Wings intensify search for forward
Guerin, Roberts may cost too much
February 20, 2007
BY HELENE ST. JAMES
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER
The Red Wings are curious. Who might soon join them -- if anyone?
A week remains before the Feb. 27 trade deadline, and general manager Ken Holland is searching for a top-six forward. He has about $5 million in face-value cap room, but there are a dozen teams looking to improve, and that's keeping prices prohibitively high.
"You'd always like to improve your hockey team, but I'd like to have a house on a hill in Aspen, too," coach Mike Babcock said Monday. "But there's a cost to that, so that's where you have to do your math and work it out. How do we win at playoff time and how do we have the best roster we can for next season? That's where the tough decisions come."
With Nashville having acquired Peter Forsberg, Bill Guerin of St. Louis is the second-most desirable option. But in addition to price, there's the question of whether the Blues would trade him to a Central Division rival. Other names out there include Guerin's teammate Keith Tkachuk, Florida's Gary Roberts and Jozef Stumpel, and Columbus' Anson Carter. It's looking more unlikely that Todd Bertuzzi will be moved because he has yet to play after back surgery, and that's a tremendous risk for any team to take -- unless Florida decides to sell him for a low price.
While Babcock and Holland talk daily, the players wait to hear.
"We know there are some names out there, and Kenny is going to add the player he feels is going to complement this team the best," Kris Draper said. "A nice power forward, everybody wants to add those kinds of guys. That would certainly be something that would help out this hockey club. I'm sure he's looking at adding a player that can play on the power play and help out in an offensive role."
Chris Chelios, a trade-day deadline acquisition in 1999, said the downside is if there's a cost from within the locker room.
"It's a tough thing to talk about because it affects your teammates," he said. "If they're just going to give away draft picks, I could care less, because I don't worry about tomorrow at my age. If we happen to pick up a player and we don't have to give up too much, it's great."
NOTEBOOK: For the second straight week, Henrik Zetterberg was selected by the NHL as its first star, this time after four goals and four assists in three games for the week ending Sunday. "It's just been really good of late," he said. "Hopefully I can stay like this for a bit longer, but I just have to enjoy it because it won't last forever."...
It has been two weeks since Mikael Samuelsson aggravated a broken bone in his right foot, and it's uncertain when he'll rejoin practices. "I have no idea, but he's on that table every day when I walk in," Babcock said of the trainer's table in the medical room.
Contact HELENE ST. JAMES at 313-222-2295 firstname.lastname@example.org
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