COMMENTARY | As the first of two trade deadline approaches -- there is a trade freeze on Feb. 7 during the Olympics that ends Feb. 23, and the actual trade deadline on March 5 -- rumors and speculation have begun in the NHL.
Teams near the bottom of the standings are looking for draft picks and prospects in return for their star players that could make teams near the top of the standings Stanley Cup favorites.
After turning down a substantial contract offer from the New York Islanders, Thomas Vanek is thought to be one of those trade rumors. Detroit reportedly is thought to be a possible destination for the 30-year-old winger.
Having a prolific goal scorer like Vanek seems like a good idea at first, but the Red Wings would be wise not to invest in Vanek, who would be nothing more than a rental at this point since he is an unrestricted free agent after this season.
If the Red Wings were to make a deal before the deadline, it should be for a top-four defenseman before they go after a top-six forward. But as I stated in an article earlier this week, top-four defensemen do not grow on trees and finding one the Red Wings both want and could afford is near impossible right now.
Not to mention the Islanders are going to want a lot in return for Vanek. We're talking about possibly giving up Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar or Tomas Jurco, another prospect like Teemu Pulkkinen or Landon Ferraro and a first- or second-round draft pick. This is all for a rental who has expressed interest in testing the free agent market this offseason.
If I believed Vanek was the missing piece needed to get the Red Wings a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup, then I would be all for it. Unfortunately, Vanek will not put the Red Wings over the top. Vanek would add a goal-scoring punch, but at the risk of losing Nyquist, Tatar or other young, talented players, it's not worth it.
Vanek's $5.75 million cap hit also is a big road block for the Red Wings. Detroit already has to make some moves when Stephen Weiss returns form long-term injured reserve after the Olympics. Adding Vanek's cap hit would only complicate the situation.
The Red Wings have a great crop of young talent, something a lot of NHL teams would kill for in their farm systems. Don't waste years of drafting and molding that young talent just to waste it on a three-month rental that is going to leave at the end of the season.
Tom Mitsos is a Michigan native who writes about the Detroit Red Wings for the Yahoo Contributor Network. He also co-hosts a Red Wings Podcast called The Octopod, and is a high school sports reporter at MLive Media Group. You can follow Tom on Twitter.
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