Players will often wax poetic about their love for the game of hockey but Detroit Red Wings players were given a wake up call that what they do for a living is still first and foremost a business.
Detroit defenseman Nick Leddy was sitting on the sidelines as the Red Wings beat the Vancouver Canucks 1-0 on Thursday. The reason given is what’s become known in sporting circles as “asset management.”
In layman’s terms, the Wing are close to completing a deal involving Leddy. Thus, they can’t run the risk of him suffering an injury.
The Dallas Stars are rumored to be the team in talks with the Wings regarding Leddy.
The situation is serving to remind Red Wings players that they as hockey players are also chattel. The possibility of them being moved on at any moment is always looming. However, it’s especially prescient with the March 21 trade deadline looming.
“It’s different,” Red Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic said. “I really honestly have never gone through something like this. There really wasn’t much trading going on in Carolina.
“I think for the five years that I was there, there was one year where they made a handful of moves and it really affected us in Charlotte.”
Playing for a contender in Carolina, the art of the deal that Nedeljkovic was witnessing involved prospects or picks being moved to garner players to help in a Stanley Cup run. With a rebuilding team like Detroit, that script is flipped. Wings GM Steve Yzerman is wanting to move bodies in exchange for futures.
“Whatever happens, happens,” Nedeljkovic said. “At the end of the day it’s a business.”
Red Wings Goalies Haunting Canucks
Who’s Hot: Nedeljkovic made 43 saves in blanking the Canucks. It was the most saves by a Detroit goalie in a shutout since Terry Sawchuk blocked 50 in a 4-0 win over the New York Rangers on Nov. 14, 1959.
Who’s Not: The Canucks when they see the Wings at the other end. Detroit entered Thursday’s game with an .885 save percentage. Against Vancouver this season, Nedeljkovic and Thomas Greiss have combined for a .988 save percentage (82-of-83).
Griffins Shake Up Roster
The AHL Grand Rapids Griffins are making roster moves themselves. The clear day for AHL rosters is nearing. That’s also on March 21. Players must be listed on an AHL roster that day in order to be eligible for the Calder Cup playoffs.
Friday, the Red Wings were returning defenseman/forward Luke Witkowski to the Griffins.
In recent days, the Griffins have assigned defenseman Seth Barton to the ECHL Toledo Walleye. Detroit’s 81st overall pck in the 2018 NHL entry draft, injuries have limited Barton, 22, to five games with Grand Rapids and three with Toledo this season.
In an earlier separate move, the Griffins recalled left wing Patrick Curry from the Toledo Walleye (ECHL) and assigned left wing Hayden Verbeek to Toledo.
In Case You Missed It
- Ending a six-game losing skid, the Red Wings beat Vancouver 1-0
- Where does Red Wings rearguard Nick Leddy rank among available NHL defensemen?
The Claude Giroux Watch
Now that he’s played his 1,000th NHL game, everyone in hockey is wondering if Flyers captain Claude Giroux will be playing Game 1,001 for Philadelphia. He’s been linked to more destinations than a Southwest Airlines coast-to-coast flight.
Philadelphia: Giroux wasn’t part of the traveling party as the Philadelphia Flyers hit the road on Friday.
Colorado: The Flyers and the Colorado Avalanche are still working hard toward finding common ground on a Giroux deal.
Florida: The Florida Panthers are also strong suitors for Giroux’s services. So much so that joining the Florida scouts in Philly for Thursday’s game was Stiles Burr, the team’s traveling secretary.