2014 NHL Trade Deadline: Last-Minute Deals Detroit Red Wings Should Pursue
The NHL trade deadline is just over 24 hours away (Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET) and Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland is looking for a deal to make the Red Wings better heading down the stretch.
The Red Wings have some "holes" to fill, though these holes are almost more to do with who isn't in the lineup (Henrik Zetterberg), than who the Red Wings could fill the hole with in a trade acquisition.
However, that being said, the Red Wings can always get better. The issue is more with how much they are willing to part with, in terms of assets.
Here are four last-minute deals that the Red Wings should pursue before the NHL trade deadline.
All salary cap data via CapGeek.com.
The Red Wings have an aging core of players and an up-and-coming group of forwards that are not quite ready to take the collective reigns yet and step into top-six positions on a full-time basis.
On account of this, the Red Wings should be looking for players between the 26-30 age range. Players that are older than that are usually rentals with expiring contracts or not worth the weight that would be necessary to get them in a trade.
Having said that, the trades that will be proposed in subsequent slides are designed to improve an area on the team or sustain an area of strength.
The prices are high, but ultimately worth it if the Red Wings can get to the playoffs and play like they did last season—they'll still have a chance to go on a solid run.
The Red Wings are designed to win this season, with Daniel Alfredsson possibly in his last season in the NHL; and while Ken Holland shouldn't "sell the farm," he should give his team a chance to be in a better position to make the playoffs this season.
Ryan Kesler for an Arm, a Leg and the Kitchen Sink
The Canucks are looking for a return in the neighborhood of an arm, a leg and a proverbial kitchen sink, per McKenzie:
[The] defined price is three significant components. a 20 to 25-year-old established National Hockey League centre, who could immediately step into the lineup and fill much of the void created by the loss of Kesler. No. 2, a top-end prospect. Preferably a forward, but if it was a defenceman it would give the Canucks flexibility to trade one of their existing defenceman down the road. And No. 3, a first-round pick.
Detroit Free Press writer Helene St. James suggests that it would "likely cost Justin Abdelkader, either one of Gustav Nyquist/Tomas Tatar/Tomas Jurco, and either a first-round pick or a high-end prospect like Ryan Sproul, Calle Jarnkrok or Teemu Pulkkinen."
While it might seem like a lot to give up, the fact remains that Ryan Kesler is a much better defensive player than Abdelkader is (as evidenced by his Selke Trophy in 2011). Kesler is also head and shoulders better than Abdelkader on offense, as he had back-to-back 70-plus-point seasons in 2009-10 and 2010-11.
While the Livonia, Michigan native turns 30 this August, he is a viable top-six forward (unlike Abdelkader) and can provide an immediate scoring presence for Detroit.
Kesler has one year left on his deal worth $5 million next season, but he would provide the uncommon combination of top-six grit, scoring power and commitment to defense that the Red Wings lack in one specific player other than Johan Franzen.
He would definitely help the Red Wings get to the next level, but albeit, at an extremely steep cost.
To Detroit: Ryan Kesler
To Vancouver: Justin Abdelkader, Tomas Jurco, conditional first-round pick (if Detroit reaches Stanley Cup Final, otherwise reverts to second-round pick)
For the Red Wings to get Alex Edler, they will need to dump some salary going back to Vancouver as well.
Right now, the Red Wings have $1.545 million in cap space at tomorrow's deadline to work with (however it should be noted that Cap Geek has not updated the fact that Henrik Zetterberg has not been placed on LTIR, meaning that there is actually more cap space than there would be otherwise).
While the Red Wings placed Zetterberg on long-term injury reserve (freeing up some cap space in the process), it is not enough money to make an Alex Edler trade happen next season, unless they dump salary before next season.
While this could obviously be done in a few ways, the Red Wings best bet is to make the Canucks an offer they couldn't refuse.
To Detroit: Alex Edler
To Vancouver: Justin Abdelkader, Kyle Quincey (dump salary), fourth-round pick
With the trade of Ryan Miller last week, the Buffalo Sabres essentially constructed a sign that said "almost everything must go."
Christian Ehrhoff has drawn some interest from the Detroit Red Wings, but TSN's Darren Dregger says that "the price would have to come down a bit" for Ehrhoff to be moved.
But Ehrhoff has a front-end-loaded contract at $40 million over 10 years, with seven years remaining after this one. He is only owed $18 million over the next seven years, but the fact that he would need to waive his modified no-trade clause means that there's more than one hoop to jump through to make this deal happen.
The consensus (from The Fourth Period and Pierre LeBrun at ESPN) is that the Red Wings will not "overpay" to get Ehrhoff. But for a defenseman that could be good for the next three or four years, and at least serviceable for the remainder of his contract, the definition of "overpaying" is up for debate.
The bottom line is that Detroit has an abundance of prospects that are not going to be making the Red Wings for a substantial amount of time.
To Detroit: Christian Ehrhoff
To Buffalo: High-end prospect or NHL-caliber roster player, second-round pick
What's not to like about Andrew MacDonald? Not much, statistically speaking.
Sure he plays on the New York Islanders, so his plus-minus is an abysmal minus-19.
But MacDonald is also leading the NHL in blocked shots with 198 so far, and his 24 points would rank second on the Red Wings, behind only Niklas Kronwall's 39.
The price for MacDonald, per Dennis Bernstein from The Fourth Period, is a non-first round draft pick and a decent prospect.
In the last year of a contract with a cap hit of $550,000, MacDonald should be on the Red Wings' radar, as he has proven that he can play big minutes when needed, as he averages the eighth-most time on ice per game at 25:25.
He could easily be the biggest steal of the trade deadline, and Detroit should definitely submit an offer to acquire his services.
To Detroit: Andrew MacDonald
To Islanders: Mid-range prospect, second-round pick