Here is my opinion, and I’ll start with this right away, I don’t believe Jimmy Howard, Gustav Nyquist and Nick Jensen should be on this team come February 26. This season is over and you need to get something for what you have. Enough of this “well, we should re-sign a couple of them” argument. Outside of Howard and the goaltender position, there is plenty of youth trying to crack this lineup, so there is simply no reason 3-4 players should not be traded so these youngsters can get a shot this year to see what they have to work on going into next year. To me, it seems like Holland wants to re-sign them more than trade them and that is concerning.
The Red Wings definitely have pieces to trade at the deadline, and landing a 1st-round pick or very good prospect is not out of the question; It’s going to come down to timing. With players like Panarin, Stone, Bobrovsky, Simmonds, Hamilton and Duchene all out there, it’s obvious the Red Wings don’t have some of the top players, but that does not mean they still could not cash in. Even some of their signed players like Glendening, Green and Daley should be made available. At least listen to offers. No one over the age of 22, outside of Dylan Larkin, should be off limits. Period.
Now to the crux of this piece. I am going list all of the possible players that could (and should) be dealt at the deadline, rate how likely I think it is that they are traded, and compare their value to a past NHL trade to give fans an idea of what everyone is worth for the most part.
1. Gustav Nyquist: (29, $4.75M, 48 Pts, 59 GP)
Nyquist is the player who absolutely has to be traded. His contract is much more team friendly than Panarin, Stone and/or Duchene, and he has having a career year. While it would be nice if Ottawa and Columbus did not trade their star forwards, so the Red Wings could get a larger haul for Nyquist, I doubt all 3 of them are not traded. I’d love to think you could get a return like Tatar, but that’s a once-in-a-lifetime fleece Holland made last year. Regardless, Nyquist is having a career year, and with him being an upcoming UFA, the Red Wings have to trade him.
Should He Be Traded: 9/10 Yes
Will He Be Traded: 7/10 Yes
Possible Destinations: Nashville, Boston, San Jose, Winnipeg, Washington, Vegas
Similar Trade History: 2017-18 Evander Kane (26, $5.25M, 40 Pts, 60 GP)
-For some reason everyone has always drooled over Evander Kane. He only had 40 points in 60 games when traded from Buffalo to San Jose last year. Now I understand Kane was younger, but both were heading to free agency, and Nyquist has produced more points and is cheaper than Kane was a year ago. Kane’s contract was $500k more than Nyquist’s, so why couldn’t the Red Wings get a 1st, 4th and prospect for Gus? Well, because the success of the Nyquist trade comes down to what the Ottawa Senators do and that frightens me.
2. Jimmy Howard (34, $5.3M, 2.80 GAA, .913%)
The market for a rental goaltender is always an interesting one. That said, numbers aside, Jimmy Howard has been one of the better goalies in the league this season, and a team like Vancouver or Calgary, who have dealt with struggling goalies all year, could be a perfect destination for Howie. However, the return for a goalie at the deadline is never usually that great, and the Red Wings don’t really have a goalie in waiting in their farm system, so it’s really 50-50 that they either trade Howard or re-sign him. Also (and here would be the absolute best case scenario), maybe you could trade Howard, then re-sign him in July anyways? He’s never won a Cup so maybe giving him a chance to go win one before he finishes out his career in Detroit could be the move here? Never say never.
Should He Be Traded: 8/10 Yes
Will He Be Traded: 5/10 Yes
Possible Destinations: San Jose, Calgary, Carolina, Vancouver
Similar Trade History: Ben Bishop 2016-17 (30, $5.95M, .911%, 2.55 GAA)
-Bishop was making more than Howard and was on a much better team when acquired by the Kings from Tampa 2 years ago before the deadline. There were many more parts of the deal than just a goalie and picks, as the Lightning received Peter Budaj, a prospect, a 7th and conditional 2nd. If a team really needs a goalie (ie Calgary and Vancouver) they will pay, and you just might be able to get a 1st or 2nd for Howie. But odds are, they probably won’t.
