Hockey World Blog

Red Wings Begin Selling for Future Gain

‘Twas the night before the NHL trade deadline and Ken Holland’s phone has been ringing. He’s busy making deals we aren’t used to seeing.

A franchise that has made the playoffs for 25 straight years currently sitting bottom of the Eastern Conference and 11 points out of a playoff spot, this is a sight most Red Wings fans under age 35 haven’t seen. But like everything else in life, all good things must come to an end.

With the team getting ready to depart Joe Louis Arena in just over a month for the under-construction Little Caesars Arena, maybe this is the right time to begin rebuilding.

For anyone that’s been following this team, they’ve known this day would come.

The Red Wings began the selling process Friday by trading Tomas Jurco to Chicago for a third round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. A second round pick in the 2011 Draft, Jurco struggled to become one a quality top-six forward the club was counting on as veterans Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg aged. He started the NHL portion of his career during the 2013-14 season following a Calder Cup title with Grand Rapids, bouncing back between the big club and the Griffins. As time went on, he saw less and less time on the ice to the point where he scored more points in the AHL this season (1-1—2 in 2GP) than he did in the NHL (0 points in 16 GP). It was best for both Jurco to seek more playing time elsewhere and best for Detroit to stockpile more picks for later use.

While the team today was in Vancouver preparing for a west coast road trip, they traded Brendan Smith to New York Rangers for another third-round pick in 2017 as well as a second rounder in 2018. New York was seeking a defenseman after missing out on Kevin Shattenkirk (who went to Washington) but acquired another player who could put up better numbers in a blue sweater than he did in red. The Rangers were looking for a big-bodied D-man who can block shots and perform on the penalty kill, which are Smith’s strengths. He’s adequate on offense despite the numbers appearing lower than what you’d want in a trade-deadline deal. Smith hasn’t played much this season due to injuries but he’ll be effective for New York going forward.

As of the time of this post, the expiring contracts of Thomas Vanek, Steve Ott, and Drew Miller are all still on the roster. Miller was recalled yesterday from Grand Rapids, while Ott was scratched ahead of their game tonight against the Canucks.

Looking ahead to the upcoming draft, the Red Wings currently have 10 picks. While they don’t have their pick in the third round (traded to San Jose in the Dylan Sadowy trade- since traded to Arizona) but they do now have the picks of fellow Original Six members Toronto, Chicago, and New York. Toronto’s pick came in exchange for head coach Mike Babcock. They also have Florida’s pick in the sixth round, acquired a year ago in exchange for Jakub Kindl.

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