Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY SPORTS
Welcome to trade deadline day! It’s the one day of the year where offices across the league go from well-structured, tight ships to panic-induced madhouses in desperate efforts to make themselves better in the eleventh hour. The Detroit Red Wings don’t have a ton of speculation attached to them, but anything can happen. Here are five scenarios that you might see the team involved in today.
Brendan Smith Gets Moved
While it doesn’t sound like the Red Wings are in a massive rush to move the 27-year-old defender, there’s still a more than reasonable chance that he gets traded today. Multiple teams have shown interest in him, with the Florida Panthers, who previously acquired Jakub Kindl, leading the way. Smith was a healthy scratch for the Stadium Series game against the Avalanche and would likely return a draft pick.
The End of the Jimmy Howard Era
This one is a stretch to actually happen, but if it were, the Red Wings instantaneously have room to be last-second buyers. The organization is happy to move forward with young stud Petr Mrazek as their starting goaltender and Howard’s cap hit ($5.291M for another 3 years, per NHLNumbers) is rather cumbersome for a backup. All five teams that Brad mentioned in his “Five Destinations” article still have yet to bring in a goaltender, and one of them just shed $8.25 million in cap space. This move might wait until the draft, but if teams who are interested in him strike out elsewhere, don’t be shocked if something happens just before 3:00.
Youth Getting Papered
This applies to just about every team in the league, really. Teams must have their players on AHL rosters by 3:00 PM if they want them to be eligible for the Calder Cup Playoffs, and while the Red Wings have their own run to deal with, I’m sure that they’d like to have an ice-time backup plan in the 0.618 Grand Rapids Griffins. Don’t be shocked if Andreas Athanasiou is sent to the Griffins this afternoon and called up in the evening.
A Darren Helm Extension
The longest shot of the bunch, but if Smith and Howard move, the Wings could get a head start on the offseason. Helm is a UFA at the end of the year and is likely a piece that the team would like to keep, but that’s very cost-dependent. Don’t hold your breath on this one coming before June, but don’t have your mind completely blown if dominoes start to fall.
Not Much, Really
Perhaps the odds are most in favor in absolutely nothing happening with the Wings today. They might not be enticed by the Smith offers to move him. They might not find a suitor for Howard. They might be content with Athanasiou staying up, and they may not have even started talking to Helm in a serious matter. There’s an extremely high chance that the Red Wings are going to stand pat with what they have, which, given the fact that they’re neither competitive or in a position to buy hard at the moment, might not be the worst thing. We’ll know for sure in the next four and a half hours!