NHL Trade Speculation: Weaknesses Detroit Red Wings Must Fix by the Deadline

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NHL Trade Speculation: Weaknesses Detroit Red Wings Must Fix by the Deadline
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Lidstrom's cloudy future - and $6.2 million cap hit - are central in Detroit's plan

Following last night's victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Detroit Red Wings sit atop the NHL with 65 points. It is the sixth consecutive win for Detroit, a team brimming with confidence.

The Joe hasn't hosted a loss in three months.

Pavel Datsyuk is the best player in the world.

Jiri Hudler is earning his salary.

Detroit is 32-15-1 and clearly the hottest team in the league.

Unfortunately, the Red Wings share a division with two of the league's other Cup favorites. With 65 points, Detroit is first in the tight Central Divsion followed by St. Louis and Chicago with 64 points. Astoundingly, at fourth in the division, the streaky Nashville Predators have racked up 60 points and stand sixth in the conference.

With teams so close in the standings, each game is magnified. Players earn their salary in the spring, when consecutive loses can leave a team out of the playoffs. Every player will be called upon to chip in and contribute. How far the Wings go in the postseason depends on how well each player fulfills his role.

Operations are running smoothly in Hockeytown. Management doesn't have to waste their time filling holes. With scouts and executives meeting in Las Vegas, time is well spent developing counter-measures for potential obstacles. There are a myriad of reasons Detroit could fall short of winning the Cup. It is up to management to put the right players in place. It is up to these players to execute.

Here's a look at prospective weaknesses and trades necessary for a Stanley Cup run.

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