By Ashley Scoby
The Red Wings haven't exactly been tossed around in tons of trade scenario rumors this season. All has been quiet so far, just a few days before the Monday NHL trade deadline.
It's no secret Detroit could use some offense, if they need anything. They're 23rd in the league in goals scored, and the Wings have seen several outstanding goaltending performances this year ruined by the team's inability to score supporting goals. The Wings could use depth on the blue line, but they should join the club: Every team in the NHL would like the same assistance.
This year's trade deadline isn't exactly a buy-or-sell scenario: The Wings are too close to a playoff berth to sell off assets. But their buying power is limited by their salary cap situation. Detroit is within half a million dollars of the cap this year, according to Spotrac, and likely couldn't sign anyone to significant contracts, unless they sold off accompanying contracts of a similar value.
Trade scenarios are fairly limited, in other words. On CBS Sports' running rumor mill this week, Detroit isn't even mentioned.
But the Wings have still popped up in a few rumors. According to ESPN's Pierre Lebrun, Detroit would be looking for top-six help up front, and could sell off lower-end assets to do so. Lebrun also says that Wings general manager Ken Holland is unlikely to unload a first-round draft pick at the deadline. Detroit isn't in desperate enough position to do so.
TSN's Bob McKenzie reported that 10 teams were after Lightning winger Jonathan Drouin, and the Wings could conceivably be in that group.
The Detroit Free Press took a look at 11 players the Wings could potentially pursue, although one (former Winnipeg captain Andrew Ladd) already got snatched up by Chicago on Thursday.
Another point about this year's trade deadline is the sheer number of teams in playoff contention (which usually makes a team less likely to sell off their assets). More buyers than sellers can slow down the trade rumor wheel. Most of the playoff race is tight, and more teams are likely looking to acquire than to have their pieces actually be acquired.
Speaking of pieces, there have been rumblings for a while that the Wings would trade away a struggling Jimmy Howard. But Holland told the Free Press this week that Howard is staying (he has a cap hit this season of more than $5 million).
Outside of Howard, possible trade pieces could include Teemu Pulkkinen, Darren Helm or Kyle Quincey.
Several weeks ago, The Hockey News predicted the Wings would finish off a blockbuster trade for the Lightning's Steve Stamkos. But three days before the deadline, that looks unlikely to come to fruition.
for more features.