BUFFALO, NY — Oh baby, the rumor mill is going. Not really, though. It’s been pretty quiet on the Red Wings trade front as we inch closer to the 2016 NHL Draft. As a matter of fact, it seems to be pretty quiet around the league as a whole. We’ve managed to at least create some speculation with some defensemen that are reportedly available - Names such as Kevin Shattenkirk, Jacob Trouba, and Cam Fowler.
Helene St. James of the Free Press wrote an article about Fowler, and what might be worth giving up to acquire the 24-year-old defenseman out of Windsor, Ontario:
As always, the issue is price. Would it make sense for this year's 16th overall pick and a good prospect? Yes. But what if the price is this year's first-round pick and promising right-winger Anthony Mantha? That'd be a steep price, but high-end young defensemen are hard to come by, unless drafted and developed from within and the Wings don't have a Fowler within their system.
I’ll go ahead and say it right now - No.
Cam Fowler is not a suitable number two. Not only do basic stats show us this, but underlying numbers and advanced analytics show us it as well. Don’t believe me?
Our stats guru, Prashanth:
On Fowler: let's not trade for him and instead play these guys? pic.twitter.com/OejKiKVbJe— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) June 24, 2016
As you can see, plain as day, Fowler is not a number two defenseman, and certainly would not be worth trading 16th overall plus one of your top prospects for. I understand the need, as the Red Wings defense has been comparable to three-day-old garbage juice that has sat in the sun, but the last thing they need is another thing to weigh it down. Out of the three defensemen I named above, Fowler should be the last one considered as a possible trade target.
It’s pretty simple for me - If you can’t get Jacob Trouba, you get Kevin Shattenkirk, you hang up the phone and call it a day. I’m sure Fowler could flourish in a new system, but I do not think that system is in Detroit.