It’s been the narrative forever with Ken Holland, the inability to make a trade. Now obviously he made up for some of it with the Tatar trade this past year, but it’s more than just trading for draft picks. Speaking of Tatar, he was recently traded as part of the blockbuster that sent Max Pacioretty to Vegas immediately improving the Golden Knights roster. Now what does this have to do with the Red Wings? Well, while trading for draft picks is good and all, and we are starting to see some impact from the young talent they have drafted, it’s almost time for the Red Wings to make a trade that impacts the team right now. When’s the last time Ken Holland made a trade that improved the roster right away? Well, you may have to go all the way back to 2008 when he acquired Brad Stuart. 2008.
So what do I mean by impact trade? Well, to me an “impact trade” is a trade that immediately impacts a team in a positive way and also isn’t a rental player. Essentially it’s a player, or players, you acquire to make your roster better for the long haul. Usually these kind of trades aren’t the one’s that happen at the deadline. So by this definition I don’t consider the likes of Marek Zidlicky, David Legwand, Kyle Quincey, etc. to be impact trades. Those were all rental players that the Red Wings acquired (could argue they shouldn’t have) to what it seemed like just help keep the playoff streak alive.
Also, obviously a teams roster determines how much of an impact a player can make. Adding Brad Stuart to the 2008 team did nothing more than shore up the team’s defensive depth. Adding a 28-year-old Top 4 defenseman nowadays would do A LOT more to help the Red Wings than just add to their depth. So there are plenty of elements that go into what an impact trade is. Examples nowadays are Max Pacioretty to Vegas, Jeff Skinner to Buffalo, Noah Hanifin to Calgary (and Dougie Hamilton to Carolina), etc.
Now, I know this team should be “rebuilding,” but if you look at the young talent they have already gathered, maybe it’s time to jump start that rebuild. You have Larkin, Mantha, Athanasiou, Bertuzzi ready to go right now, Zadina, Hicketts, Rasmussen, Hronek, Svechnikov, Cholowski and Veleno getting closer to knocking at the door. That’s 11 real good young players so what’s the issue with it? Well 8 of them are forwards. Yes, I know Lidstrom retired and the defense has basically sucked ever since, but when are we actually going to address this problem outside of hoping for Erik Karlsson to pick us next offseason?
I get opinions are definitely going to vary on this because it’s a broad topic, but it’s a discussion I feel the Red Wings need to start having. We aren’t exactly in a position to compete quite yet, but it certainly feels like we’re about 2 years away if players continue to develop properly. So why not try and jump start it now before some of these players’ values drop or injuries possibly happen? Not everyone is going to pan out, so may as well find a way to get better now regardless. Now who may be out there the Wings could go for? Here are a few big names off of TSN’s Trade Bait List.
Matt Dumba, 23, RD
Artemi Panarin, 26, LW
Colton Parayko, 25, RD
Jacob Trouba, 24, RD
Justin Faulk, 26, RD
I’m sure everyone has heard the rumors about some of the names on this list, but man, imagine actually landing a Trouba or a Panarin. A young player with elite capabilities already that could instantly help this team would be amazing. Especially a young D like Trouba, Parayko, Dumba, etc. Obviously, these would have more of an “impact” than that of the Todd Bertuzzi or Brad Stuart trades back in the day based off roster talent and the talent of the players listed, but this is the position the Red Wings are in now, to add a close to elite talent to the young core. What would it take? Well that’s obviously another story. It comes down to preference too, like who you think is expendable and who should be untouchable.
Personally, I think Mantha, Athanasiou and Bertuzzi should be on the block. Teams will line up to make a deal happen with 1 or 2 of them involved. Also, maybe it’s time to start trading draft picks too. You obviously sort of anticipate a high draft pick next year, but after that maybe it’s time to start trading out future assets to get better now? I feel this team has hit rock bottom and it’s only going up from here. They probably still won’t be a playoff team this year, but it certainly feels like the young assets are in place to help this team compete in 2-3 years so why not go for even more quality in a player rather than quantity. Outside of a couple free agent signings, I still feel there is more to be done to jump start this team into competition sooner and a trade for an elite player would certainly help.
Note: Started writing this before the Stevie Y news broke. So basically when we eventually hire him now ignore everything I just said because we already won 4 Stanley Cups. LGRW.