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.”
Johan Franzen is set to return for the Detroit Red Wings and they’re sending Mikael Samuelsson to the AHL to make it happen.
Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reports Franzen will return to the Wings lineup against the Florida Panthers today and helps give them another of their usual weapons.
The Red Wings are still without Pavel Datsyuk (lower body) and are also missing goalie Jimmy Howard (knee) but getting Franzen and his goal-scoring ability back should give Detroit a lift.
Samuelsson, meanwhile, is on his way to Grand Rapids after clearing waivers, but the Wings won’t be getting a break on his $3 million salary cap hit. Samuelsson’s contract is a 35+ deal which means the Wings can’t bury his money in the minors.
The Detroit Red Wings are expecting to get Johan Franzen back in the lineup Sunday, according to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press, as they close out a five-game home stand against the Florida Panthers.
The veteran forward hasn’t played since Dec. 15 due to a concussion suffered on what Franzen thought was a relatively harmless hit from Tampa Bay defenseman Radko Gudas. However, the symptoms, particularly headaches, for a time just wouldn’t let up.
“I thought I was going to be out five days because it wasn’t much of a hit and that’s usually how long it takes before you get rid of the headache,” Franzen said, as per MLive.com.
“It just wouldn’t go away. Just cross my fingers now and hopefully it’s going to stay away.”
In order to make room for Franzen, the Red Wings on Saturday put another veteran forward, Mikael Samuelsson, on waivers.