Having made the playoffs for 22 consecutive seasons, Detroit has often been a club looking to add talent at the trade deadline.
Year 23 could be different, however.
“We have to play our way into being a buyer,” Wings GM Ken Holland said on Wednesday, per MLive.com. “There’s no use spending assets unless we play our way into a buyer position.”
Detroit heads into Thursday night’s action on the outside of the playoff picture, tied on points (57) with eighth-place Carolina but sitting in ninth thanks to fewer regulation victories. That, combined with the schedule — the Wings have just five games left until the Olympic break, then another three between the end of the break and the deadline — is making Holland’s assessment difficult.
Further complicating things? Detroit’s injury and cap issues. From MLive.com:
The Red Wings will be over the cap when all their injured players return (Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Stephen Weiss), if everyone else is healthy, even after sending some players back to the Grand Rapids Griffins.
So in order for the Red Wings to acquire a player, they need to shed at least an equal amount of salary.
Detroit has already tried to save space this year by jettisoning veterans like Jordin Tootoo, Patrick Eaves and Mikael Samuelsson to the AHL, so it’s possible the club could do it again. But even with that option available, Holland may end up standing pat.
“We like our kids,” Holland said. “I don’t know that there’s players available on the market that are better than the kids we got.”
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.
Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.
The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.
According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”
Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:
The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.
Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.
In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two: