Detroit Red Wings fans have had a lot to talk about recently, but none of it has to do with Detroit's play on the ice.
This is because Detroit was eliminated in the first round by the Nashville Predators.
There is no doubt that the team needs to continue to get younger, faster and more hungry as a team.
In order to achieve these qualities, Red Wings fans have been quick to point to a day on the calendar.
July 1st, the start of free agency.
Regarding free agency, there are two words that have been quick to come up in connection with Detroit: "Parise" and "Suter".
The possibility of Detroit obtaining both stellar players remains moderately high according to some, but let's examine another track of obtaining players.
Instead of rolling the dice and waiting until free agency, let's see what we can do on the trade market.
Spoiler: some of these trades will involve the same Red Wings players, but my goal is not diversity in trade scenarios. My goal is equity on both sides.
Here are four trades that would make sense for the Detroit Red Wings and their trading partners.
With a number of Capitals players being free agents, some players could see their rights traded at the NHL Draft if the team cannot come to an agreement with them on a new contract.
Here is my proposed Red Wings-Capitals trade.
To Detroit: rights to Alexander Semin, rights to Dennis Wideman, 3rd round pick in 2012.
To Washington: rights to Jiri Hudler, Jakub Kindl, 2nd round pick in either 2012 or 2013.
Breaking down the trade:
The big thing with the Capitals here is that Alexander Semin is coming off one of his worst seasons in a Washington uniform.
Will Semin want to return to Washington for another season with a new coach for less money?
Wideman, an unrestricted free agent, will likely command too much for the Capitals to resign. He had a sub $4 million cap hit over the four year contract that he had, but could potentially be looking for more than that in his next contract. Washington already has six defenseman inked for next season.
Jiri Hudler provides a solid secondary scoring presence that the Capitals lacked for much of the regular season and has also proven that he is a viable threat on the power play.
Jakub Kindl provides a serviceable option, especially for future considerations as Washington's defense is getting older with Poti and Hamrilik both 35 years old or older, and Erskin is 31 years old.
For Detroit, they are in need of a right handed shooter (preferably someone they can use on the power play as well). They could also use another right-handed defenseman, preferably a shot-blocking one (Wideman had 132 shot blocks). This is because Detroit will likely lose Brad Stuart this off-season via free agency.
This trade works out for both teams as it's a low risk (trading pending free agents), potentially high reward trade (if both teams are able to sign the potential free agents).
Be forewarned: this trade idea is a little bit unrealistic, but it still make sense.
To Detroit: Simon Gagne, the rights to Dustin Penner, Dustin Brown and a 3rd round pick in 2012.
To Los Angeles: Johan Franzen, the rights to Jiri Hudler, the rights to Brad Stuart.
Whoa. Blockbuster right here.
For Detroit, they get Simon Gagne, a once prominent scorer on the Philadelphia Flyers. Gagne has put up 40 goals or more twice, his best effort coming back in 2005-06 and 06-07 with 47 and 41 respectively.
Gagne has been injured for the large part of this season so his numbers are way down, but with a little chemistry in Detroit, his numbers could be back up to respectable heights. At $3.5 million, some may say that's a bit steep.
Detroit also gets the rights to Dustin Penner, a big body that they can use to replace Tomas Holmstrom, who will likely retire this off-season.
Penner doesn't have tremendous offensive talent, but he has a Stanley Cup under his belt, and is still young enough at 29 years old to help the Red Wings get a net front presence.
Dustin Brown is really the prize for Detroit in this trade as they would get the Los Angeles Kings captain. Brown is a great physical player who can put the puck in the net. He also eats up minutes on the penalty kill, and has a knack for scoring big time goals.
Los Angeles gets the rights to Jiri Hudler. At first this doesn't seem like much, but Hudler put up 25 goals this season, and mounted a fair portion of the Red Wings limited offense in the playoffs.
