The approaching March 2 trade deadline has Detroit Red Wings management assessing their roster to determine if any moves will be necessary. The Wings sit third in the Atlantic Division and also the Eastern Conference, putting them into the “buyer” category as the deadline nears.
MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports Red Wings GM Ken Holland and coach Mike Babcock recently met to discuss their club's needs. Khan notes the Wings are healthier than they were a year ago and thus there's less urgency to make a deal. Babcock, however, suggests just because the Wings are in a good spot now doesn't mean they won't need help by the deadline.
Khan believes the Wings primary need is right-handed shooting defenseman. He lists Toronto's Cody Franson, Edmonton's Jeff Petry, Washington's Mike Green and New Jersey's Marek Zidlicky as possible options, citing their eligibility for unrestricted free agency in July.
The Wings have been linked to Buffalo's Tyler Myers, but Khan notes he's under a long-term contract and could prove too expensive to pursue. The same goes for Arizona's Keith Yandle, who's a left-handed shot and wouldn't address their primary need.
ESPN's Craig Custance observes Holland has stockpiled prospects for a decade. That's given the Wings a surplus of young talent within their system, which could prove enticing to rival clubs.
Given that Holland's mandate is to add a significant player who can play an important role, Custance suggests the Wings target Franson, Yandle, Green, Florida's Brian Campbell and Colorado's Ryan O'Reilly. Custance told WGR 550 he believes a Franson-to-Detroit deal makes the most sense for the Wings.
The Leafs and Capitals could be reluctant to deal within a conference. That's especially true for the Capitals, who could face the Wings in the playoffs. The last thing they need is Green coming back to haunt them.
Campbell's name popped up earlier this season as a trade option but Panthers GM Dale Tallon quickly shot down that idea. While the 35-year-old blueliner has a year left on his contract, he's been a terrific mentor and defense partner with rookie star Aaron Ekblad. Unless Campbell requests a trade, Tallon won't move him.
O'Reilly won't address the Wings blueline needs but he could be an heir apparent for aging superstar Pavel Datsyuk. However, the Avs and Wings are long-time rivals. While the two clubs aren't in the same conference anymore, it's unlikely the Avalanche will send O'Reilly to Detroit.
Petry and Zidlicky could be decent short-term options for the Wings. The asking price shouldn't be high for either player as playoff rentals, with the option of being re-signed should they fit in well.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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