Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves are eligible to return from Long Term Injured Reserve (LTIR) on October 26th, Niklas Kronwall has returned from his “concussion”, and Jonathan Ericsson will be out for 2-3 weeks.
Darren Helm has suffered a setback in his return after a MRI revealed fluid in his groin and there has been no new news about Patrick Eaves knee, but he has practiced with the team. If he is practicing he should be able to return to the line-up once he is eligible.
When Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves return from LTIR, the Wings will be over the roster cap and the salary cap. But there are a couple moves that they came make to get under the cap.
Jonathan Ericsson could be placed on LTIR, which would keep him out of the line-up until November 16th or the Red Wings could explore the possibility of a trade.
If Jonathan Ericsson is place on LTIR, it opens up a roster spot for Darren Helm to return and clears enough cap space for the Wings not to have to make another move right away and Xavier Oullet would be able to stay in Detroit as the seventh defenseman.
If Patrick Eaves returns along with Helm then they will have to do some finagling and a trade would be imminent.
As for the trade option, most Red Wing fans would prefer to see the Wings trade Mikael Samuelsson, but he has a NTC, which means he is not going anywhere, and he has no real trade value.
At the beginning of the season, the Detroit Red Wings were linked to the Nashville Predators as possible trade partners for Tootoo and it could still be a possibility. The Predators have room on their roster and their salary cap for a player like Tootoo, plus he has a lot of history in Nashville.
I would prefer the Red Wings look at trading someone else, since I have appreciated the way Tootoo has played recently and when Todd Bertuzzi‘s and Mikael Samuelsson’s contracts are up next season, Tootoo would be the only true agitator on the team.
Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves do not have No Trade Clauses, but Mike Babcock loves the way they play the game so I doubt that they would be traded and most likely are not being discussed as possible trade options.
As for Tatar, even though he has not played a lot this season due to issues that Babcock did not want to share, I doubt the Wings would sacrifice a piece of their future to get under the cap this season. He played in the last two Red Wings’ games due to injuries and Luke Glendening being sent down to the AHL.
When Helm and Eaves return to the line-up both players will probably play on the 4th line to start, but after a short time Helm could move back up to his normal 3rd line center job.
This makes Tootoo the only true viable trade candidate on the Red Wings.
Then again if injuries continue to be an issue for the Red Wings, they might not have to trade anyone to stay under the roster cap, but the salary cap could be another issue.