The Detroit Red Wings’ 2022-23 season was full of mixed results, and general manager (GM) Steve Yzerman could have a busy offseason because of it. One specific area that we could see the Hockey Hall of Famer focus on is the goaltender position. The Alex Nedeljkovic experiment proved to be a bust, and now Detroit is likely to let him walk straight into free agency because of it. Meanwhile, Ville Husso struggled to find consistency in 2022-23, as he sported a 26-22-7 record, a 3.11 goals-against average (GAA), and an .896 save percentage (SV%). Thus, the Red Wings are in a position to add another goalie.
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In a recent article for Sportsnet, Ryan Dixon listed the Red Wings as a potential trade destination for star goalie Connor Hellebuyck. When noting that the Red Wings are looking to take that next step in 2023-24, this is an avenue that should be considered. Let’s dive into why.
Hellebuyck Would Provide Red Wings With Star Goalie
As stated above, the Red Wings have had some serious trouble finding stability in the net over the last few years. Adding a high-impact netminder like Hellebuyck would help change things on that front. After all, the 29-year-old has cemented himself as one of the top goalies in the NHL. In 64 appearances, the 2012 fifth-round pick put together a 37-25-2 record, 2.49 GAA, and .920 SV%.
Adding a goalie of Hellebuyck’s ability could be the jolt that the Red Wings need to end their seven-year postseason drought in 2023-24. It is clear that Detroit’s roster is improving, but if they want to take that next step, they need to find consistency in goal. When noting that Hellebuyck has continued to be one of the league’s best goalies for several years now, he would be the answer for the Red Wings’ long-term goalie troubles.
Hellebuyck Could Be Convinced to Stay in Detroit
Perhaps the primary risk in bringing in Hellebuyck is that he is entering the final season of his current contract. The former Vezina Trophy winner has also made it known that he does not want to be a part of a rebuild. However, when noting that the Red Wings are on the rise, I’d argue that a Hellebuyck trade would take them completely out of the rebuilding territory.
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It is also important to note that Hellebuyck is a Michigan native. Therefore, it is not too far-fetched to believe that he would be willing to stay in Detroit long-term if acquired. Keep in mind, they are forming an excellent core centering around Dylan Larkin, Lucas Raymond, and Moritz Seider. With that, they possess one of the strongest prospect pools in the NHL, so they should only improve from here. Furthermore, former Jets teammates Andrew Copp and Ben Chiarot are also in Detroit. With all of this, it is clear that there are more reasons than one that could convince Hellebuyck to sign an extension.
Potential Trade Package to Acquire Hellebuyck
When noting that Hellebuyck is one of the best goalies in the sport, it will take a pretty sizeable offer to successfully acquire him. The Jets would likely expect a first-round pick, a second-round pick, and two notable prospects. When it comes to prospects, fellow netminder Sebastian Cossa and forward Cross Hanas could head to Winnipeg.
Cossa was selected by Detroit with the 15th overall pick of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. The 20-year-old spent the majority of this season with the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL, where he put together a 26-16-4 record and .913 SV% in 46 games. He is expected to become a starting netminder later down the road but will need a few more years to develop before that comes to fruition.
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Hanas, on the other hand, is viewed as potentially becoming a second-line forward in the future. In his first professional season with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League (AHL), the 21-year-old had nine goals to go along with 17 points in 30 games played.
It is clear that the Red Wings have an excellent trade target in Hellebuyck, and it is a move that Yzerman should seriously consider. He would become a clear answer in the net for the Red Wings and would make their roster look significantly better on paper because of it. Let’s see if they can bring the hometown kid to Detroit this summer.