The Detroit Red Wings need to consider adding a productive bottom six forward.
I know the Detroit Red Wings are deeper this season up front than they've been in years; plus, they've recently added a first-line winger in Patrick Kane, but they could still upgrade this group up front. Adding a bottom-six forward who is a 200-foot player could help solidify their depth scoring, but also their recent defensive zone woes.
Let's face it: Andrew Copp hasn't been as advertised, but he's a reliable third/fourth-line checking center who has proven to be a valuable penalty killer. The problem is he's being paid to be a second-line center. Copp carries a cap hit of $5.625 million through the 2026-27 season. Since joining the Detroit Red Wings as a free agent, he's totaled 14 goals in 116 games. His salary will be a hard one to get rid of, and I believe the Red Wings will be stuck with it for the foreseeable future. That said, taking the money out of the equation, Copp can serve as a valuable fourth-line center if Yzerman elects to go out and upgrade the third line.
There should be plenty of options to fill this role as the trade deadline nears, but I can't help but wonder if a player like Adam Henrique is a name that begins to surface. Henrique played his junior hockey in Windsor with the Spitfires and helped guide them to back-to-back Memorial Cup Trophies. Henrique also had his No. 14 retired by the Spits following his remarkable junior career. Like Copp, Henrique is overpaid, but as a rental, the financial obligation isn't something to be concerned about.
Henrique, 33, is a pending free agent, and the rebuilding Ducks will certainly be entertaining offers from playoff-bound teams for his services down the stretch. The Detroit Red Wings would serve as a homecoming for the veteran center and something that needs to be considered. Henrique carries a $5.8 million cap hit, but as a rental can be an affordable third-line center, knowing Detroit will only need to pay half or so of that for the remainder of the season.
Henrique has totaled ten goals and 18 points for the Ducks this season through 32 games. He's averaged over 16 minutes of work per night and would be an upgrade for the Detroit Red Wings slotted in as the third-line center between David Perron and Michael Rasmussen. This addition also creates a valuable fourth line of Robby Fabbri and Daniel Sprong flanking Copp. Head coach Derek Lalonde wouldn't be married to this combination, and adding Henrique creates a ton of lineup flexibility. It's something to consider.