The Grind Line: Red Wings Trade Deadline Reaction & Grades

After months of speculation and rumors, the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline is over and the Detroit Red Wings are a step closer to emerging from their rebuild. Ken Holland was certainly a busy man over the past few days, signing off on a couple of deals:

The conditional draft pick acquired from the Sharks will become a second-round pick in 2020 if Nyquist re-signs with San Jose or the Sharks reach the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals. The Red Wings will also retain 30 percent of Nyquist’s salary.

Now that the dust has settled, what should be made of this season’s moves? In this week’s edition of The Grind Line, The Hockey Writers’ Red Wings coverage team and a few guests sound off on and grade Detroit’s overall performance at the deadline.

Tony Wolak: B-

As Holland has stated many times in the past, the trade deadline is guided by supply and demand. This season’s deadline was no different.

The haul for Jensen—arguably the best rental defenseman available—was better than most expected. Bowey could develop into a solid, second- or third-pairing blueliner – or basically what Jensen was for the Red Wings. The second-round pick will add another quality prospect to Detroit’s growing pipeline. It was clearly a sellers’ market for teams shopping defensemen, and the Red Wings certainly benefited.

Former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nick Jensen.
Nick Jensen looked solid in his season debut with the Washington Capitals. (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

For Nyquist, it wasn’t nearly the same case. There was a surplus of top-six wings available and buyers preferred to spend first-round picks on centers. Apart from the Mark Stone trade (which many thought was a steal for the Vegas Golden Knights), no top-six wingers were moved for a fantastic return.

  • Wayne Simmonds traded from the Philadelphia Flyers to the Nashville Predators for Ryan Hartman and a conditional 2020 fourth-round pick.
  • Mats Zuccarello traded from the New York Rangers to the Dallas Stars for a conditional 2019 second-round pick and a conditional 2020 third-round pick.
  • Marcus Johansson traded from the New Jersey Devils to the Boston Bruins for a 2019 second-round pick and a 2020 fourth-round pick.

After the deadline had passed, the Red Wings came away with a relatively fair deal when compared with other top-six players who were moved.

Holland didn’t settle on either player. The market dictated each player’s value, which ended up being roughly the same for two very different NHLers. The market also influenced Holland’s decision to keep Jimmy Howard, Niklas Kronwall, and Luke Glendening, with their internal value outweighing any offers to ship them out. Even as a rebuilding team, simply trading away players for anything can be detrimental to a team’s development into a contender.

In summary, the moves were fine. Nothing more, nothing less. If anything, it’s a sign that the Red Wings are taking the rebuild seriously and not cutting corners.

Rachel Anderson: B+

Trade rumors set up fans to expect either an incredible return or complete heartbreak when it comes to their respective teams. One thing Holland has done well over the last few seasons is use the trade market to stack picks. In this case, relinquishing Nyquist and Jensen were another couple moves to do just that.

Gustav Nyquist of the Detroit Red Wings.
Trading Nyquist was a step in the right direction for the Red Wings. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Tony is right in saying that the Red Wings are proving that they’re taking development seriously. Being willing to trade Nyquist and Jensen—both long-time Red Wings—and getting a few picks in return shows that they’re investing in the future of the organization.

The return for both skaters was fair, in my opinion. I’m all for the “youth movement” and if moving around a few extra players does the trick, then so be it. There will likely be a few more trades like these over the next couple seasons, but it’s all in hope that the franchise can add youth and rebuild on fresher talent.

Brandon Share-Cohen: C+

When I look at deadline acquisitions, two of the best values/deals that I saw were the Capitals acquiring Jensen and the Sharks acquiring Nyquist. While the Red Wings did recoup value for both, it’s clear that they didn’t get as much as you’d hope or expect.

Former Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist.
San Jose is getting a supremely talented forward in Gustav Nyquist. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

My reaction for both trades is that the other teams won the deals. If that’s the case, then I can’t in good conscience give them anything higher than a C+ as far as the deadline is concerned. Especially when I consider Nyquist to be one of the best forwards moved at the deadline. If I was a general manager looking for top-six help, Nyquist would have been near the top of my list below Stone and above Simmonds, Johansson, and Ryan Dzingel, who were all dealt at the deadline.

I still think the Red Wings did well navigating Nyquist’s no-trade clause, however, as there is a possibility that the Boston Bruins offered more than the Sharks, but the player wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause. If this is the case, the grade could be bumped to a B- at the very best.

Tyler Bowen: B-

Tyler covers the Pittsburgh Penguins for The Hockey Writers.

Overall, I like what Detroit did the last few days. I think a second-round pick and a young, cheap defenseman for Jensen was a pretty good return. The Nyquist return feels a bit low, but having seven (and possibly an eighth) total picks in rounds one and two over the next two seasons should put a nice kick in the rebuild.

Zeke: A-

Zeke covers the Sharks for The Hockey Writers.

The Sharks have a lot of forward depth and Nyquist adds to it. Before acquiring Nyquist, the team had five forwards with 20-plus goals, nine with double-digit tallies, and overall, the team sits second in the league in scoring. Bringing in Nyquist means the Sharks will have another potent line.

Former Detroit Red Wings winger Gustav Nyquist.
Gustav Nyquist will join an already potent Sharks offense. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

San Jose is loaded on the left side, so Nyquist fits well on the right. I guess he’d find himself on San Jose’s third line, which might seem like a demotion until one realizes the line is centered by ‘returning to form’ Joe Thornton (11 points in his last 11 games, 18 points in the last 20). And the ripple effect means the Sharks can ice three players who all might hit double-digit goal scoring – on the fourth line.

In a season where it seems an enormous amount of talent has filtered upwards to a handful of top teams, San Jose has held their own. The question is, in a season where they are “all in”, will it be enough?

How did the Detroit Red Wings do at the trade deadline? Share your thoughts below.