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Holland likes Red Wings' foundation

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

DALLAS – The league’s annual trade deadline day Monday was a quiet one for the Red Wings, who chose to stand pat with their current roster in the waning weeks of the regular season.

Detroit did trade veteran defenseman Jakub Kindl to Florida for a sixth-round draft pick, but that move went down Saturday.

Basically, Holland said he was uninterested in losing future first- or second-round picks to acquire a veteran player who will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer.

After the 3 p.m. EST deadline passed, Wings general manager met with members of the Detroit media at the team’s hotel.

Here is a transcript of what Holland told reporters:

Did you come close to any trade?

"Not really. Did some talking, obviously. There wasn't many deals done today around the entire league. I think it was seven or eight, almost the least amount of deals in 20 years. For our team, I think that we're in a unique situation because of the makeup of our team, the age of our team. Some are young and some are old. Didn't have any desire to trade our first or second-round pick, we traded our third-round pick last year for Marek Zidlicky. Didn't have any desire to trade our top prospects. Then if you looked at the open market, there were some players there that we felt could come and fit in, but we were looking for upgrades and when you look at the young players, the way they've contributed in Detroit, then we've looked at Grand Rapids, the development here the last 40 games of Anthony Mantha, we had Nosek up, we liked Nosek when he came up. The contribution of Athanasiou, we just felt that we're going to continue to go from within."

Were the limited options were the prices just too high?

"You can look at the deals when they're all done. Some players obviously aren't going to be a fit for us, for a variety of reasons. We got a cap. Obviously with the trade of Jakub Kindl, it opened up some cap space if we wanted to do something. I think the biggest thing where we're going it's the youth. On defense, Xavier Ouellet was on the American League All-Star game, has come up and played 25-30 games over the last two or three years. Robbie Russo was named the American League Player of the Week this week, he's plus-35, he's a young player. You look at Athanasiou, you look at Mrazek, you look at Marchenko, I've just talked about up front, that's where we're going. The last two years, I was aggressive at the deadline. Over the last two years, I've traded two second-round picks, a third-round pick, Janmark, Jarnkrok, Backman. We've been aggressive but while we've been aggressive, the system, the job that our amateur scouts have done, the job that Grand Rapids has done, we can see what's going on here in Detroit, that's the direction that we're going. We're trying to push for a playoff spot but we're trying to push for a playoff spot with young people. I think that's the direction that we've got to go. To wake up today and to trade more draft picks and more prospects to try to bring in some UFA, we felt as we sat in that room today that it was a direction that we didn't want to go and at the same time, it's not like there were a whole lot of people available to us that could come in and significantly upgrade our team. Those players, for the most part, aren't available."

With the current landscape of the league, has deadline day become a little diminished?

"The Detroit Red Wings are the Detroit Red Wings that you know because of the drafting in the '80s and the drafting in the '90s and that's who we are, that's how you build a strong organization. Again, I’m gonna come back to the last two years we were aggressive. We pursued players. I don’t think we make the playoffs two years ago without the addition of David Legwand. When the year was over we made a decision not to re-sign him. You lose a second-round pick and basically we traded a second-round pick to get in. Last year we tried to go for it. We traded a second-round pick for Erik Cole as part of a package, we traded a third-round pick for Zidlicky. We had some injuries and some suspensions and your whole team is affected. So I think that again, the direction that the Detroit Red Wings are going, we’re trying to compete for a playoff spot. We’re trying to build something here. We’re trying to build a foundation, the next foundation. We had a foundation in the 90s, we’ve had a foundation in the 2000s and we’re in the process of trying to build a foundation of players … we need picks. We’ve got to go to the NHL draft in June. We need picks. We think that the depth is the young people in our organization and I think you can see what’s gone on here over the last 12 months with the development of Mrazek, with the development of Marchenko, with the addition of Athanasiou. We talked about Ouellet and what some of the young players are doing. So if you’re not prepared, and I was not prepared to trade our first-round pick, our second-round pick and any of our top prospects, you start limiting yourself. And then on top of all that, you look at the players who are available and the people that we’ve got, but not only on the team in Detroit but the young players coming, it starts to add up and it’s hard to do a deal. There was probably, if you look at the deals today, there’s probably two or three teams that really tried to do some things. There’s lots of smallish deals and that’s the trade deadline. Certainly today’s trade deadline, I think was the least amount of players in the last 20 years. Somebody told me since 1993 there were nine (trades) and at three o’clock there were five today, so it’s going to be one of the lowest trade deadlines in the last 20 years in the National Hockey League. I think it speaks to the … prior to ’05 we traded seven first-round draft picks. It was a different time. You need picks. Again, we’re trying to build a foundation. We’re trying to make the playoffs and we thought last year there were some moves there that … we brought in Erik Cole and we brought in Marek Zidlicky, we signed Mike Green, we signed Brad Richards, we got in Dylan Larkin. I talked about the people pushing their way in the system. It all adds up as we sat there today, it all added up at three o’clock and we didn’t do anything. I like our team. We were a top-10 scoring team last year in the regular season. This year we’re a bottom-10 scoring team. I think that we can score more. We scored four goals (fifth was empty-netter) the other night in Colorado. There’s some people that scored that I think can score and if you go out and bring in some people all I’m doing is taking ice time away from somebody. There’s only so much ice time to go around and we think that some of the people we’ve got here, I think we need to believe in them and keep giving them ice time. They’ve produced in the past and I believe they’re going to produce.” editor Dana Wakiji contributed to this report.

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