The 2022-23 season is just around the corner, but that doesn’t mean that the Detroit Red Wings should stop making moves. At the time of writing, they have just over $9 million of cap space and only need to re-sign one restricted free agent (RFA), Filip Zadina. As a result, general manager (GM) Steve Yzerman is in a position to make another trade or two if he wants.
One team that the Red Wings should consider doing business with is the Toronto Maple Leafs. They have some pretty interesting targets to choose from who could be excellent additions in Detroit. Here’s a look.
Rasmus Sandin’s agent, Lewis Gross, dropped a bombshell last week when he told Luke Fox of Sportsnet that “negotiations are going nowhere” between the Maple Leafs and the 2018 first-round pick. If this trend continues as we get closer to the 2022-23 season, it’s possible that Maple Leafs’ general manager (GM), Kyle Dubas, will be open to moving Sandin.
Sandin would be a very good addition to the Red Wings’ roster, as he is still just 22 years old and has plenty of time to develop into a legitimate top-four defenseman. He also offers versatility, as he is capable of playing both the left and right sides. Thus, the Red Wings would have several different options for him in their lineup. His offensive upside could also make him a sweet addition to their power play.
However, given Sandin’s potential, it would cost the Red Wings a decent amount to get him. They would likely have to part ways with the 2023 second-round pick they acquired from the St. Louis Blues and a prospect, at least. With that, an NHL-caliber player like Jake Walman could also make sense heading the other way.
Alexander Kerfoot is about to enter the final year of his contract. With the Maple Leafs’ limited cap space, many fans have wondered if he will be traded. If he is officially shopped before the start of the season, the Red Wings should consider pursuing him.
Related: Top 3 All-Time Red Wings Goalies
Kerfoot would be an excellent addition to the Red Wings’ middle six. His versatility allows him to play all three forward positions if needed, so he would fit virtually anywhere in their lineup. With that, he would provide the Red Wings with a bit more firepower up front, as his 51 points in 82 games during the 2021-22 season effectively show. He would not only work well on their power play, but he would also have a guaranteed spot on their penalty kill because of his excellent defensive ability. All in all, he provides a little bit of everything, and what team doesn’t love to have that on their roster?
Like with Sandin, the Red Wings could use the Blues’ 2023 second-round pick to help land Kerfoot from Toronto. Dubas will also need to clear up some cap space, so it likely wouldn’t cost the Red Wings much more than that. Overall, he could be the perfect player to add if the Red Wings want to compete for a playoff spot this season.
It would be wise for Yzerman to acquire one last right-handed defenseman before the season. One Maple Leaf who could help with that is Justin Holl. Many have wondered if Dubas would be open to trading him and his $2 million cap hit this summer. If he’s officially shopped, it would be surprising if the Red Wings didn’t consider him.
At his best, Holl is known for his strong defensive play and overall reliability. Yet, during the 2021-22 season, he also quietly set new career-highs with three goals and 23 points. Although he has received criticism from fans at times, there’s no question that he would be a good addition to the Red Wings’ top four. It also doesn’t hurt that the 6-foot-4 defenseman plays a heavy game.
Unlike the two players above, I don’t think the Red Wings would need to give up a second-round pick to successfully land Holl. Instead, a third-round pick and mid-tier prospect could get the deal done. At this juncture, he may benefit from a change of scenery, and Detroit could be a perfect destination because he would have a bigger role and a much-needed fresh start.
Nevertheless, Yzerman has some pretty interesting options from the Maple Leafs if he wishes to make another move before training camp begins. Of this trio, Sandin has the potential to be the best long-term addition, but both Kerfoot and Holl would be great too. We’ll see if these two Original-Six clubs make a deal before the 2022-23 season begins.
Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, & Detroit Red Wings for The Hockey Writers. Since 2017, he’s written and edited for numerous websites. Besides his work for THW, you can also find him on NHL Trade Rumors.