The Kings would also get Franzen and Brad Stuart. Franzen just hasn't been able to resurrect his playoff magic of old and that cost Detroit a first round exit at the hands of the Predators this season.
The Kings would have the rights of Brad Stuart, who played one season with the Kings before coming to Detroit in 2008 at the trade deadline. Stuart's family resides in California, and for legal purposes, they cannot move outside of California.
There's a big reason why the St. Louis Blues lost to the Los Angeles Kings this year in the playoffs.
Lack of size.
St. Louis got crunched every single time the Kings could get a hit on them.
So here's the solution.
To Detroit: Kevin Shattenkirk and Matt D'Agostini.
To St. Louis: Johan Franzen and a fourth round pick.
Alright it may not be as complex as my last two trades, but not every trade needs to be complex.
For St. Louis, only two players had 20 goals or more this season. David Backes led the team with 24.
Enter Johan Franzen. Franzen possesses an ability to take the puck to the net whenever and however he wants. The only problem is making him take it to the net. When he arrives at the net, he has the patience and hands to make a move on the goalie and score.
Franzen also gives the Blues what they've been lacking, and he can shut down other teams' top forwards close to the net as well.
Detroit would be getting Kevin Shattenkirk, a right-handed shooting defenseman that reminds me a lot of ex-Red Wing Brian Rafalski.
Shattenkirk has his mind set on offense most of the time, with nine goals and 34 assists last season with the offensively challenged Blues.
Now put him in a Red Wings uniform and bump up his points to the 60 point plateau. Sounds like a pretty reliable option to me.
Detroit would also be getting Matt D'Agostini, a player that underachieved this year with only 18 points after posting 46 points the season before.
D'Agostini has been put in a position where his offensive abilities have been compromised for defense in St. Louis, but after his showing in 2010-11, the Red Wings owe it to D'Agostini to put him on the ice so he can become a solid right-handed offensive threat once again.
D'Agostini would have to hit more on the third line role that he would likely fill, but his three power play goals this season show that he is more versatile than many think.
There have been some rumblings about Jordan Staal being on his way out of Pittsburgh this summer.
I know Detroit fans and Pittsburgh fans likely don't like each other after the 2008 and 2009 Stanley Cups, but this isn't about fans, it's about making teams better.
To Detroit: Jordan Staal, Tyler Kennedy, sixth round pick in 2012.
To Pittsburgh: Johan Franzen, Jakub Kindl, first round pick in 2013.
Staal is exactly what the Red Wings are secretly looking for this offseason: a second-line center.
Behind all the noise about Ryan Suter and Zach Parise coming to Detroit is one glaring deficiency—the lack of size in of the second line center position.
Bringing Staal to Detroit would address that issue. Staal is a highly gifted center with great hands around the net. In his last five playoff games this season, Staal put up nine points. Five of them were goals.
Tyler Kennedy knows how to get the puck to the net. He may weigh only 183 pounds, but Kennedy had 195 shots this season and 234 the year before.
Kennedy is also a center, but would likely move to right wing as he is right-handed.
For Pittsburgh they would pick up Johan Franzen, (no need to say what he can do in the playoffs and regular season as I've already said enough), Jakub Kindl and Detroit's first round pick in 2013.
The end result that every Red Wings fan wants is a Red Wings' Stanley Cup.
Okay, now that the obvious is out of the way, let's get to some specifics.
As much as Zach Parise and/or Ryan Suter would help the team, it's not really what the team needs.
The team needs to get bigger, stronger and on top of that, Detroit needs a second line center that is a center by nature.
Franzen and Valtteri Filppula have taken turns trying to fill that role, but ultimately failed in their attempts.
Detroit needs a second line center more than anything else. A top-tier defenseman is a secondary concern until Lidstrom decides whether he will return to Detroit for another season.
So let's recap.
Detroit's primary need is a second-line center. Secondary needs are a defensive defenseman to replace Stuart and a scoring winger. Anything else is icing on the cake.
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