Posts tagged “Trade Rumors”

2/25 Post-practice Update

Ansar Khan reports that Nick Lidstrom (knee sprain) could skate as soon as later this week and could return 10-14 days from today. 14 days would put him at three weeks from the injury, while 10 would be closer to the original estimate. Khan makes sure to address the “Internet rumors” about a possible Lidstrom concussion by assuring us Ken Holland and Mike Babcock are denying any such claim.

… Contrary to reports last week, Niklas Kronwall (clavicle) is not expected to play tomorrow night in Edmonton. The

… Dominik Hasek (hip flexor) may be healed enough to perform backup duties for Chris Osgood tomorrow night. If so, the team will send Jimmy Howard back to Grand Rapids.

… Chris Chelios (right leg, chipped fibula) has not skated since going down with his injury and is day-to-day. It looks like he may not be back until after the San Jose and Buffalo games this weekend.

… Brian Rafalski (groin) hasn’t been on the ice since the 21st and remains day-to-day, though he told Khan he’s feeling better.

… Khan provides the lines from practice today:


… Lastly, Holland said he’s looking to address the secondary scoring problem by acquiring a second line forward. He also is looking to add a depth defenseman. As I said earlier today, I’m now convinced that the Wings are pretty well set on defense, so hopefully Kenny won’t spend too much time looking for a veteran blueliner when he could be on the phone for a forward.

Trade Talk

After a month-long absence Dave of Gorilla Crouch is back with a post on possible trades.

I’m sticking with my position, which is that I like the Wings as they are and feel any trade involving a roster player would be worse than no trade at all. Is it really worth it to disrupt a lockerroom that is as good as any this team has ever had?

If they can conjure up a trade involving prospect or some draft picks, fine. Go for it. Otherwise, my thought is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

1/14 Notes

Update (11:05 PM): Be sure to read Pete’s well-thought-out followup post on the Trade Question. Nonetheless, I remain unenthusiastic about trade possibilities.

I guess part of my reluctance in this is due to my belief that too much tinkering (read: any tinkering) would mess up what’s already a good thing. The Wings can always try to “trade up,” I suppose, but why? I’m in basic agreement with HockeyTownTodd on this (from the comments):

I am reluctant to play wannabe GM, and think the Wings should stand pat. The girl should dance with the guy who brought her to the prom.

As long as the Wings are healthy, why would they want to risk screwing up team chemistry for what may only be marginal potential gain? – Matt

Update (10:40 PM): I feel I should clarify my position on the Blake/Lebda/Meech thing. As I said below, I think the argument that the Wings will look to improving their defense at the deadline makes sense, given the consequences of injuries last post-season. That said, I don’t know that a move is really all that necessary.

Derek Meech has played in a grand total of nine games for the Wings this season. In those nine games, he put up zero point. So the kid hasn’t dazzled offensively. But what do you expect? He’s a rookie in the NHL with a precarious spot on one of the deepest teams in the game. It’s perfectly understandable if he plays a conservative game in his position. Heck, it’s probably demanded of him.

He’s minus-2 and that may not be impressive, but this is: he’s taken zero penalties. For comparison’s sake, Kyle Quincey had zero penalty minutes through six games with the Wings in the regular season last year, and just two through 13 playoff games. I’ve frequently seen Quincey touted as a rock-solid young defenseman and part of the reason for that was his conservative play. Why doesn’t Meech get the same credit?

When Meech has been in the lineup, I generally only notice him the first time I see his #14 and think “Shanny…” In my experience, hardly noticing a young defenseman is a good thing. I don’t think Meech is an exception to that rule. There’s no need for him to be flashy or to “show anything.” He just has to do his job, and I think he’s done it pretty well for someone relegated to a practice drone.

There are far worse things than having Derek Meech as a seventh defenseman. A way to improve the situation would be to get him in the lineup more often in the second half. Give Chris Chelios a rest more often. Bench Andreas Lilja after a bad game in order to motivate him. Another “conditioning stint”(I’m told Derek has been “awesome” in his brief return to Grand Rapids, by the way. He should re-join the team late this week.). Whatever it takes to get him some playing time. Then Meech will gain the confidence he needs to stand out more. He’s not going to put up huge numbers, but he’s more than capable of being a solid, steady depth defenseman.

That said, I did write below that, “The team may be better off including Derek Meech in such a trade.” Of course, there I meant relative to trading Brett Lebda, whose upside is greater than Meech’s. I certainly didn’t mean to imply I think they should trade Meech. I’m not a fan of the idea of trading either of them, though if I had to choose, Meech would be the one to go.

My point is this: The Wings can go get a veteran (such as Keith Carney, as suggested by Todd below) if they feel they must and that they can get a good deal. It probably can’t hurt (they’re generally good at finding players that fit with team chemistry). But they also can stick with what they have and probably do okay as well, assuming everyone stays healthy. – Matt

Bruce MacLeod, George Sipple, and Ansar Khan report that Dallas Drake missed practice today due to a knee injury sustained on the same collision in which Ottawa’s Dany Heatley separated his shoulder. The collision happened around the 3:42 mark of the third period Saturday night and was the last time Heatley saw the ice.

Drake, however, was able to play two more shifts before hitting the bench for the final time at 11:21, finishing with just under seven and a half minutes. Drake has started to get less time since the return of Kirk Maltby, so the low TOI wasn’t necessarily due to his knee. He is, however, questionable for the game against Atlanta tomorrow night, though Mike Babcock told Sipple that he thinks Drake will be available.

