Red Wings’ Trade Deadline in an Alternate Universe

Having already traded Nick Jensen, only a weekend separates the Detroit Red Wings from yet another trade deadline. Like the last two, the organization is expected to sell, though not to the degree most rebuild fans want.

This is also true in an alternate universe, where I am the Red Wings’ general manager and Ken Holland covers the organization for The Hockey Writers. Said universe can be reached through the Quantum Realm, which is expected to be part of the upcoming film, Avengers: Endgame.

Speaking of blockbusters, the Red Wings have the opportunity to really advance their rebuild in the coming days. Here’s what alternate universe Tony has in store for Hockeytown.

Gustav Nyquist & Jimmy Howard

TRADE: Red Wings trade Gustav Nyquist and Jimmy Howard to the Calgary Flames for Mike Smith, Dillon Dube, a 2019 first-round pick, and a 2020 third-round pick.

As mentioned in a recent article, the Red Wings could package both Nyquist and Howard in a mega-deal with the Flames. Howard would be a huge upgrade over Smith, who would spend the final month-plus of his contract in Detroit. Nyquist instantly improves Calgary’s top-six and gives the Flames enough firepower to compete with the Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators out west.

Gustav Nyquist of the Detroit Red Wings.
With Gustav Nyquist and Jimmy Howard on board, the Calgary Flames would be locks to reach the Western Conference Finals. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In addition to Smith, the Red Wings would receive Dube, who has split the 2018-19 season between the NHL and AHL, plus a couple of quality draft picks. The 20-year-old is one of the Flames’ top-five prospects and has middle-six potential at the NHL level. Dube could finish out the campaign with the Red Wings, compete for a Calder Cup with the Grand Rapids Griffins in the spring, and push for a full-time role in Detroit the following season.

Related: Worst Trades in Red Wings History

Trevor Daley

TRADE: Red Wings trade Trevor Daley to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 2019 third-round pick.

Given the short supply of defenseman on the market and Jensen now with the Washington Capitals, Daley is suddenly a solid pickup for contenders. A return to the Penguins makes sense for the blueliner, as he’s familiar with their style of play and can be counted on by Pittsburgh’s coaches in key moments. The Red Wings would also retain half of Daley’s salary to keep the Penguins in compliance with the salary cap.

Trevor Daley of the Detroit Red Wings.
Trevor Daley won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

While the return isn’t terrific, the Red Wings would address a glaring issue by trading Daley – they resolve their defensive logjam. Looking ahead to the 2019-20 campaign, top prospects Dennis Cholowski and Filip Hronek need to play and the organization must give newly acquired Madison Bowey a fair shake. They also have Danny DeKeyser, Jonathan Ericsson, and Mike Green under contract, plus Joe Hicketts needing waivers to be assigned to Grand Rapids. There wouldn’t have been any room for Daley, who really hasn’t provided much benefit this season.

Thomas Vanek

TRADE: Red Wings trade Thomas Vanek to the Vancouver Canucks for Will Lockwood.

While Vanek loves playing in Detroit and has a no-trade clause, the opportunity to compete for a playoff berth with one of his former clubs is something worth exploring. The young, exciting Canucks would benefit from adding the veteran Vanek to an already potent offense that includes Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and Bo Horvat.

Thomas Vanek of the Detroit Red Wings.
Thomas Vanek put together a strong 2017-18 campaign with the Vancouver Canucks. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Coming back to the Red Wings, Lockwood is a junior at the University of Michigan and a local kid. A right-handed right wing, Lockwood only trails Quinn Hughes in team scoring this season and plays an abrasive style up front, according to Elite Prospects’ Curtis Joe:

A hard-nosed two-way winger that thinks ahead of the play and seeks to be proactive whenever he is on the ice. In every situation, he exhibits haste, quickness, and urgency. He utilizes his high end footspeed to gain position on the opposition, and inherently knows how to create time and space for himself and teammates.

Red Wings Rest-of-the-Way Lineup

With the trades above completed, here’s how the Red Wings’ lineup would look for the remainder of the 2018-19 season:

Anthony Mantha Dylan Larkin Tyler Bertuzzi
Andreas Athanasiou Frans Nielsen Filip Zadina*
Dillon Dube Luke Glendening Darren Helm
Michael Rasmussen Jacob de la Rose Justin Abdelkader
Christoffer Ehn Luke Witkowski
Niklas Kronwall Mike Green Mike Smith
Danny DeKeyser Filip Hronek Jonathan Bernier
Dennis Cholowski Madison Bowey
Jonathan Ericsson

*Zadina would only be called up for nine games to maintain exemption from the Seattle expansion draft.

How should the Detroit Red Wings approach the trade deadline? Share your thoughts below.