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Kindl gone, what's next?

by Dana Wakiji / Detroit Red Wings
Jakub Kindl, a former first-round draft pick, was traded to the Florida Panthers for a 2017 sixth-round pick Saturday. (Photo by Getty Images)

DENVER -- Jakub Kindl is gone so what is next for the Red Wings before Monday's trade deadline?

From general manager Ken Holland's perspective, it doesn't sound like a whole lot but things can always change quickly.

"I'll work the phones," Holland said before the Stadium Series game Saturday night in Denver. "We aren't trading our first-round draft pick, we're not trading our best prospects. So it gets to a point where it's hard to do a deal."

The Wings have made deals in the past couple of years, one to shore up a depleted group of centers by acquiring David Legwand, and last year acquiring Erik Cole and defenseman Marek Zidlicky.

The Wings gave up Calle Jarnkrok, Patrick Eaves and a third-round pick in the Legwand deal; Mattias Backman, Mattias Janmark and a second-round pick in the Cole deal; and a conditional third-round pick in the Zidlicky deal.

"We got to pick and choose when we want to go for it," Holland said. "We went for it last year, we went for it the year before. You can't do it year after year after year after year after year. That's the bottom line."

Holland said in his mind, not making the playoffs for five to seven years to collect top draft picks was not the way this team operates.

The Wings have made the playoffs 24 straight seasons and have chosen as well as possible later in the draft.

"We're going with our younger people," Holland said. "You see (Andreas) Athanasiou up here, you see (Petr) Mrazek up here, you see (Alexey) Marchenko up here, you saw (Xavier) Ouellet up here, (Tomas) Nosek was up here. Anthony Mantha's playing good in the American Hockey League now the last 20 games, Tyler Bertuzzi the last 20 games has taken a step in his career, (Ryan) Sproul is playing real well down there.

"They're not all going to be up here. We've made decisions the last few years to try to get in, some of those players are playing well around the NHL. We can't continue to run business like that. I think it all adds up to I'm not sure what'll happen before Monday but we'll see."

As for Kindl, whom the Wings sent to the Florida Panthers for a 2017 sixth-round pick, Holland is hoping that decision turns out to be good for all parties involved.

"The important thing for us as we head into the offseason is we got a guy that unfortunately wasn't able to establish himself as a top six defenseman here," Holland said. "It's about two million, 40 thousand dollars in cap space that we've freed up. We've got some restricteds to sign. Today I think was an important trade for us going forward into the summertime.

"Certainly we're happy to create cap space and hopefully Jakub Kindl plays well for Florida and kind of gets his career going where we hoped he was when we drafted him in the first round a number of years ago."

The Wings selected Kindl with their first-round pick (19th overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

The development of some of the Wings young defensemen made the trade possible.

"We've played here for almost a month without Nik Kronwall, who's our best defenseman, and for a stretch there it was without Kronwall and Green, and then Kronwall and (Jonathan) Ericsson," Holland said. "Our defense for the most part throughout all that stretch was good. We haven't scored quite as much as we'd like but I think the depth of the defense has allowed us to really kind of stay in the race. With the job that Ouellet did this week, Marchy's established as a top six, he's playing tonight in the outdoor game. We got all seven defenseman healthy, the addition of Mike Green, it all sort of added up that Jakub Kindl really became an eighth or a ninth guy here for the rest of this year.

"Ouellet can't be sent down next year, obviously Sproul can't go through waivers, (Nick) Jensen can't go through waivers, Nosek can't go through waivers, Marchenko can't go through waivers. It appeared that Jakub Kindl was going to be in the same situation in September that he is now. Florida got what they wanted, we got what we wanted."

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