You had to know it was coming! I struck out last time, guessing correctly on the team we were dealing with (kind of), although I didn't really assume we'd be going for Kyle Quincey. With one of our needs filled, I'm going to take a look at some possible forward targets (both top and bottom six) for the next four days and change. I'm going to try and stay away from the fantasy acquisitions (Parise, Selanne, Vrbata) and find some lower-profile candidates that can come in and contribute right away.
First is the man who would be Apocalypticon's wet dream: Mikhail Grabovski. As far as availability goes:
The Toronto Maple Leafs have an offer on the table right now that would give them a second-round pick and a prospect for Mikhail Grabovski. Brian Burke believes he can sweeten that if necessary, get a first-rounder out of that deal. But again, they're not making that decision until Feb. 27. They know they need him, the preference is to sign him.
So semantically, this one may be able to work, although it would create quite the logjam at the forward spots. If it is to believed that we were the team offering that deal, it is most likely that someone like Emmerton or Mursak will have to be sent down and clear waivers to make space for him. Either way, we're going to have to wait another few days to see what shakes out on the Mikhail Grabovski front. On the season, he's played in 54 games, notching 18 goals and 22 assists with a +7 rating and 4 power play goals. On average this season, he spends 2:18 of his 17:20 minutes of ice time out on the power play, and :19 on the penalty kill. He's in the final year of a 3 year, $8.7 million dollar contract ($2.9 million cap hit).
Candidate number two, and my personal wet dream: Teddy Purcell. No, seriously. If we could get Purcell, I would buy his jersey before melting into a puddle of liquid human. Yzerman has shown he's not afraid to sell, although I'm certain he'd love to have Purcell back. It would take substantial amount to land him, but he's well worth it in my opinion. The 6'2 winger is in the first year of a two year deal that sees a $2.3625 million cap hit so he doesn't fit the rental mould, unfortunately. He has a 15-24-39 line in 58 games this season and, more importantly, he put up 6 goals and 11 assists in 18 playoff contests last season. Sign me up for that Mule-like playoff production. Again, it would take a pretty significant offer, and even with that I don't think Yzerman would be overly willing to part ways with him, but Purcell is a gamer that I would love to see wearing the winged wheel.
The last of the top six forward targets is Andrei Kostitsyn. Not the sexiest name, but he has shown he's been able to put up points in the past. Some may question his drive, but if you're going to be on Pavel Datsyuk's wing and have Mike Babcock as your coach, I don't think that would be much of a problem. The older Kostitsyn brother is on a one year, $3.25 million dollar contract. He's produced 12 goals and 12 points in 51 games with a -7 rating. His playoff numbers leave a bit to be desired, however, with 19 points and a -7 rating in 41 games. If the cost were low (relatively speaking), Kostitsyn might not be such a bad target. Put him next to Franzen and Datsyuk and I think he's not too bad.
Onto the bottom six forwards. Everyone's favorite big bodied grinder in Paul Gaustad is rumored to be available, and it would certainly be a nice addition to our fourth line. The 6'5 pivot has managed to stay +1 on a struggling Buffalo team, also notching 7 goals and 10 assists in 54 games. He's got 38 games of playoffs experience and would be a huge addition to the penalty kill; he logs nearly three minutes a game on the PK. He's in the final year of a four-year deal ($2.3 million cap hit). An all-around sound guy, I don't think you would find many complaints from Wings fans if Holland dealt for him.
The final target is another special teams stalwart but not quite the physical presence, and that's Jeff Halpern of the Washington Capitals. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the free-falling Caps decide to sell this weekend, and Halpern would seem to be one of the candidates to be sent packing. He's on a one year, $825k contract and is past his prime, so he might be had for a very cheap price. He's played 59 games and scored 3 goals and 10 assists with a -2 rating and 38 blocked shots while spending almost two minutes a game on the penalty kill. He also wins about 59% of his faceoffs and brings reliable defensive play to the fourth line center position.
Lots of different ways Holland could go here - that being said, he might be happy the way the team is and make no more moves. Attaining a forward to help the power play or penalty kill would be a luxury at this point, although it may pay off come time when the games start to really matter. Out of these five, who do you want Holland to pursue most aggressively?