While the nature of what we hear from our GM varies as much as the weather, very few people went into this year's NHL Trade Deadline with the idea than Ken Holland wasn't looking to improve the team in preparation for a playoff run to begin in April. We heard for most of the year that Holland wasn't looking for a rental right up until we got close to crunch-time and the tune changed for Holland being completely fine with such a player as long as it didn't come at the cost of their higher-value assets.
To that end, Detroit made two rental moves in acquiring RW Erik Cole from Dallas and D Marek Zidlicky from New Jersey, spending at the very least this year's 2nd and next year's 3rd-round draft selections along with defensive prospect Mattias Backman and center/winger prospect Mattias Janmark-Nylen. Detroit also gained Dallas' 3rd round pick this season, but could lose that, as well as this year's 2015 5th-round selection if they make the Eastern Conference Final. If they make the Stanley Cup Final, they keep the 5th this year, but next year's 3rd becomes a 2nd-rounder instead.
With that in mind, we asked our contributors to briefly weigh in on these moves. Here's what we've got.
I really enjoyed what Ken Holland did this year at the deadline. He acquired two veterans, who are rentals, for reasonable prices. These players were all acquired with expendable assets, and are only altered if Detroit makes the ECF, or the SCF. Marek Zidlicky will bolster the backend of the blue-line, and offer a weapon for special teams. Cole will act as a utility player, and play in all situations. Great moves all around.
The Red Wings made themselves better at this year's trade deadline. They got pieces that actively make the team better at a cost of futures that will only matter in a very dire worst-case scenario that isn't at all likely to happen. Best of all, all the pieces are still in place for Detroit to contend after this year too.
The biggest fear you have at the trade deadline is you pay for a rental, bounce out in the first round, and you spent all that for nothing. In St. Louis they call this phenomenon "spring." This is a real risk, especially as the Wings seem destined for a first-round matchup with the excellent Tampa Bay Lightning. With that in mind, Ken Holland making a couple small improvements while protecting against that scenario is great. If the Wings bounce out in the first round, they've given up a 3rd, downgraded a 2nd to a 3rd, and ditched two prospects who were headed the wrong direction. This isn't necessarily peanuts, but it pales in comparison to what a couple teams shelled out. Protecting the top 4-5 prospects AND keeping the 1st rounder in what promises to be a loaded draft is a big win. The price gets a tad higher if the Wings make the conference finals and moreso if they make the Cup finals, but if Detroit makes it that far, you'll be hard-pressed to find a Wings fan that's mad about what happened at the trade deadline. That's why this was a B+/A- deadline for the Wings.
I am very pleased with the Wings' moves. We improved both on offense and defense while not giving up anything too significant in return. Ken Holland knows that the Wings have a chance to go far in the playoffs this season, and adding Erik Cole and Marek Zidlicky makes the team an even stronger competitor than it was before. We are a deeper and more skilled hockey team than we were yesterday morning. Good job Kenny!
The last 24 hours have been good for Red Wings fans. When the Erik Cole deal was announced for 2 prospects and a 2nd, we all held our breath that it wasn't another David Legwand/Calle Jarnkrok situation. Thankfully it wasn't. The Red Wings didn't make any blockbuster trades, but the additions of Cole and Marek Zidlicky add some nice depth and different elements to the roster... especially in the case of injury. There weren't any ridiculous assets given up either. Ultimately, the biggest reward at this trade deadline might be the fact that the fan base's faith in Ken Holland has been somewhat restored.
Overall it's hard not to be happy with the deals the Wings made. They picked up 2 guys who should make the lineup better and they did so without giving up anyone on the current roster or in the system that was projected to be a contributor. What's even better is the signal to the team and to the fans that they are trying to win a Stanley Cup, because these aren't the kind of moves you make as part of a rebuild. Ken Holland was able to pick up Cole and Zidlicky without sacrificing the rebuild in any way, something that should make fans happy both this year and in the future. While neither player they got was a superstar, both will add much-needed depth to a lineup that is still pretty thin and still fairly young. What a difference a year makes, eh?
Today was a good day for the Red Wings. Ken Holland made two moves that make the team better, and he gave up very little in return. With all the crazy prices other GM's were paying for players, I was fully prepared for the Wings not to make a move, and I was perfectly ok with that. The Wings picked up two players who give the team more depth at both forward and defense, and we gave up nothing of real consequence. No 1st or 2nd round picks, and 2 prospects who were probably never going to be Red Wings anyway. It's hard to find the downside to either trade, and Ken Holland comes out smelling quite nice. Zidlicky isn't Phaneuf, but Phaneuf isn't worth what Toronto is asking for, and no way in hell I'd want the Wings to give up what they're asking for, so I'm glad Kenny didn't pull that trigger. I give Red Wings NHL deadline day two thumbs up.
For the last six weeks or so, everyone (including Ken Holland) swore up and down that the Red Wings shouldn't just make a "depth move" at the deadline; they needed to be bold or stay put. Since then, we've seen the emergence of Alexey Marchenko as yet another viable option on the blue line, Detroit's even strength scoring rate continue to produce at less than league average levels, and a market that was very seller friendly, to say the least. When we published our Marek Zidlicky trade speculation piece an astounding 86% of the over 1,000 of you surveyed were against the idea, yet the past 24 hour's moves have been met with near-universal approval. That's because in a trade deadline that saw teams handing out first and second round picks (plus prospects) for rentals, Holland added useful pieces in Zidlicky and Erik Cole for less than that while addressing what has become the biggest concern with the team: goal scoring.
I agree with everybody else.