Now that it’s April, the Detroit Red Wings only have a few more days to move out players ahead of the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline.
As sellers, it’s surprising to see that the Red Wings have not completed a trade so far this season. So like last year, I put on my general manager hat and called up The Hockey Writers’ team representatives to negotiate trades on behalf of Detroit.
Below are the four deals that we agreed to, plus a few other notes that came out of my trade conversations.
Vegas Acquires Patrik Nemeth
Surprisingly, the first Red Wings player to be traded was Patrik Nemeth. Michael Vidakis, who covers the Vegas Golden Knights, reached out to acquire the stay-at-home blueliner.
MV: We’re interested in bringing Patrik Nemeth to Vegas before the deadline. Let me know what you’re looking for.
TW: As the Red Wings rebuild, we’re looking for prospects and/or draft picks. What do you have in mind for Nemeth?
MV: How about a 2021 fourth-round pick?
TW: We already have quite a few 2021 draft picks. How about a 2022 third rounder?
MV: That’s fine, but you’ll need to retain 50 percent of Nemeth’s salary.
TW: Let’s pull the trigger on this one. Nemeth for a 2022 third-round pick. We’ll retain 50 percent of his salary to help with your cap situation.
MV: Beautiful. Let’s do it!
Red Wings Deal Sam Gagner to Florida
After the Nemeth trade was completed, Sam Gagner was the next Red Wings player to go. Panagiotis Mavridis and the Florida Panthers expressed interest in the forward early on.
PM: I actually had Sam Gagner in my potential trade targets post earlier this month. I haven’t seen the Panthers very much in rumors thus far, but I think they’ll try to acquire some depth at forward, so Gagner wouldn’t be a bad fit. What are you looking for in exchange?
TW: We’d want a mid-round pick or a B-level prospect for Gagner. Are the Panthers able to accommodate this?
PM: The Panthers would be willing to give up a 2021 third-round pick straight-up for Gagner.
TW: We already have a couple third-round picks this year. Could we push to a 2022 third?
PM: We can do a 2022 third-round pick if you throw in a late-round pick with Gagner, since the 2022 draft class is deeper than this year’s class. How about throwing in a 2021 sixth-round pick?
TW: Can you add in your 2021 seventh?
Multiple Suitors for Bobby Ryan
Several teams were in on Bobby Ryan and it came down to the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins. In the end, Scott Roche and the Bruins offered the best deal for the veteran forward.
TW: I just read your Bruins trade targets article and noticed you included Bobby Ryan. I think Boston would be a good fit as well. What are you willing to offer?
SR: A third- or fourth-round pick. The Bruins don’t want to ship out any of their own prospects for a rental player at this point.
TW: That’s fair. There aren’t any prospects in Boston’s system that I can see as a fit for this deal, so focusing on draft picks is fine. Right now, the offer to beat is a solid goaltending prospect – could you do a 2021 third and a 2022 fourth?
SR: A 2021 third-round pick with a 2022 fourth or fifth could work. With the Bruins in a win-now mode, two draft picks seem like a reasonable exchange.
TW: Do the Bruins have interest in any other players? The Red Wings still have Luke Glendening, Marc Staal, and Jon Merrill available if a shutdown center or defensive defenseman are needed.
SR: They could use a left-shot defenseman. They’re all set on the right side, but the left side could use an upgrade. I believe they’re in on Mattias Ekholm. Outside of that, I could see them living and dying with what they have.
TW: So there really isn’t a need for Staal or Merrill at this point, correct?
Pittsburgh upgrades their offer, but requires the Red Wings to take on Marcus Pettersson’s contract.
TW: A team in your division put up a pretty good offer for Ryan. If you upgrade to a second-round pick—plus a fourth—we have a deal.
SR: For a team in a win-now mode, I’ll take that. Deal.
Red Wings & Oilers Strike Another Deal
Last season, the Edmonton Oilers acquired Mike Green and Andreas Athanasiou in separate deals. This year, Oilers reporter Luke Thomas wanted to bring another Red Wings player into the fold.
TW: What are the Oilers looking to do before this year’s trade deadline? Add another former Red Wing to their lineup?
LT: I’d say the Oilers have four needs at this point: top-six winger, third- or fourth-line center who can win faceoffs, a platoon goalie, and a left-shot, top-four defenseman.
Keep in mind that the Oilers are at max roster size and don’t have any cap space. A roster player would need to go back the other way in a deal. The Oilers don’t want to give up their top draft picks or prospects either.
TW: Luke Glendening is available and can be an effective fourth-line center. Jonathan Bernier as well for the platoon goalie priority. I don’t think Marc Staal or Jon Merrill qualify as top four per se, but they’re also available.
LT: Glendening could be a good fit with the Oilers.
TW: What would you be willing to offer for him?
LT: How about Ty Tullio and Kyle Turris? Moving Turris opens up enough cap space to afford Glendening.
Additional Trade Talk
Apart from the four deals above, there were a handful of other noteworthy conversations that took place.
- Avery McGrail and the Colorado Avalanche had a deal in place to acquire Luke Glendening and Jonathan Bernier for J.T. Compher, Sampo Ranta, and a 2021 fourth-round pick, but reality ruined our fun. In real life, Colorado traded for Jonas Johansson, which negated the need for Bernier.
- There were no other takers for Bernier after the Colorado deal fell through.
- Avery and I also had preliminary discussions about sending Anthony Mantha to the Avalanche, but couldn’t agree to a return that would satisfy Detroit’s needs and not totally bankrupt Colorado.
- The Los Angeles Kings showed interest in Mantha as well.
- In addition to Pittsburgh and Boston, the Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, and Toronto Maple Leafs also expressed some interest in dealing for Bobby Ryan.
- Despite Elliotte Friedman’s thought, the Philadelphia Flyers did not entertain a Marc Staal trade.
- Staal, Jon Merrill, and Darren Helm did not receive any interest.
In all, Detroit “acquired” and “dealt” the following players, prospects, and draft picks:
- C/RW Kyle Turris
- RW Ty Tullio
- 2021 second-round pick (Boston)
- 2021 seventh-round pick (Florida)
- 2022 third-round pick (Vegas)
- 2022 third-round pick (Florida)
- 2022 fourth-round pick (Boston)
- D Patrik Nemeth (50 percent salary retained)
- C/RW Sam Gagner
- RW Bobby Ryan
- C Luke Glendening
- 2021 sixth-round pick
Overall, this accomplishes a couple goals for the Red Wings. First, they acquire a handful of draft picks and a prospect in Tullio to aid their rebuild.
In addition, bringing in Turris helps the organization replace Ryan and Gagner on the right side and gives them another trade chip for the 2021-22 season. Plus, Turris and Mantha had outstanding chemistry at the 2019 World Championship.
Detroit’s actual moves may be different, but this was a fun what if exercise to conduct and see what could happen before the April 12 trade deadline.
Tony Wolak is based in the Washington D.C. area and covers the Detroit Red Wings for THW. As a former junior and college hockey player, Tony has a unique perspective on Red Wings topics.