The Detroit Red Wings are overloaded with forwards after acquiring Frans Nielsen, Thomas Vanek, and Steve Ott on the opening day of NHL Free Agency. The Detroit Red Wings are also still lacking a much needed top-pairing defenceman, and unfortunately, David Poile would not accept a straight-up Shea Weber for Jonathan Ericsson deal. But in all seriousness, top-tier blue-liners are not exactly falling off trees these days, nor are they coming at affordable/reasonable prices.
So it comes as no surprise to read reports that it may cost the Red Wings either Gustav Nyquist or Tomas Tatar to land a big-name defenceman like Cam Fowler, Kevin Shattenkirk, or Jacob Trouba. Losing a fan-favorite such as Tatar or Nyquist would be a move that some fans would have a hard time stomaching, but it is also a move, for better or worse, that may be necessary for the Red Wings to make in order to become a better team.
Let's take a little closer look at both Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist, then let you, the readers, have your say and weigh on which player would be worth cutting ties with.
It's hard not to like the Slovakian Tatar, the kid plays his heart out and has provided fans with some thrilling moments over the last two seasons in Detroit. It's also hard not to get frustrated at Tatar sometimes when he hits the ice. Whether it's trying to be too fancy and doing one-too-many moves in the offensive zone, getting knocked off the puck easily, or simply not shooting the puck on the power-play as you furiously yell "SHOOT!" at your television. The same passion/emotion that fuels Tatar when he's hot is also the same emotion that visibly affects him when he's cold.
Tatar led the Red Wings in goals during the 2014-15 season, and finished second behind Dylan Larkin during the 2015-16 campaign. More was expected of Tomas heading into last season but he still performed fairly well on a team that struggled offensively most of the year. Despite his decent season, Tatar seemed well aware that he could become trade-bait during the off-season:
"This team will probably need some changes. I don't know who's going to be affected by that. Obviously, you love the organization, love the people around it. It would be tough to change the jersey but it's part of the job. Maybe some team will need you more than this team."
Like Tatar, much was expected out of Gustav Nyquist in 2015-16. Also like Tatar, and a majority of the Red Wings' top-9 forwards, Nyquist experienced a lot of line juggling throughout last season. Gustav fell off a little bit harder than Tatar did in 2015-16, failing to score 20 goals despite playing in all 82 regular season games. Nyquist is an extremely skilled player who can be extremely frustrating to watch when he's slumping. Again, like Tatar, Nyquist can get a bit carried away with trying to be too fancy with the puck, causing many headaches for Detroit fans.
But the skill is still there with Nyquist, and perhaps he could find a resurgence in 2016-17 playing wing to Frans Nielsen. The "Goose" still possesses some slick moves along with a wicked sniper-like shot. Every player has their bad years, perhaps finding the right line combination would provide the shot in the arm that Nyquist needs to reach his full potential once again.
Both Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist are fantastic and lovable professional hockey players. Fans of the Detroit Red Wings have anxiously awaited and hoped that the duo would become the Euro Twins 2.0 in Hockeytown as the Red Wings continue to transition post-Lidstrom and now post-Datsyuk. Whether you're a Tatar fan, a Nyquist fan, or love them both, losing either player would be somewhat of a bummer to think about. Luckily, nothing has been set in stone, and this is merely a hypothetical situation, but a situation that could become very real in the next few weeks or months.
So, what do you say WIIM readers? If you had to choose, which player would you prefer that the Red Wings keep? The choice is yours, at least here: