Red Wings: 5 Questions Concerning the Trade Deadline
All across the NHL, teams are gearing up for the annual trade deadline bonanza. This year, the date falls on April 3.
This time of year is when teams try to assess their long-term goals and possibly their short-term successes and use the trade deadline as a medium from which to create a better team.
For the Red Wings, the need to be active on the trade deadline will greatly depend on how their upcoming games against San Jose, Chicago and Colorado go. They could be sellers and position themselves for a lottery pick in the NHL draft.
Or the Red Wings will try to make the playoffs their impetus. Either way, there will likely be moves made.
With a flux of young players vying for roster spots and a veteran core striving to show they don't need Nicklas Lidstrom anymore, there are many questions at the deadline rather than answers.
Here are five questions to spark some new thought about how the deadline will either hurt or help the Red Wings for the short and long terms.
Will the Red Wings Add More Scoring?
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The Red Wings thought they addressed this need in the offseason with the acquisitions of Mikael Samuelsson and Damien Brunner.
Brunner has lived up to his expectations despite being mired in a 12-game goalless streak. Part of that slump can be attributed to the amount of games played in a season. He is usually accustomed to playing 55-60 games in a season. But Samuelsson has dealt with injuries this whole season and only appeared in three games so far.
Simply put, the Red Wings cannot wait for Samuelsson to get healthy. Or even produce at the level that he once could in his first stint in Detroit.
Trying to pick up a goal scorer would be imperative come April 3. Yet, they also want a goal scorer who can work his way into the lineup for multiple years instead of being a rental player who is near the end of his career.
Jarome Iginla still remains as the top option here. But other players like Mike Cammalleri, Ryane Clowe and Drew Stafford might be able to find success in Detroit's puck possession system.
Will the Red Wings Add a Top Four Defenseman?
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It's been almost a full year without Nicklas Lidstrom on the back end.
While the defense is still going through some growing pains, the younger core looks like they are gelling very well.
The preemptive concern over the defense is now just a look towards the promising future. Brian Lashoff, Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl have played extremely well this year, and Niklas Kronwall has stepped into the role of the puck-moving facilitator on defense.
But adding a veteran top four defenseman would be even better for this team moving forward. Ian White and Jakub Kindl are likely gone at the end of the season; Ryan Sproul and Xavier Ouellet, on the other hand, are not ready to see time in the NHL.
So this leaves GM Ken Holland to think about how aggressive he needs to push for a defenseman in a weak group of players.
The only name that stands out that would be impactful is Dan Boyle. But he has seen his production drastically drop over the past several seasons. Jay Bouwmeester is another option.
How Much Will the Team's Prospect System Be Affected?
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This season has exposed fans and even coaching staff about the promising future the Red Wings have in their prospect system.
So far Joakim Andersson, Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist have built off of their limited roles in years past; all three have flourished on the third and fourth lines along with special teams roles.
Petr Mrazek shined in net for two games before being sent back down. While some argue he should be up with the Wings now, they are locked into a contract with Jonas Gustavsson.
Finally, Brian Lashoff has been a pleasant surprise to giving the Red Wings defense a rugged edge.
Not to mention that Martin Frk, Calle Jarnkrok, Xavier Ouellet and Ryan Sproul could all play in Grand Rapids starting next year.
With making trades for any veterans likely means that it takes a hit at the prospects of a organization.
Are the Wings willing to sacrifice a few pieces of their future to still push for a Stanley Cup now? That question remains to be seen.
Does Darren Helm's Return Hamper Any Movement?
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The answer to when Darren Helm may return to the lineup is truly a huge mystery.
We do know that when he returns to the lineup that he will add an element of speed and defensive prowess.
It's just the matter of when he can get back into game shape—also if his skills can be used during the last quarter of the season. So it is likely that Helm is looking forward to the 2013-14 season and getting healthy again.
Does Holland need to trade for another forward to fill Helm's role? Absolutely not.
Currently, Joakim Andersson brings the defensive capabilities that Helm does, but a combination of Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist have filled the speed void. Or at least attempted to.
Helm also has three years left on his contract and trading for a player who works in long term is sending a strong message that they believe he can't get back to being healthy.
Is Valtteri Filppula Going to Be on the Trade Block?
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Valtteri Filppula is without a doubt a budding star in the NHL. He has a strong two-way game, and he is very skilled with the puck on his stick. He makes plays happen, and he serves in nearly every special team role for the Red Wings.
There is a lot to like from this player who is just entering into his prime.
A lot to like that other teams in the NHL might want to inquire about adding Filppula and his expiring deal to their squad.
Which is a good thing for the team considering the relatively weak crop of players said to be available at the trade deadline.
If Holland decides to let go of Filppula, the return investment might be more promising to Red Wings fans than actually keeping Val.
That is of course, if the team puts him on the trade block, which I am speculating they will unlikely do before the April 3 trade deadline.