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St. James: Red Wings’ trade plans depend on team’s record over next 10 games

The Red Wings' "out of the playoff mix" status in terms of their spot in the Eastern Conference Standings yielded what the Free Press's Helene St. James reports was a twist in the subject matter discussed at the Wings' mid-season organizational powwow.

Instead of discussing draft prospects, St. James reports that the front office--Ken Holland, Ryan Martin, Kris Draper, Mark Howe's pro scouts, Tyler Wright's amateur scouts, the team's prospect and goalie mentors and font-of-knowledge Jimmy Devellano--both prepared for a possible non-playoff draft outlook (which would involve qualifying for the NHL's draft lottery) and attempted to assess which players might help the cause of a roster so beset by injuries that one must look back to October to see what a "fully healthy" (or nearly so) Red Wings team was capable of producing in terms of points and wins.

Holland told St. James that the Wings may or may not "buy" at the deadline...

There’s extra pressure to win the rest of January and early February because the NHL shuts down for the Olympics from Feb. 9-25 (there’s a roster freeze from Feb. 7-23, preventing any trades). Post-Sochi, the Wings have just three games before the March 5 deadline, when decisions will have to be made on what to do — if anything.

“The more we win, the more you can think about being a buyer,” Holland said. “Last year, we were on the bubble, we made a decision to hang on to everybody and felt that if we got healthy, we could make a run. As it worked out, that’s what happened — we got healthy, we played our way in, we got to game seven of round two.”

Holland is evaluating the Wings more on the 15-8-7 record they put together the first 30 games than the 6-10-3 record between games 31 through 49, a stretch that began with having neither Henrik Zetterberg nor Pavel Datsyuk.

“We looked like we were putting something together,” Holland said. “Then Zetterberg went down, and we haven’t really been able to gain any traction. We’ve lost a lot of ground to a lot of people. We’ve played under .500 since early December.

“I’m hoping by the weekend, early next week, we’ll have a couple more people back. Games are running by here, and we have some decisions to make by the fifth of March. We’ve got about 10 games before we really have to make some decisions.”

And instead of looking at Brian Rafalski (St. James reports that Jimmy Devellano's watching Raalski's comeback attempt with the ECHL's Florida Everblades as Devellano spends part of his winter in Florida) as a quick and easy fix, Holland's crossing his fingers that the "fix" will come from within until it can justify making moves to fortify a real and honest playoff push:

“We’re hoping we can play our way into being a buyer, or at least stand pat,” Holland said. “But the next 10 games are critical.”

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Comments

SYF's avatar

TEN Games???  “I really like our team.”

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 01/22/14 at 06:54 PM ET

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So lets wait 10 games while the Rangers move a young defenceman and Nashville and Carolina and LA make moves and just sit and not improve the team. It doesn’t matter if the Wings were undefeated, if there is an opportunity to make the team better, then do it, no matter the record or day on the calander.
I don’t get that mindset at all. It’s mediocre and that’s part of the reason the Wings are currently mediocre.

You are telling me the Rangers wouldn’t have listened about Del Zotto if we offered Almquist and Quincy and a 3rd??  Come on Holland. Get up off your arse and do something to improve the team.

Posted by Munnster9 on 01/22/14 at 07:06 PM ET

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Brian Rafalski is being looked at as a legitimate option? We are all *#$%@& doomed.

Posted by brians neck on 01/22/14 at 07:17 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

“We’re hoping we can play our way into being a buyer, or at least stand pat,” Holland said. “But the next 10 games are critical.”

The Wings doing just well enough to maybe have a chance to get into the playoffs is my worst-case scenario. At that point, Holland may be tempted to trade someone like Tatar or Jurco in order to bring in a rental “veteran” who will supposedly make all the difference.

As things stand now, I think the best-case scenario is that the Wings end up solidly outside of the playoff window. At that point, a team that is on the bubble may be tempted to offer up a middle-round draft pick for Sammy or Eaves or Cleary or Quincey.

If the Wings finish where they are right now (20th), they’ll get the #11 pick in June. For me, that’s a lot better than barely sneaking into the playoffs, getting bounced in four or five games and ending up with the 17th or 18th pick.