3. Nick Jensen (28, $812k, 15 Pts, 59 GP)
Jensen is such a cheap, rental D that you could definitely get a mid-round pick for him at the least. His production has been pretty steady this season, as he is ranked 55th among all RHD by Daily Faceoff. A trade could be there for Jensen, and with Cholowski, Hronek and Hicketts all fighting for roster spots, I doubt the Red Wings bring Jensen back (and they shouldn’t) so they may as well get something for him. But knowing Ken Holland, they won’t.
Should He Be Traded: 9/10
Will He Be Traded: 4/10 Yes
Possible Destinations: Anywhere but Nashville
Similar Trade History: 2017-18 Brandon Davidson (29, $1.425M, 4 Pts, 23 GP)
-While Davidson’s numbers aren’t nearly the same as Jensen’s, he cost more and somehow the Oilers got a 3rd pick last year when they sent him to Long Island. I think a 3rd round pick is the best you could get for Jensen, but why wouldn’t you? Picks are picks during the rebuild, and I hope Ken Holland continues what he’s been doing the last couple of deadline’s and acquires a bunch of them.
4. Luke Glendening (29, $1.8M, UFA 2021, 20 Pts, 60 GP)
Here we go again. Babcock is back and asking about LGD. I love Luke, I think he’s the best 4th line center in the league. But when you aren’t a contending team, a great 4th line center does nothing for you. Babcock wants him. He needs him. And with no Lou to say no this year, I think if Holland could work some magic with Luke, like he did with Tatar, the return for Glendening could be the best of the deadline for the Red Wings.
Should He Be Traded: 9/10 Yes if Toronto has real interest
Will He Be Traded: 3/10 Yes
Possible Destinations: Toronto, Toronto, Toronto
Similar Trade History: 2018-19 Brian Boyle (34, $2.55M, 19 Pts, 47 GP)
-Got that right, Brian freakin’ Boyle was traded for a 2nd round pick this year as a 4th line center. And guess what, Frank Seravalli reported last week that the starting price for LGD this year is a 2nd round pick. The Leafs are worried about cap space, so if you even had to eat half of Glendening’s contract if that meant somehow landing a Brendan Smith-type return, or dare I say Rasmus Sandin or Timothy Liljegren, this could be a huge trade if Toronto caves. Now it’s quite unlikely that the Leafs are ready to part ways with either young D-man, but if the Wings put together a package could it be possible? I mean Holland and company may as well try, worst thing that happens is the Leafs say no (which would probably be the case). I still do think a key to a huge deadline this year for Detroit is if they can get Toronto to overpay for Glendening.
5. Trevor Daley (35, $3.16M, UFA 2020 6 Pts, 35 GP)
I know it’s very unlikely, mainly because he’s been hurt all year, and no one will really want him, but I think either Daley or Green needs to be traded before next year with the abundance of young blue-liners looking to crack the big club. Maybe a team with a two-year window, hello Toronto again, is looking for a depth D who has had plenty of experience in the playoffs. You probably would have to eat some of his contract too, but maybe if you pair him (or Green) and LGD you could start putting a package together to land a Sandin or Liljegren, because if there was any chance at all to get one of them, there’d have to be a few players involved. The Leafs have already said they aren’t trading Sandin or Liljergen for a rental, so two term players would, at minimum, have to start the trade package one would think. Don’t rule out Daley quite yet.
Should He Be Traded: 6/10 if there’s any offers
Will He Be Traded: 2/10 Yes
Possible Destinations: Anywhere
Similar Trade History: 2016-17 Johnny Oduya (35, $3.75M, 7 Pts, 37 GP)
-This trade is different as Oduya was going to be a UFA, but his numbers, price and age are all similar enough to that of Daley. Oduya landed Dallas a 4th-round pick and a prospect, so why not take something like that for Daley as it seems like he’s starting to fade even closer to retirement.
6. Thomas Vanek (35, $3M, 29 Pts, 52 GP)
Again, an unlikely one, but I wanted to be thorough with this piece, because, as mentioned, no one over the age of 22 outside of Larkin should be off limits. Vanek has been traded at the Trade Deadline two years in-a-row now, so knowing Holland’s loyalty, if Vanek asks him to keep him, Holland will. The return for Vanek has been worse and worse through the years, and with retirement closer than ever for the former 40-goal scorer, maybe the Wings could trade him to a contender and let him go after a Cup one more time.
