The NHL trade deadline is now less than a week away so that means some sleepless nights for some general managers as they try to acquire (or giveaway) that last piece to gear up for the playoffs.
For some teams like the Detroit Red Wings, there are not really any major holes to fill, which is ironic as Detroit has cap space to burn for the first time in a long time.
At the start of the season, Detroit had (via CapGeek.com) about $5.33 million dollars in cap space.
Currently, as contracts have been paid off over the course of the 185-day season, CapGeek shows that Detroit can acquire somewhere in the neighborhood of $21 million in cap space over the remainder of the season.
So with Detroit not having any obvious weaknesses, let's start by examining depth forwards that can help Detroit out in the postseason.
These six depth players either have playoff experience, or are low-risk, high-reward type of players.
Tuomo Ruutu has 17 goals and 30 points this season with an under-achieving Carolina Hurricanes team.
Ruutu is also a plus-four somehow, which is surprising, considering the Hurricanes have been outscored by 23 goals this season even after their 5-0 shutout of the Washington Capitals.
But I wouldn't like to see Ruutu in a Red Wings uniform just because of his goals and points.
Ruutu's 106 hits bring an additional physical presence to the team that would be right up there with the likes of Darren Helm and other leading hitters on the team.
His $3.8 million cap hit would be a bit much to stomach normally, but Detroit has more cap space due to the deadline being right around the corner.
Ruutu would be the missing piece that Detroit has been looking for in my opinion, and GM Ken Holland should find out what it would take to acquire Ruutu before he is traded elsewhere.
Radek Dvorak has been around the block as far as playoff experience goes.
With two trips to the Stanley Cup Finals (but no rings to show for his efforts) in 1996 with the Florida Panthers and 2006 with the Edmonton Oilers, Dvorak is the kind of veteran presence that Ken Holland would be looking for in a playoff run.
Dvorak has seen his numbers drop off a bit this season, but still has 16 assists and 19 points.
He is a right-handed shot, something the Red Wings are short on this season with Jan Mursak and Ian White being the only right-handed shots (with Patrick Eaves out) in the lineup.
Dvorak could miss the playoffs (his current team the Dallas Stars sits three points out of eighth in the Western Conference) and he is an unrestricted free agent at season's end.
Perfect for a rental, and Dvorak likely wouldn't cost too much in compensation either.
Here's Daniel Winnik in the Colorado Avalanche jersey handing it to Ryane Clowe in a fight.
Yes, the same Ryane Clowe who beat up Detroit's Justin Abdelkader in a fight during Sunday afternoon's game.
Now Daniel Winnik brings a lot more to the table than just fighting capabilities.
Winnik may only have 16 points and has not scored in 28 games, but his defensive skills are exceptional.
With 62 hits, 31 blocked shots and a plus-31 takeaway margin, rest assured that Winnik would fit right in on the Red Wings' third or fourth line.
And for a cap hit of $1 million, why not bring him aboard for the playoffs?
Derek MacKenzie might be one of the most undervalued players in the NHL.
With 11 points, you might think I'm joking.
But MacKenzie, who plays just over 10 minutes per game with the Columbus Blue Jackets, would be the ideal third- or even fourth-line center for Detroit.
MacKenzie wins almost 55 percent of faceoffs at home and 53.3 percent of faceoffs on the road; both numbers are very respectable.
He also loves to hit, with 169 hits (or just under three per game), and hits pretty hard for his size of 5'11", 180 pounds.
Best of all, MacKenzie is signed for a (in my opinion) steal of a deal of $600,000 and is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in the summer.
MacKenzie seems like one of those players who would fit right in on Detroit's fourth line, and he wouldn't even miss a beat; but if he were placed with Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm on the third line, it would be a pretty good line as well.
Milan Hejduk has a no-movement clause in his contract, which has a cap hit of $3 million.
But Hejduk owes it to himself to waive his no-movement clause and ask for a trade next trade deadline if the Colorado Avalanche are any further out of the playoff race than the three points they are currently.
The Avalanche are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games, and if this trend continues, I wouldn't be surprised to see Colorado ask Hejduk if he wants to go to a contender, as Hejduk is not getting any younger at 36 years old.
Despite his age, however, Hejduk can still be a big-time contributor, and has been so to a lesser extent this season with 13 goals and 33 points.
Hejduk coming to Detroit might seem strange since he is the last remaining member from the late 1990s and early 2000s rivalry between Detroit and Colorado.
Yet given his experience in the playoffs and the fact that he has a Stanley Cup ring under his belt, he would be a great asset come playoff time if Ken Holland was able to pull some strings and acquire him.
Teemu Selanne is one of the best hockey players of all time.
He recently passed Brendan Shanahan on the all-time goals list with his 657th goal.
The guy is 41 years old!
Oh wait...that would be extraordinary if the Red Wings didn't have their own 41-year-old player as well in Nick Lidstrom.
So Teemu Selanne to Detroit, why can't it happen right now?
Selanne has a no-movement clause.
Why should it happen?
Because Selanne's Ducks are in 13th place in the Western Conference and still five points back of eighth place.
The chances that they make the playoffs are slim, and according to NFL coach Herman Edwards, Selanne should play to win the game. In this case, that would mean having a shot with a Stanley Cup contender like Detroit.
He owes it to himself if this is in fact his last season.
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