Everyone in the NHL probably has their alarm set for 3pm ET on Wednesday, the exact time of the NHL's trade deadline for this season. The people, and by people I mean sports media, have asked, and Ken Holland has provided some answers. If you remember, Holland has already talked about wanting to make a "hockey trade" instead of going after a rental:
"I think first off, what’s the expense of the rental?" Holland said. "I think it’s hard to trade a top prospect or a first-round draft pick to rent a player. At the same time, we’re always looking to upgrade.
So ideally, any trade Holland pulls the trigger on before Wednesday is something we'll be talking about through next season. Who else is out there that hasn't been talked about yet?
Kyle already talked about the other Buffalo trade target, but there's another blueliner that could be had in Henrik Tallinder. He was a part of a salary dump move by the New Jersey Devils in the offseason, and he came back from the Olympics with a silver medal as part of Team Sweden, playing all of forty seconds in the gold medal game. Despite supposedly excelling as a shutdown defenseman, he is playing significant time on a bad Buffalo team. Whether he improves any aspect of the Detroit defense is doubtful. What's worse for the prospect of this trade happening, Tallinder is in the last year of his current contract, and at age 35, the Red Wings should not be committing assets to acquire Tallinder, and then a roster spot to hold on to him. For Ken Holland, trading for Tallinder is a near-textbook example of a rental acquisition that he already is leaning heavily against. Though if nothing else, at least he has a 100% faceoff percentage!
On the other side of the defensive spectrum, we have Tom Gilbert of the Florida Panthers. Minnesota decided he was worth one of their compliance buyouts on his old $4mil cap hit of a contract. Looking for a job, he attended Florida's training camp this season and signed for pennies days before the regular season started. Gilbert's a mobile defenseman that should excel with getting the puck out of the zone, something the Detroit transition game has missed quite a bit in the past season and a half. Despite the points he puts up--he's currently tied with Brian Campbell for the scoring lead on the Florida defense with 26 points--Gilbert is prone to mistakes with the puck and isn't terribly comfortable in his own zone. His deal with Florida is just for one year, and who knows what kind of money he would look for in an extension. There no certainty of what kind of assets it would take to acquire Gilbert, but Holland getting him probably means there's a reasonable extension coming with him.
Ryan Kesler Again?
Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review identifies "sources" that say stuff about Ryan Kesler and the Red Wings:
Aside from the Penguins and Blackhawks, Kesler also would accept trades to Philadelphia and Detroit, the sources said.
So instead of quashing any rumor or hope of Kesler coming to Detroit and the price that would have to be paid to acquire him or the potential logjam at forward, we now have to consider what J.J. already said about the Livonia native. Moreover, there are now other things to consider since "sources" are apparently serious that Pittsburgh is heavily pursuing Kesler.
A proposed deal would send Kesler to the Penguins in exchange for center Brandon Sutter, two 2014 draft picks — likely a first- and third-round — and the Canucks' choice of defensemen Simon Despres or Brian Dumoulin, the sources said.
Brandon Sutter, two draft picks, and a defenseman. So that probably works out to something on the order of Darren Helm, the same two picks in the first and third round this year, and likely Brendan Smith. Removed from context, as just a hockey value trade, the Red Wings probably win this hypothetical deal, especially since Kesler is already signed at a not-super-outrageous $5mil cap hit; you would hope a first-round pick by a playoff team, which the Red Wings hope to be, would project out to a Ryan Kesler. Throw back in all the context J.J. talked about in his Kesler post, and the deal looks a lot less rosy.
Whether Holland does anything in the next few days, he's certainly not terribly worried about the roster he currently has, even with Zetterberg out until potentially the second round of the playoffs.
“Last year we were one point from missing the playoffs, and we were also one shot away from making the final four. That’s today’s N.H.L. It’s so close.”
Holland certainly appreciates the fine line his team walks, especially given their current spot in the standings with what feels like so many games to go. He's not a buyer, he's not a seller, but he'll still do his job and improve the team however he can. He'll roll with his team, no matter how many fantasy trades we think of as absolutely necessary for the Red Wings to compete for a Stanley Cup this year.