By Chris Zadorozny
As March Madness begins in college basketball, the Detroit Red Wings have a little madness of their own.
The NHL trade deadline is just a few weeks away (Wednesday, April 3, at 3 p.m.). After that, all teams will be set for the coming playoffs.
In such a short season, a lot of the teams are in the mix due to the fact that many teams are still in contention. The only teams that are really out of the race are the Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals, although both could technically make a run for the eighth place, but it would be very hard in the next two weeks.
So what will the Red Wings do come trade deadline time? They lost Kyle Quincey with multiple fractures in his face and is expected to be out 4-6 weeks. Ian White has stepped in, but what happens if (or in the Wings case, when) another defenseman goes down?
It’s obvious the Red Wings need a top-four defenseman through a trade or free agency sometime soon. Detroit is 19th in the league in goals against, a drop from 24th last year. The Wings are also allowing on average 28 shots per game, just one more than their average last season. When it comes to goals per game this season, the Wings are in the bottom half, ranking 17th out of 30 with only 2.57 goals per game. Last year, they were 7th in the league with almost 3 goals per game.
So what do the Red Wings do?
Darren Helm is still out and Todd Bertuzzi isn’t getting any healthier. Mikael Samuelsson is inching closer toa return but is still about a week away. Oh, and Patrick Eaves was hit in the jaw with a puck in practice and the team isn’t sure when he’ll return.
The Red Wings could opt for the trade market. A couple of names being thrown around are pretty big, but the Red Wings haven’t acquired a big-name free agent since getting Brad Stuart from the Kings in 2008.
Among the names being thrown around the rumor mill: Edmonton Oilers defenseman Ladislav Smid, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel, New York Islanders’ defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, Buffalo Sabres forward Drew Stafford and Calgary Flames forward and defenseman Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester.
The asking prices are expected to be very high for Iginla, Kessel, and Bouwmeester. Smid, Visnovsky and Stafford will certainly draw a lower trade value.
So out of this group, who should the Red Wings pursue?
The answer: NONE.
They have a deep forward core with Nyquist and Tatar constantly being called up and sent back down with injuries. Andersson has filled in well on the fourth line and Justin Abdelkader has picked his game up tremendously.
If the Red Wings really want a pickup at the deadline, they should rely on the team they have now, along with the return of Helm and Samuelsson down the stretch.
If they decide to make a deal, the smartest move would be to trade for Smid or Visnovsky. Smid doesn’t have the best offensive skills; and while Visnovsky has more offensive upside, they both would be able to provide a veteran presence to a young defense core.
As the trade deadline nears, expect more names and teams to be involved . Check back next week for another trade rumor update.
To read the original post that appeared online for Sports Radio Detroit on March 27, 2013, go to www.sportsradiodetroit.com.