Target Acquired: Bobby Ryan

The Red Wings are preparing for a busy few weeks as the NHL draft and free agency loom ahead. The roster is sure to change due to signings and departures and possible trades.

Ken Holland has claimed on several occasions that Detroit will be aggressive in improving itself this summer and is open to exploring options it hasn't in recent years (trades) or ever (trading for a player's rights, offer sheets). The Red Wings haven't made a blockbuster trade since acquiring Mathieu Schneider from the LA Kings for Sean Avery, Max Kuznetsov, their 2003 first round pick and 2004 second round pick at the 2003 deadline.

The biggest trades since them were their trades for Todd Bertuzzi and Brad Stuart. Detroit has a penchant for trading prospects and picks more often than roster players but this could change this summer. Given that the UFA market is thin and there are going to be several deep-pocketed bidders pursuing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, it is possible the Wings could strike out on both although they are conceded to be a favorite, especially for Suter. A trade would be the other means to acquire the top-level talent Detroit needs an infusion of to become a true Cup contender next year. 

Rick Nash is out of the question due to the price and that Columbus won't trade their greatest player to a division rival, but another power forward's name has re-entered the rumor mill. Bob McKenzie of TSN reported via Twitter that "Bobby Ryan is 'available' again." 

Mike Babcock and Ken Holland have expressed a desire to bulk up Detroit's forwards and Ryan comes in at 6'2, 209 lbs according to TSN. He is only 25 with a cap hit of 5.1 million dollars. He would bring some much needed size to the top two lines. Although the price won't be cheap, Ryan may be worth acquiring as the only similarly sized high-scoring UFA forward is the enigmatic, risky Alex Semin.

Detroit would probably have to part with two roster players, and a prospect and/or draft pick. Due to Ryan's moderate cap hit for a player of his caliber this acquisition would not limit Detroit's financial ability to pursue Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. This is a move that would immediately strengthen Detroit's offensive core and bring the size necessary to compete in the contemporary NHL. The draft begins Friday evening and Bobby Ryan is sure to be a prominent fixture in the rumor mill alongside Rick Nash.

 

-A.K. Bennett, @MrAdrianKeith

 

Update: Per Bob McKenzie's Twitter, Anaheim is looking for 2-3 players for organizational depth, but not adding on payroll. This probably means Anaheim wants top prospects which may take Detroit out of the running.