Detroit Red Wings Improve At Trade Deadline, Do Not Sacrifice Future


The Detroit Red Wings acquired forward Erik Cole from the Dallas Stars along with a conditional third round pick and defenseman Marek Zidlicky from the New Jersey Devils before the NHL trade deadline passed on Monday, March 2nd.

With Darren Helm out of the line-up for seven to ten days and there being no timetable on Johan Franzen‘s return to the ice for Detroit, Erik Cole gives the Detroit Red Wings a power forward who can be slotted on the first line next to Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg, while being able to drop to the third line and provide secondary scoring for the team.

Erik Coles role with Detroit will mirror Todd Bertuzzi‘s role with the Red Wings when he was signed as a free agent in 2009. For three seasons, Bertuzzi tallied at least thirty-eight points, while playing tough in the corners and in front of the opponent’s goaltender.

Mike Babcock likes having a strong power forward to create space on the ice for Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg and if Cole is able to be half the player Bertuzzi was with the Red Wings, then he will be a perfect fit for Detroit.

To acquire Erik Cole and the conditional third round pick, the Detroit Red Wings sent Mattias Backman, Mattias Janmark, and a second round pick to the Dallas Stars.

Mattias Backman played part if this season in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins before becoming frustrated with the logjam on defense and returning to the SHL, but could be a decent NHL player in a couple of years, while Mattias Janmark is not eligible to play in the AHL until next season and his development is questionable at best.

The best part about the trade is that the Detroit Red Wings did not give up their first round pick in next seasons entry draft. Because Holland did not trade the first round pick, he could theoretically turn it into two second round picks during the draft.

On defense, the Detroit Red Wings are without Kyle Quincey and now Alexey Marchenko – Detroit’s former only right-handed defenseman – will be out of the line-up for seven to ten days, so bringing in Marek Zidlicky not only boosts the Red Wings’ defense moving forward this season, but fills a current need for the team.

Ansar Khan believes Zidlicky will take Marchenko’s spot on the third pairing next to Brendan Smith, but that could be a waste of his skills. Zidlicky would be better off paired with Danny DeKeyser on Detroit’s second pairing, which would give him more minutes on the ice to produce for Detroit and mean less time for Jakub Kindl.

Zidlicky led the Devils’ defense in points through the trade deadline and has been compared to former Detroit Red Wing Brian Rafalski as both players are right-handed and both players played for the New Jersey Devils, but the comparisons do not end there.

Both Zidlicky and Rafalski broke into the NHL later in their professional careers, both players have produced around forty points during a full season, and just like Brian Rafalski, Marek Zidlicky will be wearing number twenty-eight in Detroit.

To acquire Marek Zidlicky, the Detroit Red Wings traded a conditional third round pick in 2016 to the New Jersey Devils. If Wings go to the Eastern Conference Finals, then a fifth round pick in 2015 will be sent to the Devils as well, but if the Red Wings go to Stanley Cup Finals, then the fifth round pick is sent back to Detroit and the third round pick in 2016 becomes a second round pick in 2016. In the trade, the Devils retained one million in salary owed to Zidlicky.

Once again, the Detroit Red Wings did not have to give much in order to acquire the player they wanted in Zidlicky, although the low price could have something to do with the full no-move, no-trade clause Marek Zidlicky had in his contract, which allowed him to dictate where New Jersey could trade him.

In the end, the Detroit Red Wings brought in a strong forward in Erik Cole and an offensive minded defenseman in Marek Zidlicky in order to make a strong playoff push this season and if all of the necessary requirements are filled on the conditional picks sent both ways, the Red Wings will only have to give up two second round pick and two prospects buried in the depth chart.

Ken Holland and the Detroit Red Wings did a great job over the past couple of days to add talent to the line-up without sacrificing the team’s future and because of that we give Ken Holland four stars for the trade deadline moves.