I’m not rooting for them to lose. I’m just thinking about what kind of outcome will benefit the team the most in the long run.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/22/14 at 07:18 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

Tyler Wright’s amateur scouts

every time I read this, I weep for the Wing’s future

Posted by Hootinani on 01/22/14 at 07:21 PM ET

Chet's avatar

There is a bit too much doom and gloom in the comments above this one. I like the idea of not making any panic moves, and dumping the future for someone who may not even get them over the hump into the playoffs would be stupid. This is no time to make a move for the sake of making one.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 01/22/14 at 07:28 PM ET

Chet's avatar

... Don’t forget, it’s not like the weakness in this roster is a secret. It seems unlikely teams will lineup for Bertuzzi, cleary, Samuelson, Q, etc. maybe one or two of those guys for late picks? That would be a goddamn coup…

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 01/22/14 at 07:29 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

If the Wings finish where they are right now (20th), they’ll get the #11 pick in June. For me, that’s a lot better than barely sneaking into the playoffs, getting bounced in four or five games and ending up with the 17th or 18th pick.

And not selling the Future.  This year looks like a write off.  Just dump the Done UFAs and look at the UFA Market, Ott, Moulson, etc.

I am going to be a Wing Fan no matter what happens Cleary, Sammy, Bert, Quincey, maybe Monster, Eaves , Emmerton should just be gone.  Signing Alfie again would be a risk but I will sit on the fence with that one.

Trading Jurco, Tatar and others would be a Huge KH blunder.

Next 10 games?? 4-6 with luck and drop even farther out of playoff spot.

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 01/22/14 at 07:33 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

While y’all seem to have taken up self-strangluation as a sporting hobby…

I think that the Klein-Del Zotto trade is a perfect example of what happens when one team calls another and calls no one else to assess the value of its one asset that it wants to swap for the asset it’s targeting. That’s a classic Predators trade and it’s certainly Glen Sather at his best—ignore the market, ignore other teams, just get the player you want and leave everyone else saying, “Wait, what, he was available? What the *#$%@&?” regarding both players.

Rafalski is not a legitimate option, at least not now, and St. James intimated as much. I cannot quote her entire article.

And despite our prostrations or the lack thereof, it’s up to the players on the ice and the coaching staff to determine whether this year is a “write-off” or whether the team can do something with it that involves playing into May.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 01/22/14 at 07:40 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

I agree with OlderThanChelios.
Holland should trade for as many draft picks as he can get.

Posted by w2j2 on 01/22/14 at 07:47 PM ET

Alan's avatar

Ten games is waiting far too long. If I were looking at trade plans, I would be looking at the deals that have taken place thus far, and look at players that are still on the market. I would be saying “Well, X is gone, and Y is gone, but maybe we can grab Z before someone else gets it into their head to get him first.”

I like most of who we have, but there’s no question that we need more scoring. We can’t always luck ourselves into a high scoring affair (see: Dallas) or a puck that disappears and bounces just right (ahem, Kronwall).

I’m in no way suggesting that we should have gone after Del Zotto. However, when are we gonna have anyone with a propensity for the net come back to the ice? Datsyuk, Alfredsson, and Franzen? “Soon™”.

Can we afford to wait ten games to make this determination? Kenny might think so, but I’m not so sure. Fortunately, I’m not the GM, so the hot seat doesn’t have my name on it.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 01/22/14 at 07:59 PM ET

topshelf14's avatar

Wow, great fans on this site. Don’t make the playoffs? Really? Did anyone watch what happened last year when we won down the stretch and made the playoffs? We were 1 goal away from the conference finals. Yep we should definitely tank it. Idiots.

Posted by topshelf14 from Detroit, MI on 01/22/14 at 09:17 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Yep we should definitely tank it. Idiots.

Show me one person’s post here that says the Wings shoud “tank it.”

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/23/14 at 12:34 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I can show you a lot of people—not here—who think that they should tank it. Here is more like wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 01/23/14 at 12:49 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

For the record, the wailing and gnashing of teeth is fine and all, but sometimes it seems like it’s all we do.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 01/23/14 at 12:51 AM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

Brian Rafalski is being looked at as a legitimate option? We are all *#$%@& doomed.

Think of it as cheerleading rather than scouting

While y’all seem to have taken up self-strangluation

Some people really get off on that

As for waiting 10 games, that is both a good thing and a bad thing, depending on how it’s interpreted. Obviously you don’t want to blow up your team to try to make your team better short term (which hurts long term) xor long term (which hurts your marketability to top UFAs). But there are missing pieces and it is past time to start seriously looking at who might be available and what can be offered for them in trade or as UFA

Posted by bleep bloop on 01/23/14 at 01:56 AM ET

Figaro's avatar

Brian Rafalski is being looked at as a legitimate option? We are all *#$%@& doomed.

