Wings’ Holland sticks with the kids at trade deadline

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Ken Holland

Dallas – As expected, the Wings stuck with their present roster as the NHL trade deadline came and went Monday.

General manager Ken Holland made one move, on Saturday, sending defenseman Jakub Kindl to Florida for a 2017 sixth-round draft pick, with the Red Wings retaining 15 percent of his $2.4 million salary.

That was done primarily to create space under the salary cap this summer, with the Red Wings needing to re-sign many of their free agents.

“We’re trying to push for a playoff spot -- but with young people,” Holland said. “That’s the direction we have to go. And to wake up today and trade draft picks and prospects to bring in some UFAs (unrestricted free agents), we felt as we sat in that room today, that was a direction we didn’t want to go.

“At the same time, it’s not like there was a whole lot of people available to us that could come in and significantly upgrade our team.”

Most of the larger names associated with this trade deadline were dealt last week, including Andrew Ladd (Chicago), Eric Staal (New York Rangers), Jiri Hudler (Calgary), and Dale Weiss and Tomas Fleischmann (Chicago).

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And with the Red Wings possessing little wiggle room under the salary cap, few players available who would truly be upgrades, and Holland not wanting to trade any of the organization’s prospects or high-round draft picks, making a deal Monday wasn’t expected.

“If you’re not prepared -- and we were not prepared to trade a first- or second-round pick and any of our prospects -- you start to limit yourself,” Holland said. “Then you look at the players available (on the market) and the people we’ve got not only on the team in Detroit but the young players coming, it starts to add up and it’s tough to do a deal.”

The Red Wings had been active the last two trade deadlines, acquiring David Legwand two seasons ago, and Erik Cole and Marek Zidlicky last season -- trading away two second-round picks, a third-round pick, and prospects Mattias Janmark and Mattias Backman.

Janmark currently has 12 goals with Dallas, and the Red Wings were eliminated the first-round of the playoffs both seasons.

“The last two years I was aggressive,” Holland said. “We’ve been aggressive. But while we’ve been aggressive, the job our amateur scouts have done, the job Grand Rapids has done, we can see what direction we’re going.

“We just felt we’re going to continue to go from within.”

The development of Petr Mrazek, Alexey Marchenko and Andreas Athanasiou at the NHL level, and players such as Anthony Mantha, Xavier Ouellet and Tomas Nosek in Grand Rapids – Ouellet and Nosek have seen time with the Red Wings also – gives Holland optimism a base is being built with plenty of depth.

“We’re trying to build something here and build a foundation,” Holland said. “We had a foundation in the 1990s and we’ve had a foundation in the 2000s and we’re in the process of building another foundation.

“We need picks when we go to the draft in June.”