DETROIT >> With the NHL trade deadline less than a month away, Wings coach Mike Babcock and general manager Ken Holland met with that in mind Monday at Joe Louis Arena.
“We talked about our team, our minor league team, but this isn’t just about the trade deadline,” Babcock said. “Ken and I talk every day I think. There are no surprises, he knows what I want. Now in the end can you do what a guy wants? Is it possible or is the cost too great, short term, long term, all those things.
“In the end Ken has the final decision on all this, just like our roster,” Babcock continued. “That doesn’t mean I have tons to say. During the game I decide who goes on the ice, but he gives a ton of feedback in that area too, but we talk after each game too. That’s how we work together.”
The Wings have 67 points through 50 games and sit a point behind Tampa Bay for first place overall in the Eastern Conference and three points behind Nashville and Anaheim for first overall in the NHL.
“We’re in a good spot today,” Babcock said. “If you remember a few years back, we were in first, on top in the league, and we made a move to trade for Kyle Quincey. Then everybody got hurt. Even when we got them back we never got going again.”
The Wings finished fifth overall in the Western Conference that season and fell in five games to Nashville in the first round of the playoffs.
“Nick Lidstrom broke his leg and he was never Nick Lidstrom again,” Babcock said. “We had a number of injuries, unbelievable. We make the move and the whole team gets hurt. We might have won only five games after that point of the year so when you look at it we’re in a good spot today, but let’s understand it’s today and the league is moving ahead and you have to win games.”
The Wings’ most pressing need is a right-handed-shooting defenseman who can play the point on the power play. Two that could be available are Washington’s Mike Green or Buffalo’s Tyler Meyers, but they’re not going to part with any of their top prospects to obtain them.
“You always have a wish list of what you need to try and improve your team,” Babcock said. “Sometimes it’s reasonable and sometimes it’s not reasonable. That’s the general manager’s job and the pro scouts to sort that out.”
The Wings have not been a major player during recent trade deadlines and Henrik Zetterberg doesn’t see them doing much on or before March 2.
“Everyone knows when the deadline is and there will be some moves, but if you look back in our history, it’s not often that something happens,” Zetterberg said. “Last year we had a lot of injuries and we made a deal to get (David) Legwand. This year we’re healthy so I don’t expect us to do much but if something happens it will happen. It’s part of the sport and you just deal with it.
“I think if you’re one of the top teams and you get a new player, that player will do something good,” Zetterberg continued. “I think that’s the caliber of player you will get. He will be a good player. If that happens, I don’t think it will be uneasy to get him in the mix, but if nothing happens, nothing happens.”