Trading Game: Cap Casualties

A lot of big trades have gone down recently and were topped off yesterday by the shipping of Ilya Kovalchuk to the New Jersey Devils from Atlanta. Add in the arrivals of Phaneuf and Giguere to Toronto and the departures of several Maple Leafs in those deals, the market has been shaken considerably. 

Should Wings fans expect a blockbuster anytime soon? No, probably not. But there will be moves to get rid of cap room as Johan Franzen return to the line-up and begins counting against the cap again. Expect trades for draft picks or prospects only as the Wings are trying to get rid of cap money, not add to it. 

Wings need to clear $700,000 by Franzen's return, so let's take a look at some of the ways that money can be cleared up. I'll pass up on the expected Brad May, Brett Lebda, Derek Meech, or even Ville Leino scenarios for some of the more unexpected but possible moves. Keep in mind, these are not at all being talked about (at least to my knowledge) and are rather interesting talking points and options for the Wings moving forward.

Jason Williams
$1,500,000

This one really stuck in my head after motownchollis brought it up on The Obstructed View Episode 8. Williams has done very little for this team--and yes, I know it's because of injury--so I wouldn't be surprised if the Wings tried to get something for him and clear a large chunk of cap room at the same time. Williams is a very viable trade option given his past success with smaller market teams like Columbus and Atlanta so perhaps a team in the East looking to make a playoff push. The only downside to trading Williams is the very small likelihood that anyone would take a chance on a guy that has spent the majority of the season injured; you don't know what you'll get.

See the rest of the options the Wings have after the jump...

Kirk Maltby
$883,333

I know, I know. Malts has done a whole hell of a lot for the Wings and I sure wouldn't want to see him go via trade. He does however free up a big chunk of change and the chances that he retires or isn't offered a contract by Detroit in the off-season are pretty high. The only drawback to dealing Maltby is the limited returns. Although a tenacious penalty killer and grinder (and word warrior extraordinaire) , Mallts doesn't offer all that much on the offensive side. The Wings don't need to get much for Maltby and probably aren't looking for much, but the offensive numbers also limit the trade marketability. Then there's the loyalty factor. Detroit likes the players that have been loyal to them and will likely return the favor to Maltby.

Chris Osgood
$1,416,667

Before you write an angry e-mail, at least read the argument for this. Osgood is due to make the same amount of money next year and moving him before the deadline would accomplish a few things.

  1. Free up all of the $700,000 before Franzen comes back and a good chunk of the $1.9 million or so that it will take for Lilja to come back. 
  2. Getting rid of that cap space this year would free up a lot of money for signings in the offseason--more money available for guys like Holmstrom, Helm, Lidstrom, Eaves, Bertuzzi and the like.
  3. Daniel Larsson is scheduled to become a free agent  when his entry-level contract expires this summer and what better way to determine if he is capable and/or deserving of being the future back-up to Jimmy Howard? At this point, all signs are pointing to Jimmy Howard being the starter for the majority of the regular season games remaining as well as the next few years and with one year left on his contract, Osgood might be the odd man out sooner rather than later.
  4. A lot of fans have become upset with the way Osgood and primarily his mouth have handled his time on the bench. Fans will respect what he's done in the past but he hasn't had the play to back up his words this year.
  5. Give Osgood a chance to actually play somewhere. Some teams making the push for the playoff are in desperate need of a guy that can consistently spell their starter down the stretch and provide valuable playoff experience.
Will Osgood be moved? As with Kirk Maltby, not in a million years. The Wings old-fashioned "service record" preference could save a lot of the guys that are potential trading block material. Osgood's past will save him from being moved and he probably deserves staying in all reality.Throwing Larsson from the AHL into back-up spot would be a tough test, especially when the Wings are trying to make the playoffs by the skin of their teeth.

As I said before, don't at all take these to be trades in the making, they're simply interesting talking points. And that's exactly what we want you to do--talk to us about what you think on these three and whether you think any of them are actual possibilities. 
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