The Wings were expected to make a move for a defenseman at the deadline and they did that, but it wasn’t who was expected by a lot of fans. Going into the day the biggest trade rumor was the Wings acquiring Dion Phaneuf, and that rumor gained a lot of traction by 10-11 AM EST, before it hit ice and went crashing over a cliff in what seemed a flash. Names like Mantha and Smith were allegedly brought up by the Leafs, and honestly I think it helped us dodged another long term contract disaster. So we know who the Red Wings didn’t get, but did they pieces they obtain make them a true Cup contender? Erik Cole and Marek Zidlicky didn’t make the biggest splash around the networks but I think they both make the team better.
What we gave up: Prospects Mattias Janmark (center) and Mattias Backman (defenseman), 2nd round pick (2015)
What we got: Erik Cole and 3rd round pick (2015)
When i heard last night that the Red Wings acquired Erik Cole in a trade, my mind immediately jumped to “oh no, Helm is out awhile”. Well good news, I was wrong. Helm is only out a week or so and Cole adds depth and grit to a pretty gritless top 9 forwards. Cole is the first of 2 vets the Wings brought in, tallying 18 goals and 15 assists in 57 games with Dallas this season. Cole has a little history with the Wings, as he was part of the 2002 Carolina Hurricanes that lost to your Detroit Red Wings in 5 games in the Stanley Cup final. He isn’t going to knock your socks off with Datsyukian dekes or blow by defenders with Darren Helm speed, but he will get into the corners, into the dirty areas, lean on defenders, and give goalies fits out front. If you don’t know anything about Cole i would compare his game a lot to Justin Abdelkader’s, plus a bit of scoring touch. He has already passed his goal and assist totals from last year and slides into 4th on the team with his 18 goals.
I’m happy with the trade and fine with the price paid, both prospects ranking outside the top 10 in the system. Janmark is viewed as a two way player, but as he’s still playing in the Swedish league, there isn’t as whole lot of quality info about him and how he could adapt in North America. Backman started the year in Grand Rapids before bolting back to Sweden to play there, probably not thrilling Kenny Holland. In my opinion, best for both sides to part ways as the Wings have a stock pile of young defensemen and Backman clearly isn’t about waiting his turn.
The Erik Cole trade really came out of nowhere and to be honest at first I wasn’t thrilled. As i started reading and thinking about it, the more sense it made. It can never hurt to add a little size and grit for a playoff run and mix that with a guy who can score a little, what’s not to like? Plus, adding him to a wing alongside what I assume to be either Hank or Pav, the offense may even take a little jump, because this is a guy who did score 35 goals in 2012. You can’t deny that this move adds a nice layer of depth to a forward unit whose biggest weakness may be the 3rd line production. Now you slot one of the top 6 guys or even Cole down with Sheahan and you have a nice looking 3rd line. 21 games left for the Wings, I’m looking for 6 goals and 13 points out of Cole, realistic yet valuable production in my opinion.
For this trade given what we got and what we gave up for it and quality of weakness filled, (and the fact it keeps Cleary in the dressing room), I give it 4/5 Murph-Dogs.
What we gave up: Conditional 3rd round pick (2016)
What we got: Marek Zidlicky
The Red Wings have been eyeing Zidlicky for a while now. His name has popped up during each of the previous two trade deadlines but a deal was never able to be reached…until now. With Zidlicky in the final year of his contract, the Devils were more apt to deal him and even agreed to eat $1M of his salary. Zidlicky waived his no-trade clause to come here and who could blame him? The Devils have a 0.5% chance to make the playoffs according to the latest playoff probabilities report on hockey-reference.com (Detroit at 99.8% chance). Zidlicky has 4 goals and 19 assists this season for a New Jersey team that struggled to score goals. His hard right-handed shot and ability to quarterback the powerplay are what made the veteran an attractive option for Detroit.
New Jersey was able to finagle some conditions into the deal. If Detroit reaches the Eastern Conference Finals this season then the Devils receive our 5th round pick in 2015 as well. Take it one step further and if the Wings were to reach the Stanley Cup Finals this season, New Jersey receives our 2nd round pick in 2015 with the aforementioned 5th rounder being returned to Detroit. As far as I’m concerned, get the box ready to go and bubble-wrap those picks – send em on their way! I’m hoping for a deep push by the boys in Red this summer.
The decision to pursue Zidlicky really began to take shape once Detroit found out exactly what Toronto was looking to get in return for Dion Phaneuf. The Wings were asking for the Leafs to retain $2M of Phaneuf’s salary, a price too steep for the Leafs who will most likely receive a better offer for Phaneuf this offseason. The news of the Zidlicky trade came through shortly after the Phaneuf buzz died down and killed any belief that the Wings and Leafs were still discussing a deal. Unlike Phaneuf, Zidlicky is a rental player for Detroit who most likely won’t be re-signed this offseason. Marek doesn’t carry the same buzz as Neon Dion and his best days are most likely behind him but his righty shot from the point could help our number 1 ranked powerplay be even better. Not playing top pair minutes will allow his 38 year old legs to stay fresh and everyone knows it’s the legs that make a great clap bomb. Overall I like the Zidlicky trade – we did not give up a lot and finally got Babs the righty D-man he’s been longing for. However, given Zidlicky’s age and size (small: 5’11”, 190 lbs) I give this trade 3 out of 5 Murph-Dogs. Still above average, mind you!!
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