ZADS: Defensive logjam for Wings could lead to trade

By Chris Zadorozny

When Nicklas Lidstrom retired last summer, the Red Wings hoped to sign Ryan Suter as his replacement. That didn’t happen.

In the aftermath, Ken Holland and Co. went out and signed Carlo Colaiacovo in September and hoped young defenseman like Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl and Kyle Quincey could fill the role.

They did, for a bit, but injuries mounted early and the Red Wings called up another youngster in Brian Lashoff, who has turned out to be a real find during this shortened season. They also had a new leader on blueline, Niklas Kronwall, and supposed top-two defenseman in Jonathan Ericsson. They also had their veteran in Ian White.

But as more injuries mounted, the Red Wings were forced to sign yet another defenseman the day of their home opener.

Kent Huskins joined the team and was a great stopgap for the injuries. But now, the defensive core is getting healthy again, and what’s a team to do if things are going right? They keep the same players scratched. It’s an unfortunate situation for the veteran defenseman, White and Huskins.

According to the Red Wings depth chart on their official website, both Huskins and White are not on the top three pairings. The first line consists of Kronwall and Ericsson, followed by Quincey and Smith, and finally, Lashoff and Kindl.

White is in the final year of his two-year contract and Huskins is on a one-year deal. So what do the Red Wings do with a couple of veteran defenseman that are no longer playing every night?

The trade deadline is just under a month away and with a surprising excess of defenseman, the Red Wings could opt to trade one. Is it smart? Probably not considering the Red Wings injury history, but they can’t keep them on the bench all season.

But they will most likely trade one of the defenseman. The question is who, and what team would want them?

The Carolina Hurricanes are looking for a veteran defenseman, of which they lack currently. Jim Rutherford has been searching for a veteran defenseman, and surprise, surprise, White has played there before. Will the Red Wings send a trade proposal to the Hurricanes, possibly getting some forward depth or picks? Only time will tell, but I would say the chances of the Red Wings trading White are becoming more and more probable as he is remains a healthy scratched night-after-night.

Who would the Red Wings pick up? Well, even with Franzen, Bertuzzi, Samuelsson, and Helm all on injured reserve, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a depth winger or center come to the organization to address the depth shortage in Grand Rapids.

Assuming this team can stay healthy, and that’s a big if, the defensive logjam could create trade flex-room at the trade deadline.

To read the original post that appeared on the Sports Radio Detroit website on March 7, 2013, go to www.sportsradiodetroit.com

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