DETROIT – The Wings didn’t have any intention of standing pat as the trade deadline approached, but that’s what happened.
“Over the last few days there were a couple of players we had some interest in, but we didn’t get it done,” Wings general Ken Holland said. “We offered some of (prospects). At the end of the day someone didn’t like them as much as we do or they liked someone else’s players better.”
The Wings liked a number of players dealt before the deadline, including forwards Jaromir Jagr and Jason Pominville and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. They made what they felt were good offers, but the players were dealt elsewhere – Jagr to Boston; Pominville to Minnesota and Bouwmeester to St. Louis.
“That’s not my call,” Holland said when asked if he felt they were close on any of them. “That’s someone else making that decision. We made offers to two or three players. We didn’t need depth players. We have lots of depth. We have kids that we think can come up and play. We were looking for a top four (defenseman). We were looking for a top six forward. Ultimately we didn’t get it done, but someone else makes those decisions.”
Detroit didn’t have any interest in Marian Gaborik, who was dealt by the New York Rangers to Columbus. Gaborik will make $7.5 million next season.
“When you really analyze those trades and put it to Detroit, we were making those trades six or seven years ago and other teams weren’t making those trades,” Holland said. “You’ve got to look at your moment in time and find out if the trade fits, do you have the assets, is it worth it? We’re trying to compete. We’re on the bubble. Would I have liked to do a deal? Yeah, I would have liked to do a deal. We made some offers, but we weren’t looking for anything for depth. We would have liked to have put an extra top six forward or an extra top (four) defenseman. When you look at what transpired, you can figure out who we would have had some interest in, but at the end of the day, we didn’t get it done for a whole host of reasons.”
The Wings are banking on getting their injured players back and the further development of their prospects, who have filled in and have them in a playoff spot heading into play Wednesday.
“From a depth standpoint, we have young kids that have played,” Holland said. “We’re going to go with the kids. If we need forwards, Riley Sheahan deserves a chance, Landon Ferraro, we’ve got Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Damien Brunner, certainly on defense with the signing of Danny DeKeyser and the play of (Brian) Lashoff and (Jakub) Kindl we think the young kids could be real good depth players for us.”
One thing Detroit was unwilling to part with was a first-round draft pick.
“We haven’t had a top 10 pick since 1993,” Holland said. “We traded eight or nine first round picks from 1995 to 2003; those players are in the NHL. They were picked by other teams and they’re playing in the NHL. I think since ’05 for the most part we’ve tried to be conservative and I think that’s part of the reason why we’ve got some young players on the roster and some others coming through the system.”
Wings coach Mike Babcock said he’s 100 percent comfortable with his current roster as the team looks to extend its consecutive years in the playoffs to 22.
“I never ever felt like we were going to do anything to be honest with you,” Babcock said. “I kind of like what we’ve got going and the direction we’re heading in. We’ve got some kids that are really coming. We’re trying to figure out which kids will help us be successful. There are a few more kids in the minors, particularly Sheahan I’d like to have a look at as well. We’re going to keep doing what we can as will the players.”
The Wings’ have yet to play with the lineup they thought they would have had when the season started.
“I think for us all year we’ve had so many injuries,” team captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “I think getting some guys back that’s some new bodies, getting some new, fresh blood in. That’s the same as getting a player from another team. I think we have a good squad in here and looking forward to the postseason.”
The Wings are currently seventh in the Western Conference.
“I’ve been satisfied lots of years,” Babcock said. “But they’re different each and every year. This year has been invigorating for me because there are so many kids and every day there are so many projects. There’s way more individual video, way more meetings to help kids get better quickly. Our strength coach has done a fantastic job this year and it’s all been a part of us getting better and I think that’s been more important than ever this year.”