… All three beat writers also note that a possible replacement for Drake in the lineup, Aaron Downey, hurt his knee in practice when he fell and hyper-extended it. He  did return, though, and seemed none the worse for wear. According to MacLeod, he shared time with Matt Ellis skating on the fourth line.

… According to MacLeod, the team “spent significant time” practicing their power play today. That’s good news as they’ve been pretty ineffective with the man-advantage for a while now. MacLeod has a good piece on that topic here.

… Ansar Khan addresses the Trade Question by claiming Rob Blake would be a better acquisition than Mats Sundin. He presents a good argument, though I wonder if Blake isn’t at the end of the road at 38. He would, as Khan points out, be cheaper than Sundin, though. He’d also fill in an actual need (making the defensive corps an experienced seven), whereas the Swede would be somewhat extraneous on a team already full of forwards.

Pete at yzerman is god is all for Blake and outlines a possible trade scenario involving Brett Lebda.

I have to say that I’d hate to see that happen. As Pete points out, that would probably result in a third pairing of Andreas Lilja and Chris Chelios. Whereas Pete considers that an upgrade over Chelios/Lebda, I’d call it a nightmare. The two slowest defensemen in the same pair? One of the reasons Chelios remains so effective is that he has a smooth skating partner in Lebda. The same goes for Lilja with Lidstrom.  Put them together and they’ll both be relegated to pylon status.

Sure Lebda doesn’t have the size. Sure he’s not producing offensively like he should be. But his speed and skating ability alone makes him worth keeping.

The team may be better off including Derek Meech in such a trade. It would go a long way in clearing the logjam and would give the kid an actual chance to play in the NHL.

Who knows, though, whether the Wings will actually look to Blake to fill out their defense? It stands to reason that they’d want to shore up against injuries this time around, as losing Mathieu Schneider while already down Niklas Kronwall was probably the single biggest reason they were eliminated, but Blake may not be their man. Holland likes to go for guys few people were expecting and the more I hear the Blake rumor, the less I’ll believe it.

… Lastly, the Thrashers are pumped to be visiting Detroit tomorrow night.

On the trade situation

Ansar Khan reports that the Wings are only likely to be in the running for a “second-tier” player at the deadline, given the ridiculously high price at which the Thrashers bought Keith Tkachuk yesterday. It’s hard to disagree, especially as that seemed to be a foregone conclusion as far back as the Stars’ acquisition of Ladislav Nagy. Like Khan, I think it is very unlikely the Wings will be able to swing a deal for Bill Guerin or any other top choice without putting a serious dent in their plans for the future.

I’ve never really bought in to the hysterical rhetoric that the Wings need a top-six forward or else they’re doomed, because, for the most part, I’ve been impressed with the team as it is. I believe such a forward, if attainable at a reasonable price and if he fits in the system, could be useful and helpful, but I hesitate to say that such an acquisition is imperative.

Over the past few weeks, there has been a widespread sentiment in Hockeytown fan circles that Ken Holland needs to go after someone to jump-start the stagnant second line. Why is that? No one was saying such things a few months ago when the second line was tearing it up and the first line was relatively dormant. The Wings have a possible solution on their roster and that is to promote Jiri Hudler and Valtteri Filppula to Robert Lang’s line and to demote Jason Williams to the fourth line with Josh Langfeld and Matt Ellis. Give the kids the kind of ice time they’ve earned and maybe then we’d see the second line start producing.

Even without that mixing of the lines, the second unit’s trouble is not from a lack of talent. It’s called a slump, folks. These things happen and there’s no reason to panic in February about it.

As far as a trade goes, it’s time to give up the idea of the Wings making a big acquisition. Ken Holland may be throwing up a smoke screen on his intentions, but it is clear that he is not going to sell the farm for success now. I believe the team wants to win the Cup this year, of course, but they also want to be in a position to win it down the road. I would not be surprised if they acquired a lesser-known player in the hopes that they turn into a Mikael Samuelsson or a Dan Cleary – i.e. a scorer nurtured by the team’s system.

Holland is not known for making big-name acquisitions at the deadline, but the three names that stick out, Chris Chelios, Mathieu Schneider, and Robert Lang, did not, with the exception of Schneider, cost the team much in terms of its future. A big name player this year will, however, and it is very likely that such a player, especially if you’re talking about Bill Guerin, will be a rental player only. You’ll notice that Chelios, Schneider and Lang are all still with the team. The Wings’ investment has paid off in each of their cases (though there is some argument on that with Lang) and with a rental this time around, they won’t get a fair trade-off without a Cup.

My point here is that I expect the Wings, if they’re able to make a move at all, they are less likely to trade for a big name player than they are to trade for a lesser-known, and thus less satisfactory to the majority of fans, player.

I was skeptical of it when it happened, but I’m now convinced that the Wings made their big push for the Cup when they signed Dominik Hasek over the summer. They are pinning their hopes on him and I actually believe they have a pretty good team surrounding him as it stands today. A defensive forward may actually suit their needs better as they go into the playoffs with a defensive emphasis. I do think they’ll go after a scorer, but don’t be surprised if it’s someone out of the blue and lacking top-tier credentials. I won’t be disappointed in any case, because, like I said above, I’m comfortable with the team the way it is, but I’m willing to admit an addition could be helpful.

Maybe a move that would harm chemistry, which is overall good, the second line’s slump notwithstanding, and disrupt this team’s greatest asset, its defensive prowess, would not be a good thing. One added player probably won’t make the team, but he could break it.

Overall, I’d be more surprised if the Wings get someone than if they don’t. And I’d be more angry if the Wings threw away top prospects for a rental than if they did nothing at all.