DETROIT >> As the NHL trade deadline gets closer don’t look for the Detroit Red Wings to be a seller.
And don’t look for anything major to happen by Wednesday that’ll change the current roster drastically.
“We’re not selling,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “I look at us a lot like last year. We had some unrestricted free agents last year. We weren’t a buyer, we weren’t a seller. I felt if we could just get our team together we could play our way in, which we did.
“I’d like to make a hockey trade if possible to try and obtain someone out there that that we think makes our team better,” Holland added.
The Wings won out over their last four games to make the playoffs last season. Then they beat Anaheim and went seven games with the Chicago, which went on to win the Stanley Cup.
“We’re going to definitely explore the market,” Holland said. “Calls are starting to come in so we’ll see. We’re always looking to upgrade, but when you’re battling for a playoff spot it’s hard to trade. Those days in the late 90s and early 2000s when you would trade one or two of three first round picks to acquire players is hard to do when you’re in our position.”
Holland said he talked to a handful of managers that attended the Olympics.
Despite the loss of Henrik Zetterberg for the rest of the regular season due to back surgery, the Wings don’t seem to be in the market for a forward.
They also won’t be in the market for a goalie.
“We’re set in goal,” Holland said. “With the development of (Tomas) Jurco, (Gustav) Nyquist, (Tomas) Tatar, (Riley) Sheahan and (Luke Glendening) and if (Johan Franzen) and (Pavel) Datsyuk stay healthy we’re set up front.”
Stephen Weiss is also close to returning.
“I don’t know if I can make a deal for many players out there that are better than the forwards we have,” Holland said. “We’re probably the healthiest we’ve been since early December.”
The youth from Grand Rapids has helped keep the Wings in the playoff picture, where they’re tied in points with Washington for the last wild card spot, but have played two less games.
Nyquist is tied for second on the team with 15 goals and Tatar has 14.
Detroit’s biggest need is on the blue line.
“On defense, beyond the seven we’ve got, we’ve got a lot of kids in Grand Rapids,” Holland said. “This time of year every team is looking for defensemen.
“It depends on who’s available,” Holland continued. “I don’t see us playing a big price on a rental. I don’t believe that’s the direction we should go but you never know when you get to Wednesday.”
One possible target is defenseman Andrew MacDonald of the New York Islanders. He’s in the last year of a deal worth $550,000.
“The first question will be what’s the expense of the rental,” Holland said. “And when you’re (tied) for the last playoff spot it’s hard to trade a top prospect or a first-round draft pick to rent a player, but at the same time we’re always looking to upgrade. If there’s a hockey trade out there – I call a hockey trade a trade that affects your team going into next season – I’m obviously open to it.”
The first big trade thus far was Buffalo trading Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to St. Louis for Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, William Carrier, a first-round pick in 2015 and a conditional third-round pick in 2016.
“I think it’s the same every year,” Holland said. “You can always count on between 20-25 trade between now and Wednesday. There will be a lot of little ones and probably three or four bigger ones.
“Bottom line is we’ve got to win games,” Holland continued.