The NHL trade deadline is less than a week away.
Will the Detroit Red Wings have a more active role in it this time around?
The Detroit Red Wings don't look to have any gaping holes in their lineup, but there are a few small changes that GM Ken Holland could make before the April 3, 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.
Here is a primer for the Detroit Red Wings at the trade deadline.
With this trade deadline likely being a "seller's market" due to the number of teams still left in the playoff picture on April 3, there might be less players available than what fans might be inclined to think. Having said that, there are still a number of pieces in play.
The 26-year-old defenseman is signed to a contract for another three seasons after this one at a cap-hit of $5.25 million per season (per CapGeek). Although Yandle is seen as a building block for a Coyotes franchise that struggled until making it to the Western Conference Finals last season, he could be a key asset in getting back even more from the Red Wings, as the Red Wings have some pieces that Phoenix could really use.
Yandle has six goals and 13 assists in 34 games this season. He could help the Red Wings get over the hump as far as lack of a true offensive defenseman is concerned. There are nine NHL defensemen under contract with the Red Wings. Few of those would be in the same ball park as Yandle, offensively speaking.
There are some players where it is better to be on the same team as that player than have to face that player. Clowe is one of those players. Despite having an abysmal offensive season this year (no goals and 11 assists in 27 games) Clowe has 62 shots on goal and 68 hits, according to NHL.com.
Clowe can be a very physical player and he averages 16:22 of ice time per game, meaning he can play tough minutes when needed as well. He will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and has the ability to play in either the top-six or bottom-six group of forwards, depending on which part of the lineup needs more size. Clowe does have a full no-trade clause (per CapGeek), so any move would have to be approved of by Clowe.
With the Washington Capitals still not in playoff contention, pending UFA Mike Ribeiro could be moved at the deadline. Ribeiro has 35 points in 33 games, including 17 points on the power play. Ribeiro is a perfect candidate to play second-line center—a position the Red Wings have never truly been able to fill lately.
The downside to Ribeiro is his faceoff winning percentage (under 48 percent at home and under 37 percent on the road). For a puck-possession team like the Red Wings, that could be a deciding factor as far as whether the team wants to make a move for the 33-year-old center.
Valtteri Filppula is in his contract year with the Red Wings. After posting career bests in goals (23), assists (43) and points (66) last year, Filppula is due a raise from his current $3 million cap hit (per CapGeek). If the Red Wings were able to rent a center like Mike Ribeiro, it would make Filppula expendable as he has just 13 points in 24 games this season.
Jakub Kindl has come on nicely this season as far as offensive and defensive responsibility is concerned. Kindl leads the Red Wings in plus-minus with a plus-17 rating to go along with eight assists and 11 points. Kindl also has 22 giveaways (compared to just two takeaways), meaning he is a prime suspect to give away at this trade deadline.
Another reason to trade Kindl is that he will be a restricted free agent and likely want more money this offseason from his current entry-level deal.
Danny Cleary has also had a subpar season, as he has struggled with just seven goals and 10 points in 34 games played. Cleary has looked lost on the ice this season, as he has struggled to find his groove offensively.
He is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason and would do well to find a new place to play before free agency rolls around. Cleary has been used on virtually every Red Wings' line this season, but has yet to really thrive on any line.
Ian White has been scratched from several games this season as a healthy scratch. As the Red Wings have nine defensemen signed to NHL contracts, it makes it difficult to play all nine (especially when most of them are healthy) on a regular basis.
According to Ansar Khan of MLive, White has expressed frustration and surprise at being a healthy scratch this season, so look to Ken Holland to try and move one or more of his soon-to-be free-agent defensemen before the deadline.
Dan DeKeyser is something else. The undrafted free-agent defenseman from Western Michigan university looks a lot bigger than he is.
He shoots the puck extremely hard (as can be seen in the video above) and has been described by Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill as playing "a safe, smart game'' (via Ansar Khan of MLive).
News where DeKeyser will be playing could come as early as tomorrow, according to John Shannon of Sportsnet.
Told by agent Don Meehan, that Dan DeKeyser will make a decision on a team before noon tomorrow.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) March 29, 2013
With Darren Helm having played just one game this season and Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson having missed substantial time as well with injuries, the biggest "acquisitions" the Red Wings can make before (or after) the trade deadline might actually be to get these players back.
According to Mike Babcock, Darren Helm is "the best third-line center" in the league when healthy (via Carlos Manarrez of the Detroit Free Press).
If this were the case, it goes without saying that the Red Wings would be getting a tremendous piece back into their lineup if he was able to come back.
Bertuzzi is also an important member of this team when healthy, but the Red Wings have been playing without Bertuzzi, Helm and Samuelsson for the better part of the season now. If any of those three players were able to come back to the lineup, it would be like acquiring a new player via trade.
Ah yes, the age-old question: Will the Red Wings be active on or before deadline day?
With there being a seller's market (or a place where the sellers can essentially name their price) for the trade deadline, the chances that the Red Wings end up doing any trading leading up to trade deadline day are slim to none.
The biggest acquisition, aside from getting a player back from injured reserve, that the Red Wings can look for right now is getting the free-agent defenseman Danny DeKeyser.
If the Red Wings sign DeKeyser, he might provide an instant upgrade, but there will most likely be a steep learning curve as there is with all new NHL players.
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