Detroit Red Wings Trade Rumors: Latest Speculation Ahead of NHL Trade Deadline

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2013

Detroit Red Wings Trade Rumors: Latest Speculation Ahead of NHL Trade Deadline

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    The 2013 Detroit Red Wings are a tough team to figure out.

    General manager Ken Holland and head coach Mike Babcock knew this would be a challenging year after the retirement of future Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidstrom. However, he knew the Red Wings still had enough talent to be a competitive team in the Western Conference.

    Prior to the Red Wings' two-game series in Anaheim over the weekend, Holland said he was not sure if the Red Wings would be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline.

    The Red Wings went a long way towards answering that question by sweeping the two road games against the No. 2 team in the league behind the Chicago Blackhawks.

    "We have to win some games first," general manager Ken Holland told the Detroit News. "Separation (in the standings) creates conversation, which ultimately leads to player movement. There's a little more separation in the East, and in the West it's pretty jammed.

    "I expect things to happen. Do I expect big things to happen, I don't know."

    Here's a look at some trade possibilities for the Red Wings prior to the April 3 deadline.

Top of the Line Defensemen

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    The Detroit Red Wings need a big-time, All-Star defenseman.

    They have gotten a solid season out of hard-hitting Niklas Kronwall, but if the Red Wings have any designs on making a decent run in the postseason, they need to upgrade their defensive unit by adding a solid veteran.

    They could be interested in Keith Yandle of the Phoenix Coyotes (mlive.com) and Jay Bouwmeester of the Calgary Flames (CBSSports.com).

    Both are solid players who would make the Detroit defense quite a bit stronger, and have each been selected for two All-Star Games.

     

    The Issue

    If Holland were to go after either Yandle or Bouwmeester, it would probably cost the Red Wings a lot in terms of future assets—possibly one or two young minor league prospects as well as a high draft choice.

    That's a stiff price to pay for any player and it could prove to be especially painful if the Red Wings don't make the playoffs.

    They are in fifth place, but they have been an up-and-down team. While they swept a two-game series against the Anaheim Ducks, they also lost a home-and-home series to the Columbus Blue Jackets. There are no guarantees that the Red Wings will make the playoffs, and Holland may not want to pay a premium to get either player.

Middle-Tier Defenseman

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    Since the Red Wings need defensive help, Holland could choose to go after players who won't command the kind of premium price Yandle or Bouwmeester would cost them.

    LRobyn Regehr of the Buffalo Sabres (speculation via Fourth Period) might fill the bill. Regehr has similar numbers to Smid—he has not scored a goal and has just one assist this season. However, he is a physical defenseman who can block shots and is not going to get caught out of position very often.

    Regehr's limited offense

    If you had Regehr, you are not going to help your team's ability to put the puck in the net. That's not a priority, but when you place limited players on the ice, that's not going to help your chances of winning.

Drew Stafford

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    While Drew Stafford of the Buffalo Sabres has not been impressive this season, a change of scenery could help his production. Mlive.com notes the possibility.

    Stafford scored 31 goals in 2010-11 for the Sabres and was a 20-goal scorer last year. He has just four goals and seven assists this year.

    If the Red Wings decide to pull the trigger on Stafford, it might not cost that much. Stafford has been a healthy scratch recently, according to The Buffalo News, and he doesn't appear to be a solid fit for interim head coach Ron Rolston.

Never Considered by Iginla

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    The Red Wings were never in the Jarome Iginla derby.

    Iginla presented the Calgary Flames a list of four teams that he would be willing to go to in a trade and the Detroit Red Wings were not on that list (source: Calgary Sun). Iginla said he would play for the Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins or Pittsburgh Penguins, but had no interest in playing for the Red Wings.

    Ultimately, he chose not to play for the Bruins and he was traded to the Penguins.

    Significance

    The Red Wings have long been one of the elite teams in the NHL; they have held that position for nearly two decades. However, they lost a first-round series to the Nashville Predators last year and the retirement of Lidstrom hurt their status badly.

    The fact that a future Hall of Famer like Iginla did not consider them speaks volumes about their current state.