The Detroit Red Wings are a team that has been a year-in, year-out Stanley Cup Contender for 20 years. This year is no different, as the Red Wings are just one point out of leading the tightly-packed Central division.
Detroit is almost a lock for the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and they present one of the best offensive and defensive teams in the league.
Still, even the best teams always want to get better, and while the Red Wings' offense is fourth overall in the league, they may want to make some improvements.
The near $6 million in cap space that the Red Wings have is the most Ken Holland has every sat on during the salary cap era of the NHL, so Detroit has plenty of money to make moves.
Most notably there is speculation that he will go for a defenseman due to Nicklas Lidström's questionable return and Brad Stuart's imminent departure.
However, there's always room for more scoring, so with that said, here are 10 scoring forwards the Wings could be in pursuit of.
Allow me to break my own rules for a brief moment and list Gustav Nyquist, a current member of the Red Wings' organization, as a potential candidate.
Nyquist is already a member of the Detroit Red Wings. He has played only five games for the Wings this year as an injury fill-in, posting one point.
He'll likely be a permanent NHL player next season. He's a two-time Hobey Baker finalist for the best player in college hockey and was appointed to the AHL All-Star game this season.
That's a pretty impressive resume, and while Nyquist may have only had one point in his five games this season, that shouldn't take away from his immense potential.
Don't forget past Red Wings' prospects who had the same trend, like Valtteri Filppula, who posted just one point in the 4 games he played with the Wings during the 05-06 season. Now, Filppula is on pace to finish the season with 70 points.
Could Nyquist help the Wings a lot now? Perhaps. He only averaged 8 minutes of ice time in those five games, so maybe playing on a more active line with better players (Nyquist played most of his games with Cory Emmerton and Joakim Andersson) would be a good kickoff to what should hopefully be a successful career.
Not to mention the fact that promoting Nyquist to spark scoring would only cost Detroit a miniscule $900,000, leaving plenty of room to trade for a big-name defender.
Yes, Tuomo Ruutu is billed as a center, but he's been a winger before, and moving from center to the wing happens all the time in the NHL.
Ruutu wouldn't be a bad acquisition for the Wings, and the Hurricanes probably wouldn't mind trading him either. The team is said to be exploring trade options for multiple players, and Ruutu may not be one of the untouchables on their roster.
With 15 goals in 46 games, Ruutu is a decent scoring forward who has had successful seasons in the past with teams not nearly as good offensively as the Red Wings are.
Acquiring Ruutu wouldn't be a blockbuster deal for Detroit, but it would be a great acquisition to pile on some scoring depth.
Alexander Semin would definitely be an interesting option for the Detroit Red Wings.
Semin currently plays for the unexpectedly unsuccessful Washington Capitals, and has a trip to the free agency coming up immediately after the end of the season.
Because of their lack of success, and lack of funding to resign all of their upcoming free agents, the Capitals have been actively browsing their options on the trade market, and Semin is one of those options.
At his peak, Semin put up 84 points for the Caps two years ago, and he has broken the 30 goal mark three times in his career.
Due to the fact that Semin is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, Detroit could acquire him at a very reasonable price, but the issue is whether or not they could keep him in Detroit.
There have been rumors surfacing that Semin's best option would be to leave the NHL completely and go sign a much more profitable contract in the KHL. If those rumors are true and a high price contract is what Semin is looking for, Detroit wouldn't be the right place for Alexander Semin.
Before you bite my head off for suggesting such an insane idea as to trade for Dustin Penner, let me explain myself.
Penner has 10 points in 33 games for the LA Kings. For $4.25 million, that's a lot less than expected. With performances like that, you have to wonder what's wrong.
First off, look no further than the team Penner plays for. The Kings are the worst offensive team in the NHL. The Kings weren't much better last season, as in the last 19 games that Penner played with them, they only averaged two goals per game.
Hard not to see why his offensive numbers may be suffering. Getting traded to a top offensive team like the Red Wings may help the former 30 goal scorer's case.
And he certainly wouldn't come at a bad price either. As an upcoming free agent and a player the Kings have barely gotten anything out of, they might be willing to trade Penner for a bag of pucks. Okay, maybe not that little, but a mid-round draft pick isn't out of the question.
This is an unlikely but interesting trade to consider.
Teemu Selanne is one of the best players the NHL has seen, and he's a future Hockey Hall of Famer for sure.
In his career, Selanne has a spectacular 652 goals, a stat that is greatly helped by his record-setting 76 goals in his rookie year. Selanne is 41 now, and likely in the last year of his career, but much like fellow 41-year-old Nicklas Lidström, age is only a number for Selanne.
Currently, he has 43 points, 15 of which are goals, for the Anaheim Ducks. Not a bad number, especially for one of the league's 10 worst offensive teams. Take him from one of the league's worst to one of the league's best, and you've got an instant impact.
Selanne would be relatively cheap to acquire due to his age, contract status, and the Anaheim Ducks' current placement in the NHL Standings.
That said, this trade is still unlikely, as the Ducks' management has stated that they wish for Selanne to retire with the Ducks, and have publicly stated that he is one of two "Untouchables" on the roster.
Still, if the deal is right, it's reasonable to believe that Anaheim may part with Selanne. The question is whether the Red Wings would want to surrender future pieces for a player they'll likely only have for a season.
Bobby Ryan would be a huge acquisition for Detroit, even if it would be a costly one.
Don't let his 26 points this season fool you. Ryan is a scoring machine whose stats suffer because he's playing second line minutes on one of the league's worst teams. In his mere four full seasons in the league, Bobby Ryan has scored more than 30 goals in three of them.
