What’s The Grind Line? Apart from the once-famous line of Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, and either Joe Kocur or Darren McCarty, The Grind Line is also The Hockey Writers’ weekly column about the Detroit Red Wings. Rachel Anderson and Tony Wolak are the muckers who make up THW’s forechecking unit and sound off on Red Wings topics.
Over the years, the Detroit Red Wings have amassed quite the collection of prospects. Much like the club’s current NHL roster, the prospect pool has become log-jammed with unusable players. The usability isn’t necessarily due to a lack of talent but rather, a lack of development opportunity with the team.
Detroit has players developing in virtually every league as of now – the KHL, SHL, Liiga, QMJHL, NCAA, AHL, and the list goes on. Many of these skaters, young and very pliable in terms of the development, would make excellent trade bait pieces. Several could be moved with the intent of making room in the pool for more focused development and get a more immediate return.
The Grind Line took a step back from the hubbub that comes with being last in the league to assess the prospect pool. We wanted to explore the trade value of some prospects throughout the system and the reason why those players could (or should) be moved. Also, what kind of return could be expected from such a trade?
Rachel Anderson – Christoffer Ehn
The center position will be shifting quite a bit in the upcoming seasons. Unfortunately for Christoffer Ehn, he’s fighting against other prospects like Joe Veleno, the surging Chase Pearson and a now-healthy Michael Rasmussen – all vying for a top center position in Detroit.
Ehn would be able to be combined with another player for a good return for more immediate vacancies or a few picks. Ehn is a fast learner and controls his game with a ton of potential and trade value. The Red Wings don’t have the room for him up top. Thinking about trading off a draft selection is tough but Detroit needs to be making moves with pieces they’re not utilizing. They’ve already begun the trend by trading David Pope and Vili Saarijarvi earlier this season. Adding Ehn or others to that category isn’t too far fetched.
Tony Wolak – Dennis Cholowski
First and foremost, the Red Wings ideally aren’t trading anyone in their prospect pool. While rebuilding, they should be amassing prospects and picks at the deadline, not trading them.
However, there is some precedent for Steve Yzerman to trade a recent draft pick. Four years ago, Yzerman dealt former first-round pick Tony DeAngelo for a second-rounder after the defenseman did not progress enough in the two seasons after he was drafted. The player selected with the pick acquired for DeAngelo, Libor Hajek, was also dealt as a prospect.
Could Yzerman trade Dennis Cholowski? He didn’t draft the defenseman and his NHL stints have been pretty rough so far. I explored the scenario in my recent mock trade deadline.
It’s unlikely that the Red Wings trade their former first-round pick, but it’s certainly an interesting option to consider.
Are there any prospects you think would add value to a Red Wings trade? Comment below!
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I am a Detroit Red Wings prospect journalist for Access Hockey MI covering the Grand Rapids Griffins and Toledo Walleye prospect development. Draft analyst for USHL hockey with the Muskegon Lumberjacks.