Posted by brians neck on 01/22/14 at 06:17 PM ET

What is Ian White doing these days?  grin

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 01/23/14 at 02:27 AM ET

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There is a bit too much doom and gloom in the comments above this one.

Ya think? smile

People tend to lack perspective and patience.  That comes out in gushing over single wins or wailing and howling over single losses, or in this thread about being unwilling to wait even 10 games to start moving anything not bolted to the floor.

For the record, the wailing and gnashing of teeth is fine and all, but sometimes it seems like it’s all we do.

When people used to having things largely go their way as fans suddenly find out how cold and dark it actually is outside, they tend to overreact.

Wow, great fans on this site. Don’t make the playoffs? Really? Did anyone watch what happened last year when we won down the stretch and made the playoffs? We were 1 goal away from the conference finals. Yep we should definitely tank it. Idiots.

I tend to agree with regards to ‘tanking’, but I also don’t think it would serve the Wings long term interests well to move viable younger players for shorter term benefits just to try and goose the 2014 from ‘disaster’ to ‘just below mediocre’.

I think the 10 games thing is a nod to Datsyuk and Franzen finally coming back in that time frame, and seeing if that jump starts the team.  If it does, then there’s a case to be made for buying.  If not, then not.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/23/14 at 05:53 AM ET

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10 games is a reasonable time to wait I think, since (I hate to quote Holland) we really don’t know what we have.
As far as trades go, I actually hope nothing happens. Here is why. Holland would have to trade some of the youngster, I really hope he doesn’t. Outside of the non-tradeables like Z and Pav and a couple others, likes of Bert and Cleary and Sammy hold almost no value.
Holland has been trying to trade some of the guys since before the season started, no one wants them.
I think they should just wait and see. If we make the playoffs, great, if not, then at least we get a decent pick.

Posted by George0211 on 01/23/14 at 09:31 AM ET

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To add to my post above, Andersson is probably the only one that we could easily part with and get something decent in return. Between Glendening and Sheahan the 4th line center is pretty much covered. This is assuming all other centers are healthy.

Posted by George0211 on 01/23/14 at 09:32 AM ET

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I would love to see this team be sellers for a couple reasons.

I would love for Holland to get even the tiniest little bit of something in return for the contracts that he rightly should be ridding himself of in the off-season.  I think, if it’s at all possible, it would be great to get rid of Samuelsson, Cleary, Bert, Quincey and even Eaves so that the Wings can finish off the season giving real, legit NHL tryouts to the likes of Sheahan, Jurco, Almquist, Ouelette, Callahan, maybe Ferraro. 

They’ve got some decisions to make and some folks who won’t be waiver exempt next year.  If they could give Oulette and Almquist each 8-10 games of actual NHL regular season hockey, they could decide who they need to keep while showcasing the other for a possible trade in the off-season, rather than having them both play well in the pre-season and simply losing one to waivers at the beginning of the season.

I also think that Sheahan is cementing a spot in the lineup already, so maybe they could use Andersson as a part of a trade package in the off-season.

And hell, if they jettison the dead weight and end up making the playoffs with all the youngsters, how great would that be for the future?  Maybe the brass will get the idea that a player doesn’t have to be over 30 to prove he belongs in this “men’s league”.

Posted by Garth on 01/23/14 at 10:12 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I think, if it’s at all possible, it would be great to get rid of Samuelsson, Cleary, Bert, Quincey and even Eaves so that the Wings can finish off the season giving real, legit NHL tryouts to the likes of Sheahan, Jurco, Almquist, Ouelette, Callahan, maybe Ferraro. 

Of those names, I think only Eaves has a chance to be picked up.  He’s 29, current cap hit of $1.2m, plays the penalty kill, and brings energy to the line.  He would be a great addition to a team that needs pk help going into the playoffs. 

The other guys?  Too old, too expensive, and just not good enough.

Posted by TreKronor on 01/23/14 at 11:12 AM ET

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Of those names, I think only Eaves has a chance to be picked up.

Yet he didn’t get picked up when he was on waivers.

