Who are a few current Detroit Red Wings that might be on the move before the March 3rd Trade Deadline?
The obvious names are Tyler Bertuzzi, who seems to have lost his hands after breaking them, and Olli Maatta, who’s remarkably good at being an invisible defenseman (and defensemen who make the game look that easy are hard to find).
I have never gotten the gut feeling that Bertuzzi is the Red Wings’ first priority. While I’m not going to rehash the whole vaccine controversy, I do think that his reputation took something of a hit with management through the process of Bertuzzi missing nine games over the sake of not taking “the jab.” Especially as the Larkin negotiations get more drawn-out and so contentious that we’re actually finding out information about them, I think that Bertuzzi has become, by default, something of a backup plan, and as he’s a year older, another free-agent-to-be and perhaps prone to more wear and tear as one of those drivers of play who also happens to engage in a high-mileage game…
Those kinds of players tend to be too irresistible not to move at some point prior to losing them as a free agent, presuming a contract agreement is not nigh.
After that, Maatta could at least provide a mid-round pick in return. I don’t think Pius Suter is in the Wings’ future plans. I’m iffy on Adam Erne coming back. I think that Jordan Oesterle and Robert Hagg are replaceable, as is Mark Pysyk (if he recovers from that Achilles injury). If somebody wants to take a flyer on Filip Zadina before he’s able to establish himself as a useful contributor, he’s saleable goods, too.
Realistically speaking, I think that it’s less likely that the Detroit Red Wings get on a run and “give Steve something to think about” than it is likely that this Detroit Red Wings team continues to look like a team that needs more roster tinkering; perhaps with more of an emphasis on growth from within as opposed to investment from outside the current roster this summer, and that our hopes as Detroit Red Wings partisans should lie upon this year’s Wings not absolutely going into the septic tank with a putrid last-third-of-the-season collapse into a team with “no compete” than anything else.
In other words, I think that this team has made a lot of progress, but its progression remains incredibly, infuriatingly inconsistent, and the results are likely to mirror the process there. This year, at least, I don’t expect the team to go off the deep end and to the bottom of the pool due to its rough post-ASG schedule, but the presence of a spine on this team may not necessarily yield the kind of results that indicate that this still-floppy fish is beginning to evolve to the point that it wants to take its first tentative steps toward the land upon which teams that are highly-evolved enough to actually compete for playoff spots tread.
That’s a very long and flowery way of saying, “I see some evolution, but not a revolution, at least not yet, from this year’s Red Wings, ” especially given how hard and condensed the ‘second half’ schedule appears to be.”
I would like to believe that there are fourth and fifth gears on this three-gear transmission team. I want to be pleasantly surprised by their resilient, pugnacious, tenacious play over the half-to-third of the season, but I think that we’re in for more fits and starts of forward progress, marred by half or full steps back from time to time.
As I’ve been taking a leave of absence due to my aunt’s health (her second hospitalization in three weeks =/= fun times), my faith in this team’s long-term potential has not waivered, but I think that those of us who fall under the pull of the winged wheel has got what we’ve got from a team that’s already shown us what it is, and what it has yet to achieve. This is still a team in the early steps of making real progress, and those first steps are always wobbly…
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Because hockey is a game where you tend to learn by making mistakes, and if you make enough mistakes, you’re going to lose some games learning how to be a winner. And that is where “we’re” at, for now.