We’ve named off skaters the Detroit Red Wings could trade for. We’ve listed off goalies that could be available on the open market. But there is another form of assets that we haven’t mentioned – draft picks.
Despite all the chatter on the draft floor (although this year, the draft will be a virtual event) the trades that commissioner Gary Bettman most often reads off involve one team moving up in the draft and another team moving back. For a rebuilding team like the Red Wings, there are arguments to be made for moving up as well as moving down.
But alas, it takes two to tango. As great as it would be to package up a boatload of picks to lure the first overall pick from the New York Rangers, realistically that isn’t going to happen. However, there are some interesting scenarios where the Red Wings could wield their draft capital to maneuver their way up and down the board. One such scenario involves the team’s first selection in the draft.
Red Wings Trade Pick #4 to the Anaheim Ducks for Picks #6 & #27
While losing out on the first selection of the 2020 draft was definitely a bummer, the fourth pick offers a variety of options for the team. One of those options is to dangle the pick as a way to move back and gain another first-rounder in the process. The Anaheim Ducks may be the best partner for such a move.
Let’s be clear though: this move is impossible if the Ducks don’t have somebody that they feel they need to have, and they fear that player will be gone by the time their pick is up. Players that could fit this mold are Lucas Raymond and Jamie Drysdale.
If the Red Wings are able to swing this move, they will still have the opportunity to draft one of whoever remains out of the group of Drysdale, Raymond, Cole Perfetti and Marco Rossi. The Red Wings have held the sixth pick in the last two drafts, so they’re certainly familiar with that selection spot. Heck, at sixth overall, the Red Wings could also target goaltender Yaroslav Askarov and it wouldn’t be considered as much of a reach as it would at fourth overall.
The added bonus? The 27th pick, originally belonging to the Boston Bruins. Much like when the Red Wings added Joe Veleno with the 30th pick in the 2018 draft, there could be a surprise faller in the draft waiting for them with the 27th pick. This team needs first-round talent, and you most frequently acquire that with first-round picks.
Related: Our Free NHL Draft Guide
I’m not betting the farm that a move like this happens simply because the Ducks are likely content to take whoever is available at sixth, plus the bonus of another pick in the first round. As much as Drysdale makes sense for them, Alexander Holtz makes a lot of sense too. However, if Ducks general manager Bob Murray shows interest in the Red Wings’ pick, GM Steve Yzerman better be all over this move.
Vegas Golden Knights – Pick #29
When I drafted for the Vegas Golden Knights during our sitewide mock draft back in June, I stated that I considered them to be a strong candidate to look to move back in the draft. I think they would do this not only to mitigate the loss of their second-round pick in the Alec Martinez trade, but also to capitalize on a deep draft class. If I’m right, the Red Wings should come knocking.
When the Red Wings drafted Veleno, they used the Golden Knights’ first-round pick (acquired in the Tomas Tatar trade) to do so. Could Detroit find themselves using the Golden Knights’ pick for the second time in their three years of existence? If so, there are going to be some interesting names available – just like with the 27th pick.
What would Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon want in return? You’re probably looking at the 45th and 55th picks, plus maybe a prospect they like more than the Red Wings, à la Tomas Nosek during the expansion draft. Whether that’s a price worth paying or not is up for debate.
Nashville Predators – Pick #37
You know what’s better than three picks in the second round? Four picks in the second round.
In an article where I highlighted a few different trade candidates for the Red Wings, I mentioned Nashville Predators center Kyle Turris as a potential target. The thing about him is that he has not fit in with the Predators, and he’s costing them $6 million against the cap to play on the fourth line – if he plays at all. Needless to say, both parties would likely welcome a divorce.
Turris is a player that was previously a top center for the Ottawa Senators during the 2017 playoffs when they made it to the Eastern Conference Final. Despite his lack of success with the Predators, he would likely be an instant upgrade for the Red Wings down the middle. But the real kicker here is that Yzerman could ask for one of the Predators’ two second-round picks in exchange for taking on Turris’ contract.
Adding the 37th pick would give the Red Wings four picks inside the top 50. It would also give them somebody that could hypothetically hold down the second-line center spot while guys like Michael Rasmussen and Veleno continue to develop. For the Predators, this move would give them up to $14 million in cap space to address a stagnant roster.
We Have a Trade to Announce
There’s no denying the electricity that fills the air when Bettman says those words. Of course, people hope it’s another blockbuster deal, but those aren’t always the most important moves that are made during the draft. The moves that solely contain draft picks can sometimes be just as important, if not more.
With 10 picks heading into the 2020 draft, the Red Wings have the capital to to do almost whatever they want during the draft. But as they continue to restock the cupboards, they may find that adding another pick or two will help move the process along a bit quicker. I’m sure fans throughout “Hockeytown” like the sound of that.
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So if there’s a sensible way for the team to move down, they should. If there’s a way to add to their quantity of picks without degrading the quality of them, they absolutely should. Yzerman promised to build through the draft, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s just going to sit on the picks he has.
With draft day just two short weeks away, expect Yzerman to be working the phones a lot.