Hockey

If the Detroit Red Wings Go All in, They Can Win it All

Detroit Red Wings
Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin (71) celebrates his goal against the Carolina Hurricanes in the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Detroit. Paul Sancya, AP

The Detroit Red Wings have been at the bottom of the barrel for a while. It hasn’t been easy for the team, fans, or the organization. The history of the wing wheel is significant. An original six team with winning in their DNA. However, they haven’t lifted Lord Stanley’s Cup since the 2007-2008 season. The team brought back all time Detroit Red Wings great Steve Yzerman to lead the team as General Manager. I’m in the mood to give out good good news, so here is some more. They have $81.5 million to spend.

Jackpot. You can do a lot with that kind of money. From a hockey sense, they can have some fun shopping if they are serious about getting back to their winning ways. So hypothetically, how do the Red Wings do it? Here are a few ideas.

Keep Key Guys and Bring In Defensemen

The Wings have some key players they will need to reup. Jakub Vrana and Tyler Bertuzzi are at the top of that list. Vrana came over in a trade with Richard Panik that sent Anthony Mantha to the Capitals. Panik was recently flipped to the Islanders in exchange for defenseman Nick Leddy. A very good pickup. Leddy adds a veteran presence. Dennis Cholowski is exposed for the Kraken to take in the expansion draft, but he was part of the top defense pairing with Flip Hronek. Keeping that young paring together would be ideal if possible.

Fellow defensemen Marc Staal, Troy Stecher, and Dan Dekeyser at this point seem expendable as older players. Leddy is 30, but was obviously brought to the team for a reason. He could be paired with Gustav Lindstrom. Seth Jones wants a fresh start too. Trading for him from Columbus would boost the defense significantly. If Detroit could land him, and sign Vince Dunn from the Blues, that group could be something special. If they lose young defensemen by way of the expansion draft or free agency, Quinn Hughes, Dante Fabbro, Cal Foote, and Henri Jokiharju would make good replacements.

Options At Center

Center and captain Dylan Larkin will be back from injury. He will return to the top line. Center is a weakness for Detroit. Resigning Michael Rasmussen would probably be a good idea because he’s young. The Wings should also at least make a call to Buffalo about Jack Eichel and make an offer. If they like it, Eichel could fit in nicely as the second line center, thus moving Rasmussen to the third or fourth line.

Now, all this potential group of centers is missing is a vet with championship experience. Enter Blake Coleman. Yup, that Blake Coleman. He has done well as an older player with Tampa Bay. Give him a two or three year deal with a club option, pair him with good players, and see what happens. Coleman has been playing right wing lately for Tampa, but can play both. With Tampa Bay unable to keep everyone, center Yanni Gourde could also be in play to be traded to Detroit. Both players are eligible to be taken by the Kraken.

Options At Wing

The good news is the Red Wings have three left wings with Adam Erne, Bertuzzi, and Vrana assuming they stay with the team. I know it’s crazy, but it couldn’t hurt to at least give free agent Alex Ovechkin a call. Hey Detroit, he wants money and you have money. It’s a perfect fit. Warren Foegele is another name to consider along with Anthony Beauvillier. If all else fails, Robby Fabbri is coming back from injury.

The best right wing on the market is most likely Patrik Laine even if he’s coming off a bad year. There are a lot of young right wingers available. Givani Smith is also protected from the Kraken if he choses to resign. Kevin Fiala is another option on the market, and Brady Tkachuk is a possible trade target. Any players currently on the team that I haven’t mentioned at least for this particular scenario would by default not be on the roster.

Time to Make a Phone Call

The Red Wings have a young up and coming goalie. His name is Keith Petruzzelli. He plays at Quinnipiac and he won the Ken Dryden Goaltender of the Year award for the 2021 season. Personally, I have seen him play live. He is lights out. The best thing to do early on is to bring in another goalie and set up a rotation to take the pressure off. Ilya Sorokin and Ilya Samsonov are solid options if they aren’t resigned by New York and Washington respectively. Thomas Gries and Jonathan Bernier are older, and the team should move on from them. Free agent Alex Nedeljkovic could fly under the radar if the Hurricanes decide to go in a different direction in net. Detroit has enough money to get him.

This of course is all hypothetical, but it would make quite the team and solve most of their problems. Detroit Red Wings fan are so loyal and passionate. They deserve to see a winning team.

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