Patrick Eaves has been removed from the long-term injured reserve list, but won’t suit up for the Detroit Red Wings when they take on the New York Rangers on Saturday. Eaves is just the most recent causality of Detroit’s glut of forwards at the NHL level. With Darren Helm (maybe, possibly) ready to return next week and Gustav Nyquist chomping at the bit to get out of Grand Rapids, things aren’t going to get any thinner up front for the Wings any time soon.
With several healthy scratches a night and an aching blue line, it stands to reason that eventually the Wings will have to move someone via trade or waivers.
Could Eaves be that player?
While rumors have circulated about Jordin Tootoo being on the trading block, the market seems small for a fourth-line forward that is set to make nearly $2 million this season and next. The Wings could probably find a dance partner if they were willing to eat some of Tootoo’s salary, but they want to move him to make room for Nyquist and his contract.
Eating some of Tootoo’s contract just isn’t an option.
That might force someone else out of the picture, but it shouldn’t be Eaves. If Detroit could think of one good reason to keep Danny Cleary around, they should be able to think of plenty more reasons to retain Eaves. For one, he’s outstanding on the penalty kill. Detroit’s PK currently ranks 18th in the NHL and needs to improve.
Adding Eaves and Helm within a few weeks of each other could be exactly the kind of jump that the Wings are looking for both from their depth scoring and on the penalty kill.