The Detroit Red Wings need to find a solution quickly, as training camp is just two weeks away, and the team is now left without the services of its captain and leader Henrik Zetterberg. Earlier this week, Zetterberg annonced that he will not be present at the start of the training camp or for the beginning of the season. According to Chris Johnston of Sportnet, the Red Wings captain revealed "that his back issues will force him to miss Red Wings training camp and the start of the season: "I have not been able to train and I can not play NHL matches without being well prepared, especially not at my age."
General manager Ken Holland is now looking for a way to fill the void left by his captain, and a trade might be in order to help the team before the season begins. According to team insider Ansar Khan of MLive.com, the team could use forward Andreas Athanasiou as trade bait to get some help on the market, or use him in a third-line centre role.
If the Wings decide to trade him they’ll want a player who can help them immediately, however Khan believes the Wings might shop for a defenseman instead.
"The inconsistency has resulted in Athanasiou's name being floated in trade rumors. If the Red Wings were to trade him, it won't likely be for a draft pick, they'd likely want a player who could step into their lineup, preferably a defenseman."
The Wings could choose to give Athanasiou a final test and see if there is a fit for him long term in Detroit. As noted in Khan's player profile, Athanasiou's speed and offensive skills are enticing, however, he lacks consistency and this could be a make or break for the young forward. It is believed the Wings will take the time to assess his performance ahead of the trade deadline, and could move him then, depending on the results of their analysis.
The Wings will get some some much-needed salary-cap flexibility if Zetterberg and his $6.083-million cap hit get placed on long-term injured reserve to start the season. If Detroit falls out of playoff contention, the Wings could use that cap space to take back salary from contending clubs while moving players at the trade deadline. And it could include Athanasiou...