A trade that will rock Hockeytown will happen this year. The Wings have plenty of cap room left for the coming season. As of now they believe that they have made moves to shore up their defense after the retirement of Brian Rafalski, however should the changes not work then GM Kenny Holland will not be afraid to make a move.
In addition to having cap space to make any needed roster adjustments, Holland also has money for next year’s free agent class. While this season’s free agent roster was rather weak, next year’s is shaping up to be a very good class. The Wings will need to resign Brad Stuart and Niklas Kronwall.
In addition players such as Johnny Boychuck, Zach Parise, Patrick Sharp, Shea Weber, Ryan Sutter, Pekka Rinne, RJ Umberger and Shane Doan are scheduled to be free agents. Rather than waiting until free agency, if it doesn’t appear that any of those players are interested in signing with the current team, Holland can swoop in and make a trade.
The shocking part to the Red Wing faithful is not who will be coming via the trade but who might leave.
Tomas Holmstrom and Todd Bertuzzi are on the wrong side of 35, and while there are plenty of players who still excel after 35, there is always a tipping point in every career. Both of them will be free agents after the season so there would be no long term cap benefit in moving them, but players with their experience that can still play may draw interest.
In addition, as younger players are getting a chance to shine, players such as Valtteri Filppula and Johan Franzen could be used as trade bait to entice a team to make a move on one of their better players.
Suffice to say at this points it is difficult to predict which player it will be, but someone will be getting traded before the season comes to an end.