Should He Be Traded: 7/10 if there’s any offers
Will He Be Traded: 1/10 Yes
Possible Destinations: Islanders, Montreal, Toronto, San Jose, Pittsburgh, Carolina
Similar Trade History: 2017-18 2nd trade of Mark Letestu (32, $1.8M, 19 Pts, 60 GP)
-Tough comparison here, but between Vanek’s age, production and contract, there aren’t many trades made among players like Vanek. Letestu was traded twice in the same day last year, once for Pontus Aberg, then later in the day to Columbus for a 4th-round pick. I’d absolutely take 4th for Vanek, because like I said, the Wings should just get as many picks as you can for expiring players because that is how true rebuilds work.
7. Niklas Kronwall (38, $4.75M, 16 Pts, 57 GP)
Ah, you knew Kronner was coming. I know it’s very unlikely he gets traded, but maybe he wants one more chance at a Cup too? It’s the worst kept secret in the world that this is Kronwall’s last season, so it is definitely up to him as to if he wants to stay in Detroit or go for a Cup. Either way, I’m totally okay with his decision because he’s one of the few players ever who should get to decide if he retires a Red Wing or not. All signs point to him staying, but you just never know.
Should He Be Traded: 3/10 Yes
Will He Be Traded: 1/10 Yes
Possible Destinations: Again, anywhere but Nashville
Similar Trade History: 2014-15 Marek Zidlicky (37, $3M, 23 Pts, 63 GP)
-Hey Red Wings fans, remember the 2014 & 2015 Trade Deadline debacles? Legwand, Zidlicky, Erik Cole. Fun times. Anyways I doubt you can find a GM dumb enough to trade a 3rd rounder for an aging defenseman like Holland did, but could you get a 4th or 5th if they do trade him? Well it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask.
8. Mike Green (33, $5.38M, UFA 2020, 22 Pts, 38 GP)
Like I said, I think either Green or Daley should be gone by the start of next year. I’d much rather keep Mike Green, but that also means you could get more for him in a trade. Like Daley, he has another year on his contract, and a decent team-friendly one at that. Look for teams with two year windows to check in on Green, because I’m sure there will be offers. For some reason, my gut is telling me Green has been asked about a lot more than what has been reported (which has been nothing), and I definitely wouldn’t mind trading him and clearing even more cap space and adding more picks and prospects.
Should He Be Traded: 6/10 Yes
Will He Be Traded: 2/10 Yes
Possible Destinations: At this point could you tell that everyone could use D but Nashville?
Similar Trade History: 2015-16 offseason Keith Yandle (30, $5.25M 47 Pts, 82 GP)
-Another tough comparison because there not many D with term that get traded mid-season. Yandle was a free agent when his rights were traded from New York to Florida, and he landed NYR a 4th and a 6th. I think Green could get you more, but that sounds about right as far as the return goes. A couple mid-round picks is your best bet. Let’s all be in agreement we should just have 10 mid-round picks this year, ok?
What should be mentioned here too is I know all eight aren’t going to be traded, nor should they. You can’t get rid of every veteran on the team, because that may be catastrophic in the development of the youth. But at the same time, I am all for trading for as many draft picks as possible. It’s been back-to-back season’s of 10 picks for Detroit, and with another 10 picks this year, why not go for more? Go all in on making this the last of the “bottoming out” years and put together a young core that’s poised to contend in the not-so-distant future.
Look I’m no GM, but I wanted to lay out everyone’s value the best I could, so expectations are contained a bit. I think Nyquist and Glendening are your big ticket items, and at least another two players on this list should be traded. I know not everyone will be, but there is no point in keeping certain UFA’s when you have young players looking to replace them by next year. Keep loading up on picks and prospects! The light is at the end of the tunnel, and I think it will be here sooner than people think. Especially if Ken Holland does things right at this year’s Trade Deadline like he has the last two.