Sizing Up 6 Red Wings Trade Scenarios

Last week, I negotiated deals on behalf of the Detroit Red Wings as part of a mock trade deadline exercise. This week, I’m putting together a few alternative options.

The Red Wings have several trade chips in play as the deadline approaches. Players like Luke Glendening and Bobby Ryan could fetch solid returns given their specialized skill sets and suboptimal supply on the sellers’ side. Anthony Mantha could bring back a sizable haul if the Red Wings opt to deal him too.

With that being said, let’s dive into six trade scenarios for Detroit’s top trade bait. 

Bobby Ryan

Trade: RW Bobby Ryan to the Pittsburgh Penguins for G Calle Clang.

At this point in his career, Bobby Ryan is an effective middle-six forward in a complementary role. He doesn’t drive play, but can be in the right spots at the right time. As a member of the Penguins, Ryan can do just that, and let Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jake Guentzel do the heavy lifting.

Bobby Ryan of the Detroit Red Wings
Bobby Ryan exceeded expectations in Detroit. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

In return, the Red Wings get another quality goalie prospect in Calle Clang. The 18-year-old netminder was taken in last year’s draft and would immediately jump to the top of Detroit’s goalie prospect depth chart. Pittsburgh can afford such a move given their young NHL tandem and fellow 2020 draft pick Joel Blomqvist waiting in the wings.

Luke Glendening

Trade: C Luke Glendening to the Minnesota Wild for a 2021 second-round pick.

Plenty of teams will be interested in Luke Glendening due to his expertise in the faceoff circle, gritty style, and ability to kill penalties. But the Minnesota Wild arguably need the veteran center more than any other playoff-bound team. 

The Wild rank second-to-last among NHL teams in faceoff percentage and won’t be able to get past the Colorado Avalanche or Vegas Golden Knights if they can’t win draws. A second-round pick is a steep price to pay, but the allure of a deep playoff run could be too intriguing to ignore. Minnesota also has Pittsburgh’s 2021 first-round pick, making their second rounder expendable.

Sam Gagner

Trade: RW Sam Gagner to the Toronto Maple Leafs for C Mikhail Abramov. 

In this deal, Sam Gagner goes home to the Toronto Maple Leafs. His versatility—can play all three forward positions and on both special teams—is a coveted resource and a nice depth add for the Maple Leafs.

Coming back to the Red Wings is 20-year-old center Mikhail Abramov, who has been putting up over a point per game in the QMJHL this season. Abramov is not one of Toronto’s top-five prospects, but someone whose playmaking abilities can add value to Detroit’s prospect pipeline. 

Jonathan Bernier & Jon Merrill

Trade: G Jonathan Bernier (50 percent salary retained) and LD Jon Merrill to the Colorado Avalanche for RW J.T. Compher and RD Conor Timmins.

This trade is a win-win for both teams involved. The Colorado Avalanche acquire sorely needed depth in net and on the blue line, while improving their salary cap situation. Meanwhile, the Red Wings add an NHL-ready defensive prospect in Conor Timmins to bolster their pipeline.

Detroit Red Wings goalie Jonathan Bernier.
Jonathan Bernier’s first stint in Colorado. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Timmins could slot into the Red Wings’ lineup immediately and has the potential to be a two-way, top-four defenseman. Along with Filip Hronek and Moritz Seider, the right side of Detroit’s blue line would look rather impressive.

Adding J.T. Compher would give the Red Wings a defensively sound right wing to replace Ryan and Gagner. Only 25, Compher could potentially turn into the next Robby Fabbri.

Marc Staal

Trade: LD Marc Staal (50 percent salary retained) to the New York Islanders for a 2022 third-round pick.

The New York Islanders are once again proving doubters wrong and you know Lou Lamoriello wants to add depth for a playoff run. Marc Staal brings physicality and postseason experience, while filling the void left by Johnny Boychuk’s retirement.

Thanks to the Devon Toews trade, the Islanders now have two second-round picks in next year’s draft, so parting with their third wouldn’t be a tough pill to swallow. 

Anthony Mantha

Trade: LW Anthony Mantha to the Los Angeles Kings for C Tyler Madden, LD Tobias Björnfot, and a 2021 first-round pick.

Last but not least, Anthony Mantha would be an excellent fit with Todd McLellan’s Los Angeles Kings, who have the resources to acquire the elite forward. If the Red Wings opt to trade Mantha, Los Angeles should be their top suitor.

Detroit Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha
Anthony Mantha after scoring a goal. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Paul Sancya)

In my proposed trade, I have prospects Tyler Madden and Tobias Björnfot coming back to the Red Wings, along with the Kings’ first-round pick in this year’s draft. Madden is probably their fourth- or fifth-best prospect, behind Quinton Byfield, Alex Turcotte, Gabe Vilardi, and maybe Arthur Kaliyev. That said, he’s still a quality forward – the center has top-six upside and elite vision in the offensive zone.

In addition to Madden, Björnfot is an NHL-ready defenseman who just turned 20. He can stabilize the left side of Detroit’s blue line and play in all situations. Björnfot and Moritz Seider would be an excellent pair to deploy against opponents’ top lines.

Finally, the Kings’ first rounder will likely be a lottery pick, albeit one later in the 8-12 range. Still, the additional first-round pick would give the Red Wings another blue chip prospect to build around.

Related: The Grind Line: Should the Red Wings Trade Mantha?

Updated Red Wings Lineup

With so many players shipped out of Hockeytown, Detroit’s lineup could look markedly different down the stretch:

Filip Zadina Dylan Larkin Tyler Bertuzzi
Robby Fabbri Vladislav Namestnikov Adam Erne
Evgeny Svechnikov Michael Rasmussen J.T. Compher
Givani Smith Valtteri Filppula Darren Helm
Danny DeKeyser Filip Hronek Thomas Greiss
Tobias Björnfot Troy Stecher Calvin Pickard
Patrik Nemeth Conor Timmins  

In addition, several other players could suit up for the Red Wings. Madden, Dennis Cholowski, and Taro Hirose could see the ice for a few games to audition for the 2021-22 season.

Stats courtesy of Shout out to Expected Buffalo’s Chad DeDominicis for the article inspiration.