Detroit will play Colorado on April 2nd this year; it will be their 36th game of the season. The next day, at 3pm EST, the NHL's trade deadline will pass and teams will be more-or-less set for the final month of the season, continuing into the playoffs. Between now and then, Detroit will play 17 more games. Nine of those games will be on the road.
Currently, the Wings sit just one game shy of that magical "20-game snapshot" for the club to know what they're working with and, well, we've got a handful of pretty good guesses and a large nebulous cloud of possibilities looming ahead. The Wings currently cling to the 6th spot in the Western Conference (behind 3 of their Central Division rivals). Wednesday's opponent Los Angeles sits one point back with two games in hand.
By all appearances, Detroit remains a middle-of-the-pack team. Their scoring output is good, but their defense is below average. They're effective at 5-on-5, but still terrible on special teams. The saving grace, at least per GM Ken Holland is that injuries to players like Brendan Smith, Johan Franzen, Darren Helm, and Todd Bertuzzi are at least supposed to be temporary. The expectation there is that when the team gets healthy, they're a noticeably better club. The right combination of luck could strike just right for the Red Wings as far as the postseason is concerned.
That said, the discussion about whether Detroit should sell assets will undoubtedly continue until the trade deadline. Ahhh, who are we kidding? The trade deadline isn't going to stop that talk; at best, it will merely slow it down.
When it comes to selling assets, one name comes up most-often in serious discussion: Valtteri Filppula. The 28-year old two-way center/winger is in the last year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. He's struggled at times this season, but still has the benefit of a 66-point breakout campaign for the Wings in the 2011-12 season.
Red Wings Should not Rush to Trade Valtteri Filppula
Winging It In Motown | Feb 26