At the age of just 24, Ryan would also provide Detroit the benefit of being a young core player, as most of their core is over the age of 30. He would be relatively cheap, as his cap hit is only $5.1 million per season until he becomes a free agent in the 2015 offseason.
Nonetheless, while Anaheim is definitely looking for people to trade with, Ryan would come at a hefty price. A recent proposition said that they're looking for an NHL defender, top six forward, and a good prospect or draft pick.
Not a lot of options there for Detroit. Trading Datsyuk, Zetterberg, or Filppula isn't an option, and Johan Franzen really isn't one either, as it would only provide for a younger player of roughly the same caliber.
On defense, Detroit doesn't have a whole lot of options because of the fact that Nicklas Lidström and Niklas Kronwall are untouchable, while Jonathan Ericsson has a no trade clause and Brad Stuart's contract is coming to an end.
While a deal could be reached, it would take some figuring out to do, but it would be a big move for Detroit.
Ales Hemsky has been rumored to go to Detroit for more than just this season, and yet for one reason or another, the trade has never happened.
Nonetheless, Red Wings' General Manager Ken Holland is said to really like Hemsky, and a trade for Hemsky may be in the Red Wings' future.
Hemsky only has 4 goals in 30 games this season and has never broken the 25 goal mark, but he could very well do so with a change of scenery.
The price for Hemsky would have to be right, though, and that's probably what has kept Holland from acquiring him in the past.
As an upcoming free agent and an underperforming player, the Wings shouldn't have to pay too much for Hemsky, but with the deepest prospect pool in the league, draft picks are probably the last thing the Oilers want, while veteran players are the last thing the Red Wings want to give up.
Sounds like the Red Wings have a lot of interest in Hemsky, but the trade is being denied by differing needs.
Acquiring Jarome Iginla would give the Detroit Red Wings everything they need and then some.
Iginla has ten seasons where he has scored more than 30 goals, and has just recently passed the 500 career goals mark. He's also on pace to take his ten year streak of 30 goals in a season and extend it to eleven seasons.
At the age of 34, that's one hell of an accomplishment. In addition to his immense scoring talent, Iginla is also a damn good fighter, which is something the Red Wings have sorely needed for some time. That's not to say that Iginla will take a stupid fighting major to hurt the team, because he only fights when it's necessary.
Undoubtedly, Iginla's best years are behind him, but that doesn't make him a bad player. Jarome is still one of the best goal scorers in the league, and while his $7 million salary may look unfriendly, Detroit will undoubtedly have the money to keep him next year until he becomes a free agent.
Free agency might look scary for a team that would have to give up a bit to acquire Iginla, but the chances that Iginla would resign with Detroit are very good, as players of his age with no Stanley Cup are prone to sign with contending teams.
The biggest hurdle in acquiring Iginla is in the Flames' performance. Calgary will have to be distant from the playoffs by the time the trade deadline comes around in order for them to throw Iginla out onto the market.
If Jarome Iginla does make the market, considering his age, cap hit, and contract length, he could come at a relatively cheap price for a player of his current caliber.
Zach Parise has been the most popular forward in trade discussions for the entire 2011-2012 NHL Season. Although the New Jersey Devils have a good amount of cap space opening in the offseason, it's questionable whether or not they'll be able to resign Parise.
For starters, the Devils need a goaltender. Badly. Martin Brodeur's career has taken a serious tumble and it's time to recognize the fact that the Devils need another goaltender to lead them in the future. Johan Hederg isn't that goaltender either.
In addition, the Devils have Ilya Kovalchuk's contract, which is likely impossible to trade, and players like Adam Larsson and Adam Henrique that are in entry level contracts and will be demanding serious pay raises in the next few years.
That's where Detroit comes in. While Parise has stated publicly that he would like to sign with the Devils, there's obviously something keeping both sides from coming to an agreement, and Parise has also stated that he wants to play with a Cup contender.
Detroit could make a trade for the star winger, and they would certainly benefit from it. Parise has four seasons where he has surpassed 30 goals. Put him on a line with Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg and you've got an instantly great tandem.
The biggest issue here is that if the Devils trade Parise, they'll likely be looking for a goaltender in return. Jimmy Howard is definitely not on the table for Detroit, so that will make acquiring Parise significantly harder.
Trading breakout World Junior Championship star Petr Mrazek is an option, but the Devils are likely looking for something immediate, and the Red Wings may not want to part with what could be a possible superstar goaltender just to acquire a free agent who could easily walk away in four months.
Shane Doan may very well be the most likely acquisition on this list.
Doan is 35 years old and has no Cup. He's an upcoming free agent playing for a team that is financially unstable and very likely to be relocating to a different city in the next few years.
All of those factors spell Doan's likely departure. When you're an NHL player and you get to your mid-30s and have no Stanley Cups, you begin to start thinking about championships over everything else.
If Doan is indeed considering leaving the Coyotes after his contract expires, the Coyotes may be interested in moving him to get whatever they can out of him via trade.
There's no question that if Doan is up for trade, Detroit would love to have him. He's a gritty forward, a good team leader, and a decent enough scorer.
While Doan has only scored 30 goals once in his career, he hasn't exactly been surrounded with great players in that time either. Playing with the likes of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg would be good for Doan.
If Detroit makes a move for a winger, don't be surprised if Shane Doan is the man they get.
Jordan Matthews writes for the NHL and for the Detroit Red Wings. You can read Jordan's recent work here:
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