The Detroit Red Wings have had an extremely eventful summer, but general manager (GM) Steve Yzerman still has a good amount of cap space to work with. As a result, he will be in a position where he could make more additions to his roster before the start of the 2022-23 campaign. When looking at teams who he should consider doing business with, the Pittsburgh Penguins stand out. They are low in cap space and could be willing to make a move before the season begins. Let’s look at three players who the Red Wings should target from Pittsburgh.
The Penguins are heading into the 2022-23 season with at least eight NHL-caliber defensemen. Due to this, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see GM Ron Hextall be open to moving one of them. Out of the bunch, veteran Brian Dumoulin stands out as a potential fit for the Red Wings. The 30-year-old carries a $4.1 million cap hit until the end of this season, so the Penguins may be willing to trade him instead of potentially losing him for nothing in free agency next summer.
When looking at the Red Wings’ defensive group, it’s clear that Dumoulin would be a strong fit in their top four. That is a role that he has grown accustomed to, as he has played top-pairing minutes with Kris Letang over the last handful of years. On the Red Wings, he could form a strong duo with Moritz Seider because his defense-first style of play could allow the 2019 first-round pick to take more chances offensively. With that, Dumoulin would offer more stability on the penalty kill as well.
In 76 games this past season, Dumoulin had three goals, 15 assists, and a plus-24 rating. That is certainly a solid season from a defensive defenseman, so he would cost a decent amount to acquire. I’d say a second-round pick would be the starting point of this transaction, while a mid-tier prospect and NHL-caliber player would also likely be thrown into the mix. When it comes to the latter, Jake Walman would make sense.
After the offseason moves that the Penguins made to their blue line, it seems very unlikely that Pierre-Olivier Joseph will be able to fit into their top six. This may make Hextall open to the prospect of trading Joseph to give him a chance of landing a full-time NHL job elsewhere. Burying the 2017 first-round pick in the American Hockey League (AHL) is not going to do him any favors this season, so perhaps now is the time to trade him before his value begins to decrease.
Joseph is viewed as having top-four potential, so he naturally would interest Yzerman if the Penguins officially shop him around. The 23-year-old defenseman is coming off of a solid year with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins that saw him score an impressive 10 goals and 33 points in 61 games. That kind of production is quite promising, and if he can translate that over to the NHL level, he would be an excellent long-term part of the Red Wings. When looking at their current roster, he would be in the running to play on their third-pairing and second power-play unit as soon as this season.
With Joseph having a lot of upside, it’s unlikely that Hextall would trade him without receiving a second-round pick at least. Although that would be a pretty steep price to pay, it would be worth it if the Laval native takes that next step in his development this upcoming season.
The Red Wings would benefit immensely by bringing in a player like Teddy Blueger. The 28-year-old center is coming off of a career season where he set new career-highs with nine goals and 28 points. Although those numbers aren’t dominating, they do prove that he is capable of producing decent offense from the bottom six. That is something that Detroit will need if they want to make a push for the playoffs this upcoming season, so Yzerman should consider pursuing him if he’s made available.
Blueger is heavily praised for his strong defensive play, too. If the Latvian center was acquired by the Red Wings, he would be an immediate fit on their top penalty-kill unit because of this. Along with that, he also isn’t afraid of engaging in the physical side of the game, as his 87 hits this past season show effectively. Overall, he could compete with Pius Suter for the third-line center spot, but he would be an excellent option as a fourth-liner too.
After the year that Blueger just had, the Penguins would likely expect at least a third-round pick and prospect for him. Although he will never win a scoring title, his defensive play is something that is valued immensely. Yzerman would be wise to bring him in, as he is the exact kind of forward that the Red Wings desperately need in their bottom six.
Nevertheless, the Red Wings have some pretty interesting trade targets from the Penguins worth exploring. Each of these three players would work nicely in Detroit, so let’s see if Yzerman can perform some late-summer magic and acquire one of them before the start of the season.