Updated 5x at 10:25 PM: Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke with the media on a conference call this evening (click for the Tweet post), addressing the trade of Tomas Tatar and the team’s lack of deadline moves.
Fox 2 Detroit posted a clip of the audio from Holland’s call, so first and foremost, you can listen to KH yourself:
With regards to Green, he was certainly expected to be moved, but due to his recent nagging neck injury and potential suitors chasing after the likes of Ryan McDonagh (acquired by Tampa Bay) and Erik Karlsson, a deal couldn’t be made. Holland confirmed one team requested his medical report and another team was interested over the last four-five days.
“There was interest, and over the last week, obviously Mike hasn’t played,” Holland said. “I have to give full disclosure. One team out there requested his medical reports and we had talked to a team doctor, and another team was very interested here over the last four or five days, but obviously Mike hasn’t been able to play, the injury that he’s got is something that could resurface again here. He’s getting better, a chance he could be in our lineup this weekend.
“Obviously hard for a team to add a player that they weren’t 100-percent sure when he was gonna come back and if he did come back, if maybe the injury flared up again, so that had everything to do with Mike Green remaining a Red Wing. Certainly, I talked to Mike. Mike was open to being traded to another team. He would’ve loved the opportunity to go for a team that had a real chance to win a Stanley Cup. We had that conversation ten days ago.”
Otherwise, Holland suggested that he made a trade “for the future,” as noted by the Free Press’s Helene St. James…
The Wings traded forward Tomas Tatar to the Vegas Golden Knights just before Monday’s deadline, in exchange for a first-round pick in 2018, a second-round pick in 2019, and a third-round pick in 2021.
“This was about the future,” general manager Ken Holland said. “This was about creating opportunity for younger people in the organization that we think are ready.”
Holland named Tyler Bertuzzi as one such candidate, along with prospects Evgeny Svechnikov and, maybe next season, Michael Rasmussen, the ninth overall pick from last summer.
“I am trying to build a team here that somewhere down the road can compete for the Stanley Cup,” Holland said. “It has to be done through the draft. Now there’s more draft picks, more assets.”
But Holland made a contradictory remark regarding his decision to hold onto other assets:
Tatar ended up being the Wings’ only move of the day. Holland said he had “lots of discussions about lots of players … but by no stretch of the imagination was I looking to move out a ton of people. The wheels are turning and we are trying to get younger, but for those young people, it’s important we have veteran leadership to guide them.”
There will be more added to this post–MLive’s Ansar Khan, the Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa and Ted Kulfan and CBS Detroit’s Will Burtchfield all have to weigh in yet–but if you want to hear another 20 minutes’ worth of Ken Holland, here’s your appointment viewing:
Ken Holland will join us at 9:18 Tuesday morning
— Jamie and Stoney (@JamieandStoney) February 26, 2018
Update: Here’s more from Hockeybuzz’s Bob Duff:
“I really made the deal because we’re looking forwards the future,” Red Wings GM Ken Holland told Mlive.com. “I had to make a decision, and as I look towards ’18-19, I thought that we have a lot of wingers on our board competing for spots next year – Tatar, (Gustav) Nyquist, (Andreas) Athanasiou, (Anthony) Mantha, (Justin) Abdelkader, (Luke) Glendening, (Darren) Helm.”
Tyler Bertuzzi moved up to the big club this season. There’s also Evgeny Svechnikov in AHL Grand Rapids, and 2017 first-round pick Michael Rasmussen with Tri-City of the WHL, a center who if he cracks the Detroit lineup next season at 19, could do like Dylan Larkin and launch his NHL career on the wing.
“I think we were dealing from a position where I had a lot of wingers,” Holland said. “I wanted to create some opportunity for the younger people.
“I’m trying to build a team here that somewhere down the road can compete for a Stanley Cup. It’s gotta be done through the draft. If there’s more draft picks, there’s more assets.”
The Wings also hold Ottawa’s second-round pick this June and could conceivably make four picks in the top 45. Or they could look to package one of their first rounders to try and acquire some established talent, perhaps help for the defense.
“Do we use the picks to do something? I don’t know,” Holland said. “We’ll see what the future brings, but the reality is the more assets you have, we’ll be able to use those future assets.”
