The Detroit Red Wings made the smart choice. They traded defenseman Brendan Smith to the New York Rangers for a 2nd round pick in 2018 and a 3rd round pick in 2017.
It has been obvious for a few months now that the Red Wings, for the long term success of the franchise, needed to be sellers. And with today’s trade General Manager Ken Holland finally admitted it is time.
Smith was set to become an unrestricted free agent in July, and with a little over $67 million committed to the cap next season there was not much room for a Smith extension, especially with some of the other contacts the Wings have on the books. There was talk of possibly extending Smith but the two sides could not agree to terms. With the contracts Holland has handed out it prevented even a reasonable deal for Smith could get made to remain here.
This type of deal for a core player like Smith is the first for the Red Wings in a really long time. Getting assets for the future has been the calling card this season after the team has struggled. This deal is encouraging going into tomorrows 3pm trade deadline, in that more deals like this may follow.
Smith, from being a healthy scratch in key games last season, one could tell his time was coming to an end in Detroit. Regardless whether you felt the Wings misused Smith during his time here, or if you feel he should be in the top of the defensive depth charts here, it was clear when guys like Jonathan Ericsson were playing and Smith was scratched that there was no future for Smith in Detroit.
When you’re in the situation the Red Wings are in getting prospects and draft picks is always a smart idea. Now it is up to the scouting staff and Holland to use these two picks in the next two drafts to add to the prospect pool in Detroit and find the next good Red Wing players. If they use these two picks wisely, the Red Wings have a chance to make this a great deal.
With the current cap situation it has become clear the best way to fix the defense is through the draft, yes that means we have to be patient, but for a last place team with little to no cap space and bad contracts there are no quick fixes. Now if the Red Wings do not make a few more of these type of deals to help in this cause, mainly Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott, we’ll all be scratching our heads trying to figure out the true direction of the team.