Like many Red Wings fans today, around three o’clock today I got quite emotional at the news that the Red Wings had traded for David Legwand. I was upset that my favorite team went out and acquired a rental player despite reassurances that Ken Holland would do no such thing. Fellow Wings fans said “Wait for the price” but I was already livid. Partially because I didn’t want a trade to happen for the sake of preserving the post-season streak, partially because I just don’t like Legwand. Then when the price came out, I actually calmed down a bit.
Meanwhile fans all over Twitter had a collective conniption. Everyone from Winging It In Motown to the Octopod (fantastic Wings-centric podcast with a clever name) was absolutely furious at this, mostly due to the surrendering of the prospect Calle Järnkrok (In addition to Patrick Eaves and a conditional 3rd round pick). The rage also seems to stem from the idea that Holland saw the latest injury situation (no Zetterberg, no Datsyuk, Helm out for some time as well, Weiss has a serious setback) and panicked and overpaid. In an extreme use of hyperbole, a couple Wings fans even said that Detroit paid more for Legwand than Montreal did for Tomas Vanek.
Let’s all just take a breath and put the brakes on here a minute. While I’m furious that David Legwand is a Red Wing (I’m sure we can get into that more later) I really don’t think what Detroit gave up is all that bad. Step down off the ledge with me and let’s have a look at what exactly Hockeytown sent to Smashville.
Conditional 3rd Round Draft Pick
Ken Holland announced that the 3rd-round pick for the 2014 draft included in this deal becomes a 2014 2nd round pick IF the Red Wings make the playoffs. People get really hung up about draft picks, and I can understand that some teams really need some of these as crucial steps to their development. The Detroit Red Wings are not one of these teams.
With prospects coming out of their ears and some of those said prospects threatening to leave North American hockey if they don’t get a chance to play in the big leagues soon, draft picks don’t mean nearly as much to the Red Wings as they would most other teams right now. Teams usually fall into categories of needing picks or needing players. The Buffalo Sabers really need picks to help rebuild their team from scratch. The New York Islanders really need picks. And a new GM. And a new owner. and (wow I really shouldn’t have started with them). The Red Wings need players that are NHL ready at this point, because they have an AHL team that is dominating the minor leagues full of prospects that are almost done cooking.
In addition to this, by most accounts, the 2014 draft isn’t supposed to be particularly deep. Especially compared to the 2013 draft and what’s on the horizon in 2015. This doesn’t mean trade the entire draft like the Islanders once tried to do (I really don’t mean to hate on them, I like them!) but if this were a first-round pick that got traded I still wouldn’t be that upset.