The Malik Report
by George Malik on 12/23/16 at 02:17 PM ET
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...
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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.