Update #2: Even more from the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan…
“When looking into ’18-’19, I felt we had a lot of wingers on our board competing for spots next year,” Holland said. “Certainly we have wingers, and we had an opportunity to acquire some picks to build our team for the future. If you want to create opportunity for some of the younger people in our organization that are banging on the door, I have to create opportunity. I have to move somebody.Our goal is to build a team that can compete for the Stanley Cup, and that’s going to happen through the draft. This gets us additional draft picks going forward.”
Vegas is an expansion team who is surprising the hockey world, leading the Western Conference. The Golden Knights had a bushel of draft picks — having accumulated them during the expansion draft — and tapped into them to land Tatar.
Holland and Vegas GM George McPhee began talking two weeks ago, after McPhee expressed interest in Tatar, and the two finalized terms of the trade Tuesday.
“Tomas will play very well in Vegas, and it’s a great trade for both teams,” Holland said.
Holland fielded calls for many players on the current roster, but talks didn’t advance far.
“We’re looking to the future, to build, but to hang on to a culture and environment where our young people come in and there are pros in the locker room,” said Holland, anticipating three to four young players on the Red Wings’ roster next season (Evgeny Svechnikov and Michael Rasmussen are possibilities). “I wanted to keep a hockey team. We’re going to play hockey in October and we have to try to be better, more competitive. When those young people go in there, it’s important we have veteran leadership to guide them.”
And MLive’s Ansar Khan:
Mike Green was the Detroit Red Wings’ most viable trade chip for most of the season, and in recent weeks, as the team fell further out of playoff contention, it appeared certain the veteran defenseman would be moved.
Then Green suffered a neck injury on a hit from Tampa Bay’s Adam Erne on Feb. 15. He hasn’t played since, and it affected his trade value. That’s why Green remains a Red Wing past Monday’s deadline, general manager Ken Holland said.
The Red Wings had extensive discussions with the Lightning, who acquired defenseman Ryan McDonagh from the New York Rangers. Washington, Green’s former team, also was interested.
“One team requested his medical reports,” Holland said. “Another team was very interested over the last four or five days, but Mike hasn’t been able to play. The injury is something that could resurface again.
“He’s getting better, there’s a chance he could be in our lineup this weekend. Hopefully he continues to practice and doesn’t have any flare-ups, but ultimately, it’s hard for a team to add a player they weren’t 100 percent sure was going to come back, and if he did come back that maybe the injury would flare-up again. That had everything to do with Mike Green remaining a Red Wing.”
CBS Detroit’s Will Burtchfield weighed in…
Holland is intent on rebuilding the Red Wings through the draft, and he now has four picks in the first two rounds of this year’s draft. That can become five based on the conditions of the Petr Mrazek trade.
“This was an opportunity to acquire some picks, to build our team for the future. Certainly our goal is to build a team that can contend for the Stanley Cup, and it’s really going to happen through the draft,” Holland said.
Another benefit for the Wings is the clearance of Tatar’s $5.3 million cap hit through the 2020-21 season. That will make it easier for the team to re-sign the likes of Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou this summer, all of whom will be restricted free agents.
But Holland said that wasn’t much of a concern to start with.
“I wasn’t worried about the cap. Had Tats stayed I think we were going to be able to squeeze everybody in if we had to,” Holland said. “This is more about looking toward the future and creating opportunity for some younger people in the organization.”
Holland’s discussions with Golden Knights GM George McPhee began about two weeks ago when he made it clear the Wings were looking to move a proven NHL player to acquire future assets. McPhee identified Tatar as a target for his team, currently in first place in the West, and talks heated up over the weekend. The two GMs spoke again Monday morning, and then McPhee made a formal offer around 1:30 Monday afternoon.
They made a few tweaks and came to an agreement about 10 minutes before the 3 p.m. deadline, Holland said.
“I was hoping to try to find a deal where we were going to get a high draft pick and a good, young prospect. Ultimately, we got the deal that we did, and I feel good about it,” said Holland.
Update #3: Even more from DetroitRedWings.com’s Dana Wakiji:
The Wings originally drafted Tatar, 27, in the second round, 60th overall, in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. T atar led the Wings in goals last season with 25 and has 16 goals and 12 assists in 62 games this season. Tatar’s most productive offensive season came in 2014-15, when he scored 29 goals, nine on the power play, and 27 assists in 82 games.
