Sporting a 23-20-8 record, the Detroit Red Wings are firmly in position to sell at this year’s trade deadline. They started off strong and remained in the playoff picture far later than previous years, only to hit a wall and fall behind in the race.
Now, Steve Yzerman has the opportunity to bolster the organization by trading players who are not part of Detroit’s future. With that in mind, I put together my version of the Yzerplan for this year’s trade deadline, ultimately parting ways with four skaters.
Trade: C Pius Suter to the Winnipeg Jets for a 2024 fourth-round pick.
Apologies, the first trade isn’t the sexiest. That said, it’s still worthwhile to accumulate draft picks, and a fourth rounder in exchange for an underutilized, bottom-six forward is a fair deal.
Winnipeg has plenty of cap space to work with, so there’s no need for the Red Wings to retain salary. In addition, the pick would be for next year’s draft in an attempt to spread out Detroit’s selections.
Alternative: Suter to the Seattle Kraken for a 2024 fourth-round pick.
Trade: RW Oskar Sundqvist to the Boston Bruins for RD Jonathan Myrenberg.
The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa originally identified Sundqvist as a potential trade target – “a depth forward for the Bruins, but one they could extend given his age (28).” (from ‘Bruins trade board, now that Bo Horvat is off the table: ‘There’s plenty of talks’’ – The Athletic – 1/31/23)
Sundqvist played for Bruins coach Jim Montgomery while he was an assistant with the St. Louis Blues and would fit in well with Boston’s bottom six. Plus, the Bruins have enough cap space to absorb his contract without requiring the Red Wings to retain salary.
Latest News & Highlight
In exchange for Sundqvist, Detroit would receive right defenseman Jonathan Myrenberg, who is more of a long-term prospect in the mold of Gustav Lindstrom – makes smart, simple plays, but isn’t going to wow you offensively. The Red Wings could use some more prospect depth on the right side.
Alternative: Sundqvist to the Winnipeg Jets for LW Daniel Torgersson.
Tyler Bertuzzi & Olli Määttä
Trade: LW Tyler Bertuzzi (50 percent salary retained) and LD Olli Määttä to the Edmonton Oilers for RW Jesse Puljujarvi, RW Matvei Petrov, and a 2023 first-round pick.
This one is a whopper. Old friend Ken Holland previously acquired former Red Wings Andreas Athanasiou and Mike Green – now it’s Bertuzzi’s turn to join his former GM.
The Oilers are reportedly looking for secondary scoring and depth on the left side of the blue line, and don’t have a lot of cap space to work with. Bertuzzi and Määttä can fill those roles without issue.
In return, the Red Wings take on Puljujarvi’s $3 million contract, get a fast-rising prospect in Petrov, and land another first-round pick in what’s expected to be a deep draft.
Puljujarvi is an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent this summer and will likely be non-tendered by Edmonton if retained beyond the deadline. That said, a change of scenery could help. It certainly did for Valeri Nichushkin, another defensively-inclined, rangy winger who was selected in the top 10 and failed to live up to expectations.
Finally, Petrov adds to Detroit’s prospect pipeline, which is short on quality right-shot forwards.
“He’s a 6-foot-2, 179-pound right-shot winger who will continue to get stronger, has an NHL shot that unloads from his hip (his best attribute) and comes off his stick hard from a wrister or a one-timer and makes him a power-play threat from the point or the flank. He’s comfortable on the attack with the puck in his hands knifing through traffic to the slot. And he has shown improved playmaking intuition in consecutive seasons now.”–Scott Wheeler, The Athletic (from ‘Edmonton Oilers are No. 21 in 2023 NHL prospect pool rankings’ – The Athletic – 1/20/23)
Alternative: Bertuzzi (50 percent salary retained) and Määttä to the Dallas Stars for LW Denis Gurianov, RD Christian Kyrou, and a conditional 2024 second-round pick.
Red Wings’ Salary Cap Space
Trade: Retaining $2.625 million of LW Patrick Kane’s cap hit in exchange for a 2025 third-round pick.
In this scenario, the Washington Capitals would acquire Kane from the Chicago Blackhawks and use the Red Wings as a broker to retain half of the winger’s already halved cap hit.
Alternative: Retaining $1.5 million of LW Timo Meier’s cap hit in exchange for Washington’s 2025 second-round pick.
Updated Red Wings Lineup
With these trades, the Red Wings shipped out four roster players and only brought one back in return. To fill the rest of the roster spots, a few AHL call-ups were needed.
|Dominik Kubalik||Dylan Larkin||Lucas Raymond|
|Jonatan Berggren||Andrew Copp||David Perron|
|Robby Fabbri||Michael Rasmussen||Elmer Soderblom|
|Jakub Vrana||Joe Veleno||Filip Zadina|
|Adam Erne||Jesse Puljujarvi|
|Jake Walman||Moritz Seider||Ville Husso|
|Ben Chiarot||Filip Hronek||Magnus Hellberg|
|Jordan Oesterle||Gustav Lindstrom|
Yes, that is correct. Jakub Vrana is in the lineup. Here’s why.
If the Red Wings intend to part ways with the goal-scoring winger this summer, it would be in their best interest to give him a few NHL games. Despite his improved performance in the AHL, his trade value is incredibly low – no one claimed him on waivers after all. But if Vrana can succeed with the Red Wings, he’ll show other NHL teams that he’s still a valuable commodity, thereby increasing his trade value.
Keeping Vrana in the AHL for the rest of the season, then attempting to move him in the offseason is incredibly poor asset management. Inflate his value while you still can!
The rest of the roster shouldn’t surprise anyone. Sure, Detroit could keep Erne or Soderblom in Grand Rapids and call up Simon Edvinsson, Jared McIsaac, Albert Johansson, or Alex Nedeljkovic instead. Soderblom and Erne just seem like the most logical recalls at this point.
In exchange for Bertuzzi, Määttä, Sundqvist, Suter, and cap space, the Red Wings would acquire the following players, picks, and prospects:
- RW Jesse Puljujarvi
- RW Matvei Petrov
- RD Jonathan Myrenberg
- 2023 first-round pick (Edmonton)
- 2024 fourth-round pick (Winnipeg)
- 2025 third-round pick (Washington)
Will these trades happen exactly as I mocked up? Probably not. But there’s a good chance Detroit will use a similar framework in their approach to this year’s trade deadline – possibly their last as a seller.