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Red Wings GM Ken Holland says he’s exploring the market

So as to not face your wrath, I’m not including this one in the Red Wings-Flames game-day update thread: Red Wings GM Ken Holland talked trade turkey with the Globe and Mail’s Alan Maki this afternoon:

The Detroit Red Wings sit atop the NHL overall standings coming out of the all-star break. So what does general manager Ken Holland do? Stick with a team that is dominant at home and suspect on the road or add to the mix come the trade deadline? Holland spoke about his team prior to Tuesday’s game in Calgary against the Flames and acknowledged he had some areas he was looking to bolster and $5-million in cap space to work with.

“Critics of the Red Wings say we’re not big enough, not gritty enough. We’d like to add some depth, especially on defence,” said Holland, noting there are a great many teams with playoff aspirations looking to do the same.

The one thing the Red Wings don’t want to do is trade away their early-round draft picks. Holland said that was the pattern in the pre-lockout days when Detroit was spending wildly. “We gave up picks and brought in Brendan Shanahan, Mathieu Schneider, Chris Chelios, Robert Lang to chase Stanley Cups.” Since 2005, the Red Wings have been more reluctant to part with their first- and second-round picks.

So are the Red Wings interested in trading for Nashville Predators’ defenceman Ryan Suter, Edmonton Oilers’ forward Ales Hemsky or New Jersey Devil Zach Parise? “We’re looking to see who’s out there,” said Holland. But only to enhance what Detroit has, not remodel.

Holland kicks every tire and inquires about the asking prices of every player available (and some who aren’t) as part of his due diligence, but I just don’t see the Wings giving up a Smith, Mrazek, Pulkkinen, Nyquist, etc. for the sake of “now”...But it is interesting to note that Holland might be leaning toward finding a replacement for Brad Stuart in-season—assuming that the price is right.

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but I just don’t see the Wings giving up a Smith, Mrazek, Pulkkinen, Nyquist, etc. for the sake of “now”

I don’t think he’s planning on doing anything for the sake of “now”, he’s trying to make the team better for now and for the long term.

Posted by Garth on 01/31/12 at 07:31 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

If a trade were available for someone like Suter or Parise, that is worth sacrificing top prospects and/or high picks, because those players are huge help for the now and the later.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/31/12 at 07:39 PM ET

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Wonder how much Lidstrom’s looming retirement will play into decisions this year. Of course you don’t want to give away top prospects but maybe they’ll be more aggressive than normal so Captain Nick can go out on top? Especially if it’s for a stud Dman to help replace him and/or Stuart next season.

Posted by Ryan from Toronto on 01/31/12 at 07:43 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

I certainly understand the organization’s reluctance to trade away potential future players in an attempt to win now.  In fact I’d say I’m generally a proponent of this type of approach.  But every now and then in hockey as in life, opportunity camps out on your doorstep.

So I can easily imagine a scenario in which the Wings’ braintrust at some point in the process of evaluating their strategy regarding the trade deadline comes to a conclusion that on the surface might seem like a departure from their recent modus operendi. 

It’s not a stretch at all in my mind to envision KH and company deciding that the sheer number of highly-regarded prospects currently in the system, coupled with the idea that this year’s team may only be a player or two away from being truly dominant in the springtime offers a real opportunity to deal from a position of strength while making a bold deadline move.

Take a look at the current group of top level prospects in the organization (Nyquist, Tatar, Andersson, Pulkkinen, Järnkrok, Smith, Jurco, Ferraro, Sheehan, Mrazek, Sproul, Ouellett, Aubry, Lashoff, Tvrdon, etc.).  We know all about the glut of depth forwards the Wings already have.  It’s a simple matter to conclude from there that at some point it simply becomes a numbers game.  There’s just no way that all, or even most of these players will eventually figure into the team’s long term plans. 
I’m sure there has to be at least some consensus within the organizatoin even now as to which prospects are untouchable and which fall a notch below that status. 

We simply don’t know at this point what possible trades might be out there over the next few weeks, and I think it’s at least a possibility that we could conceivable see youth traded away for someone who stands to be a difference maker come spring time.  Think a top-six forward who has some size and grit, or possibly a big, physical defenseman.

As for the idea that the age of the Wings roster would factor into their thinking in terms of any trades that might be made, I frankly just don’t see it.  If KH pulls the trigger on any kind of deal at the deadline it won’t be to address the issue of age, and it won’t necessarily even be a move designed to help the team down the road.  Any trade this year will be with an eye on one thing and one thing only.  Lord Stanley returning to Detroit.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 01/31/12 at 08:33 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

George, thanks for all the great stuff today!

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 01/31/12 at 08:50 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Roster to roster change then?

Doesnt’ want to move picks.

Doesn’t want to move prospects.