“It’s hard to let people go that you’ve watched from the draft table at the age of 18,” Holland said. “You watch them play junior or college or Europe, or whatever. They turn pro and they got the American League. And Tomas Tatar is the playoff MVP, scores 16 goals in 20 games and Grand Rapids wins the Calder Cup. Then he comes up to the National Hockey League and he scores 19 goals, and 29 goals, and 25 goals and plays hard every day. He’s durable. He’s in the lineup every night. And then you’ve got to trade those people, because we’re not where we need to be.”
The additional first-round pick gives the Wings as many as 11 for the draft this summer, including two in the first (Vegas), two in the second (Ottawa’s from the New York Rangers for Brendan Smith), two in the third (Pittsburgh’s for Riley Sheahan), two in the sixth (Montreal’s for Steve Ott); one in the fourth and seventh and a conditional fourth-round pick (Philadelphia’s for Petr Mrazek).
Philadelphia’s fourth-rounder could turn into a third-round pick if Mrazek wins three more games and the Flyers make the playoffs.
Detroit also has amassed a possible 10 picks in the 2019 draft: two in the second and fifth rounds; one in the first, third, fourth, sixth and seventh; and a conditional third-round pick from Philadelphia.
“The deal mostly was about creating opportunity, dealing from a position where we had an excess of wingers, and looking towards the future to try to build something here that can compete one day down the road as a legitimate Stanley Cup contender,” Holland said. “It’s gotta start at the draft table.
Update #4: Here’s even more from MLive’s Ansar Khan…
“I’m glad I was able to get Tomas Tatar to a real good team,” Holland said. “Obviously, Vegas is one of the top teams. There’s a lot of excitement in the city. They’re having a great year, first in the West, and they’re looking to go on a long playoff run. It looks like they’re going to have a good team next year and the year after. We feel good about the deal and what a great opportunity for Tomas Tatar.”
Holland said he had lots of discussions about other players but wasn’t interested in a fire sale.
Teams were interested in defenseman Mike Green as a rental, but he’s missed six games with a neck injury and there is a concern it could flare-up again.
A few clubs inquired about Luke Glendening, including Toronto, but the Maple Leafs instead acquired Tomas Plekanec. The Red Wings did not receive any offers for Gustav Nyquist, who has a full no-trade clause. They were not interested in moving Athanasiou, despite some speculation.
“We’re looking to the future, we’re looking to build, but at the same time, we’re trying to hang onto a culture, to an environment where our young people come in and there’s pros in that locker room,” Holland said. “We’re going to play hockey again in October and we got to try to be better as we’re moving some young people onto our team. We’re anticipating we’re going to have three, four young players on our roster next year from our system. It’s important to have veteran leadership role models in that locker room.”
And a bit from Vegas via the Associated Press’s Larry Lage:
The Knights acquired forward Tomas Tatar from the Detroit Red Wings for three draft picks on Monday. The Red Wings will receive Vegas’ 2018 first-round pick, a 2019 second-round pick that originally belonged to the New York Islanders and Vegas’ 2021 third-round pick. It was a steep price for the 27-year-old, but one that McPhee was willing to pay considering Las Vegas’ stunning debut season. The Knights are at the top of the Western Conference in their first season.
“It was easy because when we acquired all of those picks we said we’re either going to use those picks to draft players or to acquire players and this is an example of acquiring a player,” McPhee said.
“The picks that we gave up are spread out over four drafts so we have lots of picks and to spread them out over four drafts was not a problem for us. It was the way we were hoping to do a deal today.”
Tatar adds both scoring and depth to Vegas’ lineup. Tatar has 16 goals and 12 assists this season and is under contract through the 2020-21 season. He’s topped the 20-goal mark in each of the past three seasons and had 19 goals in his first full season in the league in 2013-14.
“We went into the deadline with one thing circled on our board, or at least this part of the deadline, and that was adding one more top-nine forward and we accomplished that,” McPhee said.
“He’s only 27. He’s quick, he’s competitive and he can score. He’s scored 20 goals a season over the last three years and he’s on pace to do it again. We didn’t want to trade draft picks for someone that isn’t going to be here after the summer and he has three years left on his contract, we’re happy about that.”
Update #5: Here’s the NHL Tonight on the Tatar trade, with Brian Lawton and Kevin Weekes weighing in: