Things have not gone according to plan for Ken Holland and the Detroit Red Wings this season. The team is in a beautiful new building and boasts some top young talent for the first time in several seasons. After adding veteran defenseman Trevor Daley this past offseason and handing out new deals to forwards Tomas Tatar and Andreas Athanasiou, there was reason for optimism amongst Wings fans. Then the puck dropped on 2017-18. Since then… things have gone south.
The Wings currently sit 5th in the NHL’s Atlantic Division with a 13-14-7 record. The playoffs look like a distant dream and the team’s fanbase is calling for a full rebuild. In his latest mailbag column for Mlive.com, Wings insider Ansar Khan takes a look at the team’s biggest trade chips and makes a prediction as to what the team might pull in at the February 26th trade deadline.
“Green is their biggest trade chip,” says Khan sizing up the team’s trade assets. “I think it’s possible they could get a low first (only from a team that is sure it will make the playoffs. If not, maybe they could get two second-rounders, considering they received a second and a third for Brendan Smith last season.”
That would help kick-start the Wings’ rebuild, but what about getting assets for underperforming players like Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar or Petr Mrazek?
I doubt they’ll trade Tatar, after signing him to a four-year, $21.2 million contract last summer. I could see them trying to move Nyquist (who has a no-trade clause) at some point, since he’ll be unrestricted in 2019, but I don’t know if they would do that this year. They will try to move Mrazek if they’re out of the playoff race, but I doubt they would receive anything higher than a third- or fourth-rounder for him.
So, while things look bleak for the Wings right now, they could stand to have an additional three or maybe even four picks at this summer’s 2018 NHL Entry Draft. With youngsters Evgeny Svechnikov and Michael Rasmussen set to make an NHL impact sooner rather than later, a successful draft this summer will be key to the team’s rebuild. If they can scoop up another impact player or two from the draft, the Wings can maybe right the ship and get their franchise headed in the right direction once again.