All we have left are roster players, think we can get what we want in return for Huds?  I’m sure Babs is LOVING his chances of getting something off his wish list.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 01/31/12 at 09:23 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

it’s always better to lose prospects to waivers vs. aquiring someone for them wink

That’s about 1 step better than Nashville who just let them walk for nothing.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 01/31/12 at 09:24 PM ET

statelouis26's avatar

Unfortunately it appears as if Stuart is already gone.  I’ve been hearing he’s heading back to Cali be with his family.  I wonder how much truth there is to all of this.  I like Stewie and think he’s a good fit here.  I’m sure he’s happy to have finally found a team to stick with.  So I don’t see why he would be so quick to go back unless it’s the top priority for him.  The thing is who could Holland be looking to fill the void, especially considering there is still the possibility of Lidstrom retiring.  I’m hoping the wings are not willing to part with their prospects or picks as well.  If Holland could bring in Suter for Hudler and Ericsson I couldn’t be happier, though I know that is most likely a dream.

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 01/31/12 at 09:58 PM ET

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That was my point earlier, statelouis26. I think if it’s multiple players for someone like Suter, I’m guessing it would have to be something like Hudler (although the hinderance would be the expiring contract) and Ericsson (to give a defenseman back) and Kindl/Emmerton/Mursak (one of them) or another prospect/draft pick, or start out with someone bigger that would somewhat defeat the purpose of the trade. I’m certainly not as knowledgeable as some of the commenters here, but I certainly wouldn’t take just Hudler and Ericsson.

Posted by Bugsy on 01/31/12 at 10:56 PM ET

drimo's avatar

What about Stuart for Douglas Murray?

Posted by drimo from Cincinnati, OH on 01/31/12 at 11:05 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

As an FYI, it appears that the Predators are insistent upon keeping Suter unless they fall out of the playoffs—and they’re 3 points behind the Wings going into tonight’s games—and the Devils appear intent upon keeping Parise in the lineup and attempting to re-sign him between now and the draft.

If either player’s rights become available at the entry draft, the Wings will push for them, but they’re more or less off the market.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 01/31/12 at 11:41 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I bet they go for Hemsky and Moen.. just because it’s my least favorite option.  Hopefully they’ll prove me wrong like Jimmy and Commie.

If Hemsky and Ruutu are on the same level according to Custance, then Hemsky looks to be the cheaper option.  Moen is hurt so he’ll be cheap and they’ll probably just hope he’s ready by the playoffs.

I can already tell whatever deal is made I’m going to hate.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 01/31/12 at 11:55 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go for the players they can get with 2nd and 3rd draft picks and see them trade their first rounder to make them up.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 01/31/12 at 11:56 PM ET

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All we have left are roster players, think we can get what we want in return for Huds?

Not much, he’s a UFA himself in July.

I think this is as much psychology as anything.  Holland says publicly that he’s reluctant to deal picks or prospects, so that when it’s time to make a deal, Detroit giving up a draft pick seems more substantial than it actually is.

Posted by Garth on 01/31/12 at 11:58 PM ET

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Teams at least 8 points out of the playoffs:
Anaheim, Edmonton, Columbus, Montreal, Tampa Bay, Islanders, Buffalo, Carolina
(Winnepeg is 5 points out, but played already 50 games)

Posted by Bugsy on 02/01/12 at 12:13 AM ET

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I bet they go for Hemsky and Moen..

If these are the two choices..ugh.  Moen is out for a while though, so I think he’s probably off the table.  If it’s between Hemsky and Ruutu I would hope they’d go for Ruutu.  I don’t care who the cheaper option is, Hemsky is a finesse player who is injury-prone while Ruutu has a little more sandpaper to his game.

Posted by Garth on 02/01/12 at 12:17 AM ET

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What about Stuart for Douglas Murray?

Sure, and then re-sign Stuart once he becomes a UFA on July 1st.

And, of course, send Shane Stant after Jonny Ericsson in the off-season.

Posted by Garth on 02/01/12 at 12:41 AM ET

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One reference to Parise and Suter, as George was noting:

http://www.nhl.com/ice/blogpost.htm?id=6043

Posted by Bugsy on 02/01/12 at 01:01 AM ET

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For humor purposes, since Hudler already seems to be out the door by most people’s accounts: guess who’s second on the team in goals now?

Posted by Bugsy on 02/01/12 at 02:26 AM ET

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Jonathan Ericsson?

Posted by Garth on 02/01/12 at 02:40 AM ET

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Garth, that’s worth +52. Also didn’t realize looking at the penalty numbers that Ericsson leads with 43 minutes (although I think Bertuzzi finally caught up with him).  FWIW, Hudler only had a +3 going into the game, and only 5th in points going into tonight, but he only had 10 goals last season with a -7, and his career high in goals with Detroit is 23. We’ll see if Hudler can keep this up.

Still hoping for 7 out of 10 points on this trip—this starts the trip off right.

Posted by Bugsy on 02/01/12 at 03:07 AM ET

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Quick correction: forgetting the Montreal game ever happened, this starts this part of the trip right. I hope they can take Vancouver to at least overtime, and win the other 2.

Posted by Bugsy on 02/01/12 at 03:39 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Huds got 23 playing 3rd line minutes with Flip and Sammie.. so really he’s doing about the same as his best with more time and better situations.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 02/01/12 at 05:09 PM ET

WingsFaninCO's avatar

Posted by Garth on 01/31/12 at 09:41 PM ET

So, deal him away for playoff time, then try to re-sign him after the parade down Woodward.  I’m sure that will make him want to come back.

Posted by WingsFaninCO on 02/01/12 at 09:36 PM ET

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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.