The Detroit Red Wings have never been shy to make a move at the trade deadline, and no doubt veteran general manager Ken Holland will keep working the phones to see what’s out there ahead of March 2.
But as he’s re-tooled his team on the fly without bottoming out over the last few seasons, it’s also been important to not give away too many future assets in the process.
It’s a balancing act.
"If we can find a player that can upgrade us at a price we can live with, we’ll do it," Holland told ESPN.com Tuesday.
A year ago, with the Red Wings depleted by an incredible list of injuries, Holland traded center prospect Calle Jarnkrok and a second-round pick to Nashville in exchange for pending unrestricted free-agent center David Legwand. But it was a necessity at the time.
"Last year I paid what I thought was a pretty heavy price," Holland said. "Jarnkrok is playing regular [time] in Nashville this year, plus the second-round pick. But we didn’t have any centers at the time. That morning I got news [Pavel] Datsyuk was down for basically the rest of the regular season. [Darren] Helm had got a concussion two nights earlier and [Henrik] Zetterberg was down with back surgery. So I paid a hefty price. But I think the line of Legwand with [Johan] Franzen and [Gustav] Nyquist certainly for the first 10 games after the trade carried us and gave us hope. And we eventually made the playoffs."
The difference this season, knock on wood, is that the Red Wings have had better luck with health, and their youngsters have another year of experience, too. They’re a deeper and better team.
Now, while Holland would not discuss any specifics, it’s pretty clear in my mind that they could use a piece on defense if there’s anyone out there that makes sense and doesn’t cost the Red Wings a crazy price.
The ultimate would be a top-four guy, but again, is that guy out there? And if so, is he available for a reasonable price?
It might be in the end that a five/six type blueliner is what Detroit ends up getting, if anything.
But what I do sense from the Red Wings is that trading a first-round pick is a non-starter and even a second-round pick won’t move unless it’s part of a package for a top-four guy.