The Detroit Red Wings have something they have not had in a while—salary cap space. Lots of cap space at that; somewhere in the neighborhood (per CapGeek.com) of $5.6 million dollars.
So naturally, the tendency in past years has been to lose the cap space and gain another player or two.
This season, Detroit does not seem to be lacking in a given area yet this season.
Detroit is dominating at home, riding a 10 game winning streak at the Joe Louis Arena, but the road is a different story, as Detroit owns a sub .500 record away from home.
The Red Wings GM Ken Holland did not panic during the losing streak stating that now would not be the right time to make a trade.
But what about at the trade deadline?
The Red Wings have been quiet at recent past trade deadlines, their only move shipping Ville Leino away sort of backfired so I wouldn't blame them for being quiet at trade deadlines since then.
But what about the upcoming deadline that is just over two months away?
Could Detroit makes some moves then?
I will outline four trades that they should pursue to fill some of the $5.6 million in cap space that they currently possess.
Earlier in the season, there were some rumblings that with Anaheim's slow start, Bobby Ryan might be on his way out of Anaheim.
Well three weeks and a head coach firing later, Bobby Ryan is still in Anaheim.
Playing under Bruce Boudreau, the Ducks still find themselves 14 points out of a playoff position.
If this doesn't change by late January, Ryan could hit the block again just to see what kind of interest and possible compensation there would be for him.
Detroit doesn't really need another top six forward unless it is a goal scorer, as the Red Wings have enough good play makers to go around.
Ryan has put up 31 goals or more for the past three seasons, and although he is struggling this season with the listless Ducks slump, a move to Detroit would likely see him re-generate that offense.
Ryan has 10 goals and 17 points in 32 games—not exactly the kind of offense that inspires great faith.
But having said that, the Red Wings could get him at a discount value wise.
Perhaps a trade looking something like this:
Bobby Ryan (cap hit of $5.1 million until 2014-15)
Dan Cleary, (cap hit of $2.8 million until end of 2012-13 season. His no-trade clause expires 30 days before this upcoming trade deadline)
Brendan Smith (cap hit of $875,000 until end of 2012-13 season).
On top of that, probably Detroit's first round pick in 2012.
Cleary has been slow in finding his offensive game this season, and he is a gritty forward that the Ducks could really use to get more traffic to the front of the net.
Brendan Smith is Detroit's biggest defensive prospect at this point, and he could likely start contributing this season for Anaheim.
But would it be worth all of that for Ryan?
For his current salary of $2.65 million, Sami Pahlsson might not have the best stat line.
Seven points in 32 games.
Now this might not seem like the best way to fill Detroit's cap space, But Pahlsson is not really the point producer in the world as evidenced by his career high in points of 26 points back in 2006-07 or his career high of 11 goals back in 2005-06.
But Pahlsson brings the "X" factor in his willingness to play well in his own zone.
Pahlsson plays only 12 minutes per game, but averages just over two minutes per game on the penalty kill.
He has 60 hits in 32 games, and he's plus-13 in the takeaway department.
What I really like about Pahlsson is his size.
Listed at 6'0" 202 pounds, Pahlsson brings the size that Detroit's third and fourth lines seem to lack.
Looking up and down the third and fourth lines, only Justin Abdelkader and Dan Cleary are bigger than Pahlsson.
Pahlsson is a better skater than Tomas Holmstrom who has been taking shifts on the fourth line and for this reason, I think picking up the remained of his $2.65 million salary is a great idea especially towards the trade deadline when the Columbus Blue Jackets might become sellers.
Pahlsson's contract is up at the end of the season, so maybe something like a fifth or sixth round pick would be enough to procure him from Columbus.
Well news flash to Islanders GM Garth Snow: You have too many goalies.
Garth Snow's squad is looking, well, bad.
At 14th in the Eastern Conference, the Islanders are looking like a sure bet to miss the playoffs once again in the increasingly competitive Eastern Conference.
So why not get some compensation for a goalie who doesn't want to be there in the first place?
Detroit originally signed Nabokov, so the fact that Nabokov has a "no movement clause" is largely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.
The Islanders will be looking to re-build through the draft next season as they cannot seem to hire any big-name free agents during free agency.
Nabokov does not have the best stats with the Islanders at 1-5-0, with a 2.83 GAA, but his 91.0 save percentage still shows that with a better team, Nabokov could benefit greatly.
As Detroit's current back-up goalie Ty Conklin has done nothing to inspire hope, (1-3-0, a 3.27 GAA, and a 88.9 save percentage) so now might be the perfect time to dangle a draft pick (fourtth round or below) or a prospect in front of Garth Snow to see if he might budge and trade Nabokov and his miniscule $570,000 contract to Detroit to strengthen the Red Wings goaltending going into the playoffs.
Travis Moen is a guy that every GM wishes they had a version of in their lineup.
A big powerful grinder that can score, and can eat penalty kill minutes. Moen's eight goals through 31 games, put him on a pace for a career high of 20 goals.
This may not seem like a lot for a player in general, but Moen is a grinder, averaging only 12 minutes a game, with two of those minutes on the penalty kill.
Moen also is shooting the lights out, as his shooting percentage is an eye-popping 25 percent.
He plays the game well in his own zone, and although Montreal is only two points out of the playoffs, if they cannot do better than their 3-3-4 record in their last 10 games, they will have a difficult time going forward in attempting to make the playoffs.
Moen and his 6'2" 215-pound frame would be of great use on the Detroit Red Wings third or fourth line.
If he continues at his torrid shooting percentage, he might even find himself as a top-six forward for Mike Babcock's Red Wings.
Moen would not come cheap to Detroit in terms of trade compensation.
But at 29 years old, Moen still has plenty of gas left in the tank and has shown that he knows what it takes to be a solid two-way forward in the NHL.
His $1.5 million salary would not break the bank either, leaving Detroit space to go after someone else if they chose.
His contract is also up at the end of the season, meaning he could be a rental player if he did not materialize with Detroit.
If a deal were to materialize, I would expect Detroit to offer somewhere in the neighborhood of a third round pick and possibly a prospect for Moen.
The Detroit Red Wings do not need a lot of tweaking going forward throughout the rest of the season and into the playoffs.
But the things that they could benefit from are very clear:
A capable backup goalie, and a bigger (in size) third or fourth liner, who can help out on the penalty kill.
Detroit could go high profile instead and pick up a Bobby Ryan-like player, but I cannot see the financially prudent Ken Holland breaking the bank this trade deadline.
A trade for a bigger penalty killing third or fourth line player should be his top priority, as Detroit is still ranked just 20th in the league on the penalty kill.
Travis Moen's stock instantly goes up when looking at the penalty kill as Montreal is second in the NHL in the penalty kill at almost 89 percent.
Yes a blockbuster trade would be nice, but don't look for Detroit to pull out a "joker" card here at the trade deadline.
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