The NHL trade deadline is March 3, shortly after the Winter Olympics end. That leaves the Wings a little under two months to evaluate the team, pinpoint needs and identify which players they can acquire to fill those needs.
I highly suspect the Red Wings will be buyers come the deadline, and will need bargaining chips in order to do so. Players like Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm, and Drew Miller have given the Wings the luxury of being able to move other players and address needs.
These are the players that have become expendable as a result of younger players stepping up and assuming larger roles on the team.
This was a signing I never understood.
Jason Williams doesn’t offer the Wings anything they don’t already have in the form of younger, faster players with more upside. While he has been injured most of the season, Williams, when healthy, was nothing more than a forward with below average scoring ability and average defensive awareness.
Granted, the Wings didn’t break the bank to sign him.
He singed a one-year contract, so teams may be interested in him because he’ll free up money in the offseason. It would be nice for the Wings to get something out of his signing. In order to move him, he’d have to be packaged with other players or draft picks.
Bringing in Brad May just made the Wings slower and less talented.
I understand the compulsion to bring in a guy like May. You want to have some protection for guys like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. But the Wings had already signed Todd Bertuzzi, who actually has skill to pair with his toughness.
May is one of the last of a dying breed. The traditional enforcer is slowly becoming outdated in this new NHL. One-dimensional players won’t cut it anymore. Maybe a team like Washington or Boston will be looking to add some grit for the playoffs.
Here begins the part of the slideshow that die-hard, long-time Wings fans are going to hate me for.
Kris Draper’s time is coming to an end.
Here was a player that made a name for himself with hard work and effort. These days you hardly hear his name mentioned in games. He is seeing almost a full five minutes less in average ice time per game.
That can be attributed almost solely to Darren Helm. Watching Helm play is like looking at a 22 year-old Draper. Because of this, Draper has lost his value on the team.
If GM Ken Holland can see through the nostalgia, Draper should be on the move to a young team looking for leadership and experience. Buffalo, Montreal, L.A.?
The Grind Line has been upgraded and supercharged.
Abdelkader, Miller, Eaves, and Helm all play the style that Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper and Darren McCarty made famous. The problem for Maltby and Draper is, the kids do it better now.
Maltby’s time here was great, but he’s nowhere near the player he used to be. The only thing keeping Holland from moving Maltby is nostalgia, and nostalgia doesn’t win cups. Young teams in the playoff hunt could do would love to have a vet like Maltby around for a stretch run.
This all brings us to Chris Osgood.
The emergence of Jimmy Howard has signaled the end for Ozzy here. It’s time the Wings got something of value for him.
Ken Holland can point to his past two playoff runs and get maximum value from someone like Washington, Philadelphia, or Ottawa. Not only would those teams be addressing their glaring need in net, but being dealt to the East minimizes the chance of Ozzy coming back to haunt the Wings.
One of those teams would have to throw a goalie in the deal, as I doubt Thomas McCollum or Daniel Larsson are ready for backup duty just yet.