The Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James writes that general manager Ken Holland is absolutely cognizant of the fact that the Red Wings are in “seller” mode. St. James quotes Holland as saying:
“I’m working the phones, I’m trying to see what the other teams in the league are thinking,” Holland said. “We are obviously not a buyer, we are not spending future assets to try to get in. We’ll see here over the next week what direction we are going, but I am aware we are eight points out and games are running out.”
The quote is nearly verbatim from last year, where Holland pulled the plug during early February and started dealing at the deadline. Beating the Anaheim Ducks last night, in a game where the Ducks outplayed and outshot the Red Wings, isn’t anything to mistake as a game that get Detroit into a playoff spot. The issue remaining is whether or not Holland will truly begin rotating players out to stockpile as much young talent and higher draft picks that he can. Where the verbiage has changed is that on a roster that Holland usually gives the nod to a veteran, he seems to be ready to open up spots for younger players:
“I’ve talked to lots of teams over the last week and 10 days, and I’m doubling back with a number of them,” Holland said. “We’d like to get assets, open up spots for a kid or two for next season.”
Holland has been gun shy when it comes to making trades in the Cap era, and he’s still working without a contract extension. With Mike Green, Jimmy Howard, Petr Mrazek, Gustav Nyquist, and even Tomas Tatar in trade conversations, it will be interesting to see if Holland really will make the deals he seems to be hinting at.
- Andreas Athanasiou is ready to make amends for his lackluster play that resulted in a third period benching reports the Detroit News’ Ted Kulfan. Punished for a lack of effort, Athanasiou played just one shift in yesterday’s 2-1 win during the third period. In spite of his athleticism, speed, and gamebreaker ability, Athanasiou has long been made an example by head coach Jeff Blashill when he hasn’t been at his best. Kulfan writes that consistency has been an issue for Athanasiou during his young career, but it’s an interesting take in that several players, especially higher priced ones, have been similarly inconsistent or turnover prone with the puck. Though he hasn’t scored in 11 games, Athanasiou still has more points than Darren Helm, and Justin Abdelkader, and is tied with Frans Nielsen, and Tomas Tatar, who have both played 10 more games than the 23-year-old forward. The combined cap hit for Abdelkader ($4.25MM), Nielsen ($5.25MM), Tatar ($5.3MM) and Helm ($3.85MM) is $18.65MM while Athanasiou makes a fraction of their individual salaries at $1.38MM. He’s also just a point behind Gustav Nyquist ($4.75MM), who also has ten more games to his name. Though it is fair to try and teach the young forward good habits, the larger issue in Detroit is once again giving large contracts to players who simply don’t produce the points to justify such payment.