Wojnowski encourages Ken Holland to ‘be bolder’ in his deadline dealings

The Detroit News’s Bob Wojnowski attended Tuesday night’s Red Wings game, and he asked the players and coach some hard questions as to whether the team or coach might “fold the tent” once they knew that their team would be “sellers”–with stern, “No” answers in the offing.

This morning, Wojo suggests that the Red Wings’ GM, Ken Holland, “needs to be daring in his dealings” to accelerate the Wings’ rebuild-on-the-fly:

Between now and Monday’s trade deadline, there will be a lot more rumors than actual movement. Petr Mrazek is gone and defenseman Mike Green almost assuredly will be gone, and beyond that, it’ll be difficult finding trade partners for decent Wings players with indecent contracts.

Now is the time for Holland to be bolder, with less to lose as the Wings slide toward a second straight playoff-less finish. Now would be the time for a risky leap, such as seeing what you can get for a tantalizing young player like Andreas Athanasiou, who has speed and skill, and also vexing defensive and effort lapses.

Now is when you shop other semi-affordable players having solid seasons, such as two of your leading scorers, Tomas Tatar, 27, and Gustav Nyquist, 28, (16 goals each), and perhaps Luke Glendening. Nashville reportedly is interested in Tatar, and although he’s owed $5.3 million per season through 2021, that might be palatable to a contender. Nyquist is more affordable, a free-agent after next season. Either might draw more than a pick, perhaps even a prime prospect.
Holland almost never makes value-for-value, equal-for-equal player trades, and for years, it wasn’t necessary. At the height of their success, the Wings simply dumped draft picks and prospects for better talent.
Now, instead of playing for Cups, they’re holding out a cup, asking for picks. The only certainty before Monday is that Green, 32, a pending unrestricted free-agent, will be dealt. Most rumors are gasps in the wind, but Holland must pursue every avenue.
Wojnowski continues, suggesting that the Wings trade Andreas Athanasiou for a defenseman, too, and Wojnowski suggests that now is not the time for the team to stand pat to avoid “pain”:

“If there’s nothing that makes real sense to us, and all we’re doing is helping somebody else out and not getting what we think is fair value for our players, we’ll go back to the summertime and start all over again,” Holland said. There’s gonna be some pain along the way, some decisions I have to make for the future — take one or two steps backward in the hope you’re gonna be three or four steps forward down the road.”

Patience can be painful, and also prudent. But just as there’s no guarantee a massive rebuild — with the longshot hope of landing a top lottery pick — will be fruitful, there’s no certainty in patience either. It doesn’t hurt much to trade Mrazek and Green. It remains to be seen whether Holland and the Wings are willing to stomach real pain.

I think “we’re” already stomaching some real pain on a nightly basis, but I’m also a fan who pretends to be a semi-objective blogger.

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

6 thoughts on “Wojnowski encourages Ken Holland to ‘be bolder’ in his deadline dealings”

  1. “I think “we’re” already stomaching some real pain on a nightly basis, but I’m also a fan who pretends to be a semi-objective blogger.”

    Holland has guaranteed pain, George. And he’s guaranteed it won’t be quick now by continually delaying the inevitable.

    Wojnowski is right. It’s been time for a year or so to be bold, but Holland needs to be REALLY bold right now. There is nothing to be gained by being conservative.

    That doesn’t mean Holland should trade for terrible returns. But he needs to be aggressive and not wait for the perfect deal to come to him.

    1. Holland is…frustrating. I don’t expect Tatar or Nyquist to be moved until the draft, which may ease some “pain.”

  2. I imagine Mr. Holland being as aggressive as he is capable of and still not netting any 1st round draft picks…The pain must be dropping below the respectable win/loss ratio.

    Keep healthy locker room leaders so there is still some pride maintained, but otherwise cut deep.

    The Bosses must tell Mr. Holland he will be retained based on how high a draft he can pull off the next 2 (hope?) years. No public words of wisdom has been issued from them yet tho so i assume they still must win for Pride and $$.

      1. That’s where I keep reading, “The ownership will sell!” and try not to laugh out loud. The Wings poured over half a billion dollars into a new rink. I don’t think they’re in the mood to sell their prime attraction!

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