Red Wings might do their biggest deals later

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Luke Glendening

Detroit – Over the last several years, most of the NHL trade action has occurred in late June, right around the Entry Draft.

Don’t be surprised if the Red Wings do the bulk of their selling there, rather than by Monday’s 3 p.m. NHL trade deadline.

General manager Ken Holland is looking for the best possible return on several assets – and those returns could be bigger for the Red Wings when all 30 teams are motivated to make moves, rather than just the playoff contenders now.

“It’s not like I feel that I’ve got to do a deal because I’ve got these unrestricted free agents,” Holland said. “It appears right now more of a buyers’ market. There’s more teams that are selling.

“The standings are so close, teams aren’t sure what they’re going to do. There’s not enough teams that are really guaranteed a playoff spot.”

And if Holland doesn’t get the type of deal he wants Monday, or in June – he’s willing to wait for that right package at the trade deadline next season.

“If it’s not this time period, and it’s not at the draft, then the reality is, it’s probably a year from now,” Holland said. “My mindset isn’t so much about 2017-18 and ’18-’19. It’s about ’19-’20 and trying to acquire assets that I’m hoping can impact this team down the road.

“If nothing’s there that makes sense, and all I’m doing is helping somebody else out, and we’re not getting what I don’t think is fair value for our players, we’ll go back to the summer and we’ll start all over again.

“There will be more teams in the mix.”

Defenseman Mike Green is almost assuredly going to be dealt by Monday afternoon. Green, 32, is an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and would be a useful rental for a contending team.

But Green headed into Sunday night’s game in New York having missed the last five games – and may not play Sunday – with an apparent neck injury.

Green has practiced twice, but hasn’t been well enough to play.

That probably would have a decided impact on how much a trade partner would be willing to send back the Red Wings, with the uncertainty about Green’s health.

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Forwards Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist are always linked, it seems, in trade discussions, and this time is no different.

Tatar, 27, has three years left at a $5.3 million cap hit. Nashville reportedly has some interest, but the Red Wings likely would have to retain some salary for that deal to happen.

Nyquist, 28, has one more year left at $4.75 million, but also has a full no-trade clause, which gives him control of where he would – or would not – go.

Forward Luke Glendening, 28, had drawn interest from Toronto, whose coach, Mike Babcock, was a huge fan of Glendening’s when Babcock coached the Red Wings.

But Toronto’s acquisition of forward Tomas Plekanec Sunday likely squashed any trade talks involving Glendening, who has three years left on his contract at a $1.8 million cap hit.

Defenseman Xavier Ouellet, 24, is likely to be traded by Monday, and that would give the depth player a fresh start. With one more year on his contract at a $1.25 million cap hit, Ouellet has rarely played the last month.

The phone lines, said Holland, have been busy regarding possible deals involving the Red Wings.

“I’ve been talking to lots of teams,” Holland said. “I’m open to talking about a lot of things. But of the reality of it is, most of it doesn’t happen.”

Any deal would have to involve draft picks, or prospects that could help the Red Wings fairly soon.

Holland believes there’s a good pipeline of young players on their way to the Red Wings, and he wants to widen that pool of prospective Red Wings.

“Over the next year or two we need to acquire more futures (draft picks) and we need those futures to get better,” Holland said. “A lot of those young kids over the next year or two are going to work their way into Grand Rapids.

“We have to continue to keep funneling them from the draft table, through Grand Rapids, and onto the Detroit Red Wings.”

Twitter @tkulfan