The NHL trade deadline is fast approaching and the Detroit Red Wings are inspecting the market looking for any good buys. Here’s a glimpse at some of the trade rumors going around the league that could be possible targets the Red Wings may consider.
Ryan Kesler, C, Vancouver Canucks
If the Wings could have their way this would be the guy they would to bring in. Not only would Kesler be the best replacement for the injured Henrik Zetterberg, but he still has two years left on his contract. He is a hard working, two-way center that is a proven scorer in the league and even grew up here in Michigan.
However, don’t get your hopes up. There are a few hiccups in making a trade for Ryan Kesler.
- He has a no-trade clause.
- The Canucks want talented prospects in return.
- Other teams are going to drive up his value if he truly is on the market.
Verdict: Kesler would be the perfect fit in Detroit, but the Wings aren’t going to trade away their valuable young players to get him. If the Canuck hold firm on a high asking price then Kesler isn’t going anywhere and forces the Red Wings to look elsewhere.
David Legwand, C, Nashville Predators
Legwand is option #2 to “replace” Zetterberg. There are very few centers on the market, so getting a reasonable price for the experienced, large body forward seems rather unlikely. Just like Kesler, he also has a no-trade clause and is a Michigan native. It’s more likely that Legwand would waive his clause to get a shot at the Stanley Cup though.
The cap hit would be a manageable $4.5 million, but he is a free agent at the end of the season. There is a chance though that he might consider staying in Detroit because of his connections within the community.
Verdict: The most realistic option if Ken Holland wants to add offense. However, Holland has stressed already that we wouldn’t pursue rental players and wants to make “hockey trades.” This still begs two questions. How much do the Predators want for Legwand in a depleted trade market for centers? And, are the Wings willing to take the risk and pay that price?
Ales Hemsky, RW, Edmonton Oilers
Hemsky is the quick and easy, duct tape, fix option. He is 30-years old and a pending free agent. While his stats have significantly dropped off in the last 4-5 seasons but he is still a capable play-maker on the third or fourth line. His stats so far this season are 7 goals, 24 points, in 53 games.
The Wings may only look Hemsky’s way if Kesler and Legwand aren’t available and Holland changes his mind that the team needs a cheap rental player to push the team into the playoffs.
Verdict: It’s highly unlikely that the Wings choose this option with Franzen going off for a hat trick in Ottawa. That’s the offense they need moving forward, so trading for a quick fix doesn’t seem useful now. However, Hemsky would be a cheap player to pick up because the Oilers are dead set on selling him before the deadline.
Andrew MacDonald, D, New York Islanders
I took Shea Weber off the rumor list because his contract is atrocious and not feasible for the Red Wings to manage. Thus, making Andrew MacDonald the most practical guy to fill the holes in the Wings’ defense. The 27-year old is a top line defenseman for the Islanders, but has noticeably struggled defensively this season with a -16 plus/minus rating (a rather bias stat because the Islanders haven’t been good as a team all season anyways). However, he has proven to be helpful in the offense zone with 20 assists and 4 goals.
The main problem with MacDonald is, just like with Hemsky, he is an unrestricted free agent after the season; a rental player.
Verdict: It’s another case of how much do they want for him? If the price is right, maybe the Wings will fork over a few draft picks to beef up the back line. But, then again, Holland has admitted that he didn’t want to bring in rentals.
Christian Ehrhoff, D, Buffalo Sabres
Ehrhoff is the exact opposite of a rental. His contract runs through the 2020-21 season with a cap hit around $4 million each season. He is a great skater and an even better offensive threat than MacDonald. I could easily see him anchor the second pairing (or perhaps first pairing with Kronwall) on defense. He has a quiet 29 points (6 goals and 23 assists) and a nasty -11 plus/minus, but keep in mind he does play in Buffalo.
Nonetheless, there is always a catch. His market value is skyrocketing right now with defensemen always hard to obtain around the deadline. Rumors are speculating that the Sabres want first and second draft picks with prospects to make a deal happen. Those are two things the Wings are reluctant to give up.
Verdict: Ehrhoff is the long-term option. Wings would love to have him, but at the same don’t want to give up a lot in the process. The Sabres are playing hard ball and in the end I don’t think they will trade Ehrhoff unless the offer is quite impressive. I just can’t see the Wings making that offer when Smith, Lashoff, and DeKeyser are slowly developing and getting use to the Red Wings’ system.
The underlying theme I keep noticing while tracking these rumors is that the Red Wings are going to have to go outside their comfort zone if they want to get a trade done. The only players that are going to go relatively cheap are the rental players and the “hockey trades” are going to cost Ken Holland draft picks and prospects.
It’s going to be nearly impossible for the Wings to make a buy that they are going to be completely happy with. That’s the price you have to pay when the sellers hold all the power at the trade deadline.
The clock is ticking. Will the Detroit Red Wings make a move?
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