Posted by George0211 on 01/23/14 at 11:13 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Yet he didn’t get picked up when he was on waivers.

Posted by George0211 on 01/23/14 at 10:13 AM ET

Yep.  I can think of two reasons for that: 1) It was too early in the season and teams didn’t know what kind of player they are going to need going into the playoffs. 2) He isn’t desirable.

Let’s face it - if we are going to trade any of the guys Garth mentioned, Eaves is the absolutely only individual we could get rid of.  We could offer any of those other guys for free, and still not lose them.

Posted by TreKronor on 01/23/14 at 11:17 AM ET

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Let’s face it - if we are going to trade any of the guys Garth mentioned, Eaves is the absolutely only individual we could get rid of.  We could offer any of those other guys for free, and still not lose them.

LOL. true. I think Holland has been trying to get rid of them for pretty much nothing. LIke I said in one of the posts above, he’s been trying to do that since before the season started. But yes, we have a lot of guys who we could easily get rid of and probably should get rid of, problem is no one really wants them.

 

Posted by George0211 on 01/23/14 at 11:21 AM ET

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The other guys?  Too old, too expensive, and just not good enough.

I think that with rentals, none of that matters too much.

A good team can be looking for a vetaran presence to anchor a young line.  Or a guy who will shoot from the point.  Or a guy who “heart” and “intangibles”.  Or a team can look at Quincey and say “if we use him as strictly an offensive forward and play him with a genuinely good defensive guy, he might have some value”.  Just because the Red Wings somehow decided he was going to be a replacement for Brad Stuart even though they play absolutely, completely different games, doesn’t mean he has no value.

As for Eaves (and, frankly, Tootoo), mid-November is a very, very different situation than the trade deadline.  In mid-November teams are still figuring things out.  At the trade deadline someone could decide that instead of “x” fourth liner who isn’t doing much, maybe they want a guy like Eaves or Tootoo.

None of these guys is going to bring much of a return and admittedly none of these guys really do have much value (I’m not delusional, just hopeful), but having a couple roster spots for young guys is enough of a return.

Posted by Garth on 01/23/14 at 11:58 AM ET

Crater's avatar

Bert, Quincey and even Eaves

Disagree strongly with Bert and Eaves, I think both bring valuable things to the team. I’d also prefer to keep Q around till the season’s end. One defensemen sneezes and suddenly we’d be calling people up from the ECHL (Hi Raffi!). You can never have too many, even if they aren’t the highest level, defensemen in waiting.

Posted by Crater from SoCal on 01/23/14 at 01:50 PM ET

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I think both bring valuable things to the team.

Great, but neither one of them is likely to be a Red Wing next year, so why delay the inevitable?  Why let them walk for free when you can get *something* for them?

Right now, having them both on the roster means that Jurco and/or Sheahan and/or Glendening gets sent down when the team is healthy.

Jurco and Sheahan each have more points than Eaves and each has played less than half as many games as Eaves and both of them have better points per game than Bertuzzi has.  Bertuzzi (and Cleary, and Samuelsson) do nothing but slow the team down.  They can’t play in the top six and they slow down the younger lines in the bottom six.

The only reason to keep them around is if they can’t find a trade partner.

You can never have too many, even if they aren’t the highest level, defensemen in waiting.

Sure you can.  The point of getting rid of Quincey is to give the younger guys a chance.

We know that both Oulette and Almquist are out of waiver options next year.  One of them is probably going to be on the Wings next year and one isn’t.  They both played pretty well when they were up this year already.  Why not give them solid auditions?  Having Kyle Quincey on the roster isn’t going to be the difference between the Wings winning or losing the Stanley Cup, but having that spot open for Oulette and Almquist to “try out” could decide which one has a spot on the team next year and which one is used as trade bait in the off-season.

Posted by Garth on 01/23/14 at 03:11 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

Why let them walk for free when you can get *something* for them?

Didn’t we all have this conversation at the end of last season about some different players?  And how did that turn out?  Oh yeah….

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 01/23/14 at 07:54 PM ET

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Didn’t we all have this conversation at the end of last season about some different players?  And how did that turn out?  Oh yeah….

Take it from someone who knows, this application of memory and common sense at the same time you just completed will earn you nothing but scorn.  You can occasionally get away with one or the other, but if you’re interested in any degree of comity it’s safest to just assiduously avoid using either, ever.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/23/14 at 09:12 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.