Red Wings

Talking Red Wings fans down from the ledge after what didn’t happen on deadline day

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We’re now more than 24 hours past the NHL trade deadline and by all account Red Wing fans are still running down Woodward acting as if the sky is falling in Hockeytown. Yes the Wings are fighting for their playoff lives and it was another year that Ken Holland didn’t make that big free agent signing or deal at the deadline to fill some of the holes on the roster. And I’m sure the fans didn’t feel any better seeing teams like Pittsburgh wheeling and dealing like no other, Chicago tinkering with what is already a strong roster and the Columbus Blue Jackets of all teams bringing in a name like Marian Gaborik. It’s also easy to listen to members of the local media, some of which who admittedly don’t watch the NHL consistently call for the Wings to trade for anyone just because they find the product boring or stale.

Wings fans, this isn’t Toronto. We should be better than Leafs fans who seem to do nothing but bitch and moan about who their team should’ve signed or clamor for any available free agent out there. This also isn’t the GM mode in NHL 13 or your fantasy hockey team. Just because you were able to move Franzen and a 2nd round draft pick for Thomas Vanek or were able to take advantage of your drunk buddy’s fantasy roster doesn’t mean Ken Holland or any other GM in the NHL can pull off the same move.

The Wings success over the years hasn’t been based on signing big free agents or making that huge trade at the deadline. Not in the salary cap era.

The salary cap era Wings have been “big players” in the trade market and free agency… Where’s everyone getting that from?

Ken Holland has always been more careful and calculated when dealing with trades and signing free agents. And for the most part it’s worked. The Wings have always made the playoffs, they’ve been to a Conference Finals, a Stanley Cup Finals and have even won the Stanley Cup back in 2008. Yeah I know the comparisons to the Pistons have been made but anyone comparing an NHL team to that of an NBA one is completely foolish.

But what about this season?

Again I’ve stated it before, what Holland did in the offseason then again at trade deadline is pretty much what the Wings have done for the past 8 years.

Boring?

I guess, but was it the right move? It very well could have been and I’ll tell you why…

  • The salary cap will be reduced from $70.2 million to $64.3 million in 2013-14. Currently the Wings are still under that cap at $62.6 million but will have to probably fork over somewhere around $5-6 million to re-sign Jimmy Howard who certainly deserves it. Not to mention some of their own UFA and RFA players who may be worth bringing back such as Valtteri Filppula (as long as it’s reasonable), Gustav Nyquist who will be a RFA, Jakub Kindl (RFA), Brendan Smith (RFA) and Joakim Andersson (RFA).
  • With the cap going down other teams over the cap will have to dump players and some of these players are more than likely going to be quality. The Wings will be in good position to make a move here along with making pitches for other various UFA’s.
  • Remember when I said the Wings’ success during the salary cap era has never really been based on who they sign or bring in via trade? Well for the most part Pittsburgh and Chicago’s success has been based high round draft picks. I’m sure we can all remember Chicago and Pittsburgh being horrific which in turn resulted in those various high draft picks. Now the Wings will have a nice number of picks to work with themselves in the coming years and without having to be one of the worst teams in the League.
  • With draft picks and prospects in mind a lot of teams that did make deals paid a big price in terms of draft picks and those nice young prospects. Whether your talking Jason Pominville to Minnesota, Ben Bishop to Tampa Bay or Marian Gaborik to Columbus each of those teams took significant gambles considering the turnover on success may not be there just yet or may be years away still when talking about Columbus and Tampa Bay. In this case the Wings held on to some of their younger talent as well as their draft picks to continue replenishing their minor league system in the coming seasons.
  • As bad as the Wings have apparently been this season (despite Lidstrom and Stuart leaving, despite all the injuries and despite the roster turnover) they’re still in the playoff hunt. With this in mind it probably would’ve been a little disingenuous to sell off veteran pieces when you’re still fighting for a playoff berth.

All things considered I don’t think it was ever about this season heading into the year. After losing out on Ryan Suter and Zach Parise as well as all the uncertainty surrounding 2012-13 the Wings seemingly opted to weather the storm and re-evaluate this upcoming offseason when there was more certainty.

But now you’re probably wondering about the various rumors surrounding Pavel Datsyuk and whether or not the Wings’ should’ve gone all in this season in anticipation that he goes back to Russia when his contract is up. Well I guess Datsyuk going back to Russia is entirely possible. We’ve heard the rumors and for some reason laid claim that it’s been a slap in the face to Pavel to have to play on a line with Dan Cleary and Justin Abdelkader. What’s amazing is those rumors seemed to jump from being a rumor to full fledged fact without any ounce of confirmation coming to fruition.

Could Datsyuk go back to Russia when his contract is up with the Wings after the 2014 season? Sure it’s possible but it’s also possible he pulls a Barry Sanders and faxes in his retirement to Ken Holland tomorrow. Not to mention Datsyuk becomes a UFA AFTER NEXT SEASON meaning they have all offseason to figure out what they want to do with the team surrounding him.

Speaking of assumptions, I’m still trying to figure out where some people get the idea that the Eastern Conference is some huge power house that going to totally consume the Wings and spit out their dead carcass? Does the Eastern Conference have some equivalent to the DH that makes American League play pretty different than National League play in the MLB?

Now I would’ve loved for the Wings to make a move. I certainly wouldn’t complain if the Wings got a veteran defenseman to help the young blue liners or a pure scorer to add to the top scoring line but it really had to be the right move. Jeff Carter being acquired by the Kings last year was in hindsight the right move but you could very much make that assessment before hand considering he was teaming up with Mike Richards, a guy he had plenty of success with during their time in Philadelphia. Ken Holland doesn’t make moves just for the sake of making a move. If you do that then you become saddled with bloated contracts that could handicap your team for years to come and because of that I’m not going to kill him for the moves he didn’t make.

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