Good morning and welcome to March 1st. We’re in an interesting position here as Wings fans: for the first time in a very very long time, Detroit is poised to sell at the deadline rather than standing pat or buying. Here’s a quick rundown of things we’ll be keeping an eye on today.
The good news is that the Wings are coming off a win in Vancouver last night and that Thomas Vanek didn’t hurt himself in the 13:29 he played. Kenny Holland took a gamble on the lineup here to get one guy traded and it seems to have worked out.
What’s Already Gone Down
Steve Ott was traded to Montreal for a 6th round pick in 2018 - The Habs already had Andrew Shaw, but apparently wanted his prototype for spare parts heading into the playoffs and gave actual real-life assets to rent the guy with an $800K cap hit for the remainder of the season. Any value for this trade would have been good. Making it a 2018 instead of a 2017 is a fun way to spread out the value though. Ott is the definition of intangibles so any good stuff that happens to Montreal is to his credit from here on out.
Tomas Jurco was traded to Chicago for a 3rd round pick in 2017 - The young Slovak who got off-track in Detroit and never regained his early promise was sent to the Blackhawks for a fresh start to be with fellow Slovak Marian Hossa and fellow Slovak/reclamation project Richard Panik. He’s already played one game for the Hawks and looked pretty good.
Brendan Smith was traded to the Rangers for a 2017 3rd rounder and a 2018 2nd rounder - Another story of unrealized potential heads to a playoff-bound team looking to prove what he couldn’t in Detroit. The haul for Smith was a pleasant surprise for Wings fans, many of whom would have taken future considerations just to move him out of the logjam.
Nick Jensen got a two-year extension - $812,500 is the AAV for the D-man who has impressed in his first real NHL look. Jensen took the opportunity given and has played very well after his first game where he killed two goalies. The question for him now is whether he’ll be protected in the expansion draft.
What’s Still on the Table
Thomas Vanek - The best rental piece the Wings have available took a $2.6M show-me deal from Ken Holland last summer and has spent this season doing exactly that. While there’s lots of talk about Vanek loving it here, it makes too much sense to move him. the only question is how big a return Holland can get for the guy knowing that Martin Hanzal brought back a haul of his own.
Tomas Tatar - Tatar spent much of last summer answering the question about being a trade possibility when the Wings were hunting for a D-Man. Now that he’s a pending restricted free agent making just $2.75M and is back to at least a respectable scoring pace, he could be an interesting piece to a team looking not only to bolster depth this season, but to hold onto value for a good young forward in future years. Value is hard to call here, but a good prospect should probably be included.
Gustav Nyquist - With one game left on his suspension, Nyquist also brings term with him. $4.75M for all of next season isn’t a steep price for a guy who can’t carry a team, but can definitely play better than what’s happened to the Wings the last two seasons. Just like Tatar, he’s young and carries value beyond being a rental. Picks and prospects would work here too. I personally don’t think either Nyquist or Tatar moves.
Mike Green - There’s no indication the Wings are shopping him. He has a full NTC, and his $6M cap hit this season and the next limits the availability of suitors. Ken Holland would probably have to be blown away by a return to make this deal happen, but crazier things have dropped.
Riley Sheahan - There were rumors earlier in the week about Toronto that were killed when the Leafs got Boyle out of Tampa, but there’s always room for a center among contenders. Sheahan is having a nearly-indescribably bad season after putting up double-digit goals each of the last two. He’s got a $2.075M cap hit and will be an RFA after the 2017-18 season. Holland apparently wanted a first for him and I think he’s the kind of player you could take or leave sitting on that without having to sell low on him.
Probably Off the Table for Now
Netminding - The goalie situation isn’t likely to be fixed prior to the deadline and may have to wait until either the expansion or the regular draft. No need to worry about the Mrazek/Howard issue right now with Howard still battling injury. It’s not impossible, but don’t count on movement there.
Currently, the Wings have just 13 forwards and 6 defensemen on their roster. One of those forwards will still be suspended for Friday’s game. One or two more of those forwards might be traded by the end of the day. The Wings are going to have to either take some roster players back or will have to call up some additional help before the Alberta swing in their road trip kicks off.
One Last Thing
The Wings are currently retaining salary on Jakub Kindl still. They can’t retain salary on more than three players at a time, but can retain up to 50% for anybody they do trade away. With a rebuild looming, cap space to waste is an actual asset, so any of these guys could see the Wings hold back some dough to help the new team out with their cap situations (for the right price, of course).