem bad.

I view Blashill as our Johnson (You kids don’t go there!)

Posted by Ventr on 12/24/16 at 01:45 AM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.


Notify me of follow-up comments?


Most Recent Blog Posts

About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.