Ken Holland on trade deadline: ‘If there’s a fit we’ll do something’

Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland will be working the phones leading up to February 29th’s trading deadline. But, will the Wings actually make any moves?

“Before we do anything we got to get close to the trade deadline and see where we’re at in the standings,” Holland told Mlive.com.

With eight games remaining on the schedule before the deadline arrives, the Wings sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 64 points. Three points behind them are the ninth place (not currently in a playoff position) New Jersey Devils, while the Florida Panthers hold the Atlantic Division lead at 70 points. The Washington Capitals currently sit atop the Eastern Conference with 84 points, 14 ahead of Florida. This makes the next eight (or so) games crucial for the Red Wings. Slipping up in even a couple of the next handful of games could position any of these teams outside of the playoff picture, while a hot streak could shoot them up the ladder very quickly.

With a league salary cap of $71.4 million, the Wings could logistically make a move or two. But, because of an inability to get full salary relief when putting players on long term injured reserve this year, the Wings cap is actually closer to $67 million, and they are right up against that number. In order to make any moves, the team will almost have to match contracts dollar-for-dollar in any move, unless they find a way to shed a higher-valued contract.

Holland is satisfied with the goaltending at this point. With Petr Mrazek leading the NHL in goals against average and save percentage, Jimmy Howard‘s struggles seem to be shadowed. Howard’s current deal still has three years remaining, with him being owed $15.9 million, making it almost impossible to trade him at this point of the season.

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Defensively, Holland says the team is “eight or nine deep”, with Jakub Kindl currently playing in Detroit, plus Xavier Ouellet and Ryan Sproul in Grand Rapids.

As far as forwards go, there is plenty of depth at the position. Teemu Pulkkinen has been a healthy scratch the last four games, Joakim Andersson has been used quite frequently, Andreas Athanasiou is currently with the team, plus Eric Tangradi and Tomas Nosek have gotten looks this year as well.

“From a depth standpoint, we got some players we think we can put in the lineup,” Holland said.

Overall, offense has been the biggest problem for the Red Wings throughout the course of the year. Scoring 2.52 goals per game on average, and a 17th ranked power play have been the more glaring problems. If a deal is to be made, it will likely involve a scoring forward coming to Detroit.

“I expect to talk to lots of teams, see what they’re thinking, let them know what we’re thinking,” said Holland. “If there’s a fit we’ll do something. If we don’t have the assets or don’t want to part with the assets we won’t.”

 

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