Holland has lengthy to-do list at NHL Draft

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Ken Holland

Detroit — The to-do list is lengthy for Red Wings general manager Ken Holland.

And with the NHL gathering this weekend in Buffalo, N.Y., for the draft, there will be plenty of opportunities for him to work on some of those tasks.

Holland has a list of things he’d like to accomplish — or at least lay the groundwork:

Trade Pavel Datsyuk’s contract, which has one year remaining on it worth $7.5 million.

Datsyuk retired last week, but his cap space remains property of the Red Wings.

“I’ve talked to teams,” Holland said. “We’ll see where it goes. I have to keep an eye on the future. If there’s a deal that makes sense for us, we’ll explore it.”

Holland said he will not deal a prospect (Anthony Mantha, Evgeny Svechnikov or Andreas Athanasiou) to get rid of Datsyuk’s contract.

Continue trade discussions with teams searching for goaltending help — namely Jimmy Howard, whose contract is a burden and who likely will play behind Petr Mrazek.

Dealing Howard could be difficult.

Goaltenders such as Marc-Andre Fleury (Penguins), Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevsky (Lightning), and Brian Elliott (Blues) are some names who could be available, along with free agent James Reimer.

Continue to look for a top-four defenseman.

The problems are the Red Wings aren’t the only team looking for that commodity, and the asking price could be steep.

“It’s difficult to handicap what’ll happen,” Holland said.

Farmington native Cam Fowler (Ducks), Rochester native Jacob Trouba (Jets), Kevin Shattenkirk (Blues) and Jonas Brodin (Wild) are some of the names being floated.

Beginning on Saturday, make contact with potential unrestricted free agents (that period begins before the July 1 start of free agency).

Lightning All-Star Steven Stamkos, arguably the best player on the market, likely will be recruited by several teams, although it’s not a given Stamkos will hit free agency.

Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman said Thursday the sides remain in touch.

The Red Wings may be interested in forwards Milan Lucic, Andrew Ladd, David Backes, Kyle Okposo, and defensemen Jason Demers and Dan Hamhuis.

And, Holland also plans to make contact with the agents for prospective Red Wings unrestricted free agents Darren Helm and Drew Miller, as well as restricted free agents Mrazek, Danny DeKeyser and Teemu Pulkkinen.

Don’t forget about the draft.

The Red Wings pick 16th in Friday's first round, and have a selection in every round but the third Saturday.

Holland said he will go after the best player available early, but would like to strengthen the defense along the way.