What’s The Grind Line? Apart from the once-famous line of Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, and either Joe Kocur or Darren McCarty, The Grind Line is also The Hockey Writers’ weekly column about the Detroit Red Wings. Rachel Anderson, Raymond Harrison, Devin Little, and Tony Wolak are the muckers who makeup THW’s forechecking unit and sound off on Red Wings topics.
Now that the Red Wings are a bottom-dwelling, rebuilding team, the trade deadline serves a whole new purpose than in previous years.
Instead of fans clamoring for additions to bolster the roster of a playoff-bound team—or groaning about players returning from injury being labeled as “internal acquisitions”—the preference now is to add even more prospects and picks to a stocked pipeline. But with this season’s team, are there enough quality players to shop around?
In this week’s edition of The Grind Line, The Hockey Writers’ Red Wings coverage team weighs in on the likelihood of Detroit’s top trade chips being dealt. After months of speculation, will Trevor Daley, Mike Green, Andreas Athanasiou, or other Red Wings be shipped out of Hockeytown? Find out below.
Do the Red Wings Trade Trevor Daley?
Tony Wolak: Yes. As of late, Daley has been playing better for the Red Wings and has a reputation as a valuable locker room presence for young players. Plus, he has a Stanley Cup ring, which is valued especially high this time of year. Daley won’t command much – maybe a third- or fourth-round pick at most. Look for the Vegas Golden Knights, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Edmonton Oilers to inquire about the veteran defenseman as a depth piece for their respective playoff runs.
Rachel Anderson: Yes. Detroit will need to make room for upcoming defensive prospects and the now 36-year-old is not a productive use of ice time. It’s a common theme that his age will be a deterrence in his trade value, so the return won’t be enormous – a couple of picks would suffice. The Oilers are in need of some additional defensemen, but I think anywhere on the east coast will suit.
Raymond Harrison: Yes. The veteran rearguard is one of the stereotypical trade chips that the Red Wings possess. Daley can offer a wealth of experience and knowledge to a contending team while filling in on a third pairing. Of course, the Red Wings will not get much for the 36-year-old, but acquiring as many assets they can is a vital part of the rebuilding process.
Devin Little: Yes. The defenseman recently asked to be traded from the struggling Red Wings with hopes of joining a contender – a move that could represent the last hurrah of Daley’s solid career. The Red Wings shouldn’t expect much in return, though, as Daley is far from the defender that was a key piece of Dallas Stars teams in the early 2010’s, and won back-to-back championships with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017. The Oilers, Stars, and Penguins seem like fits to me.
Will Detroit Deal Mike Green?
Tony Wolak: No, unfortunately. Like in 2018, expect Green’s latest injury to scare off potential suitors. I don’t think Steve Yzerman will just auction off the blueliner to the highest (low-ball) bidder either. Despite the down numbers, Green still skates well and can be effective if deployed in favorable situations. It would not be surprising to see the veteran back on a one-year contract with at least Daley and Jonathan Ericsson departing this offseason.
Rachel Anderson: No. Green will be with Detroit for a bit longer. When healthy, he’s a breath of fresh air in the offensive zone. His issues with strange injuries won’t help the team in terms of trade bait, so keeping him a tad longer may be the best option. I could foresee the Red Wings evaluating his future during the offseason, rather than now.
Raymond Harrison: No. Green’s injury history is a legitimate concern for any acquiring team. Likewise, Green has relished his role as a mentor for the younger defensemen on the team’s roster. Keeping his veteran leadership around is significant for the final stretch of the season. Yzerman will look at all possible trade avenues at the deadline, but I think Green stays put.
Devin Little: No, but not for a lack of trying. It’s not that Green isn’t a worthy asset for a contender to acquire – he could play a consistent role on a contender’s second power-play unit. However, the defender simply struggles to stay healthy, which almost completely tanks his value on the market. You never say never, but considering what the asking price for Green should be, I can’t see anyone pulling the trigger on a deal for the 34-year-old.
Are the Red Wings Done with Andreas Athanasiou?
Tony Wolak: Not yet. The Red Wings won’t get an offer to their liking before the trade deadline. There’s just too much negativity surrounding Athanasiou: the dip in his production, injuries, and contention for hockey’s green jacket (it doesn’t matter how much stock you put in plus/minus, if you’re the worst in the league, that’s bad). But around the draft? Athanasiou’s value is suddenly closer to what’s expected. New season, new team – better results are guaranteed.
Rachel Anderson: Not quite. Athanasiou is a talented skater and deserves a bit more time to let things play out. He works well on the top line and does a great job dictating the pace of the game. Despite my soured attitude towards him, I do think he is a valuable asset. If Athanasiou can post a solid season—and if Detroit does decide to part ways with him—they could see a tremendous return for him during the offseason.
Raymond Harrison: No, not yet. The Red Wings should not move Athanasiou while his value is so low. Injuries, inconsistencies, and genuinely poor play have hampered the 25-year-old all season. Unless an inquiring team is willing to pay for last season’s version of Athanasiou, there is no reason to trade him at a discount. With that in mind, I am entirely willing to trade the speedster for assets when his value comes back to normal.
Devin Little: Yes! Athanasiou is the Red Wings’ top trade chip heading into the deadline. There is reason to believe that the team should and would retain the forward, considering the 25-year-old hasn’t had the best year in terms of production, therefore tanking his trade value lower than what it realistically should be. However, the Red Wings can’t afford to wait and see. Trading Athanasiou while he’s a restricted free agent inflates his value, and there’s bound to be some team that is eager to add a young forward who is much better than what he’s shown. This is where Yzerman and company can add some real future assets.
Other Red Wings Trades?
Tony Wolak: Yes. This answer would have been Jonathan Bernier before the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Jack Campbell. Instead, I’ll go with Yzerman shipping out Madison Bowey in a one-for-one hockey trade. The trade partner? How about the Winnipeg Jets with Michigan State alum Mason Appleton coming back to Detroit.
Rachel Anderson: Yes. I think it goes without saying there are a few players that should be moved, but whether or not they’d bring back a worthwhile return is another question. But if the Red Wings can get a decent off for Jimmy Howard, they should pull the trigger.
Raymond Harrison: Possibly. At this point in the rebuild, the Red Wings should attempt to trade off any player that is not a part of their core moving forward. Despite that, the team does not have many enticing trade chips. As Tony mentioned, Bernier was a viable candidate for the Maple Leafs before the Campbell deal, but that ship has sailed. Maybe a contender takes a flier on Darren Helm or Adam Erne as depth, but Yzerman will have to be very persuasive.
Devin Little: Yes. Yzerman has already shown a willingness to get creative, as exemplified in the deals for Fabbri and Adam Erne. Plus, the trade deadline is when every general manager in the league has their phone glued to their ear. I could see a move that sends Evgeny Svechnikov to Edmonton, potentially for Jesse Puljujarvi.
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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.