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Recapping the Red Wings 2019 Trade Deadline

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Detroit Red Wings Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Another NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone as we enter the home stretch for the 2018-19 season. Detroit sits much closer to the basement than the top-16 of teams that will see a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup this spring (and even farther from the three or four teams that have an actual realistic shot of doing that). We knew the Wings would be selling, as recently we’ve even been so fortunate as to see our own GM finally admit that the team is actually rebuilding.

For a full breakdown of the action today, check out the mothership’s main NHL page. I’ll gloss over the highlights here:

  • The Senators are the hardest-case “winners” of a trade deadline I can remember. It’s a mess of their own making, but Pierre Dorion moved all of Dzingel, Duchene, and Stone for pretty decent returns without losing any of them for nothing. Ottawa might not win another game the rest of this season, which makes it all the more-painful that their own #1 pick belongs to Colorado, but those are mistakes made well before today. Today they did ok.
  • Columbus is going to be setting up a game of Uno at their draft table this year, as they’ll be bored for most of the day after selling off almost all of their picks to load up for a run.
  • Calgary decided that their only need was a depth defenseman I’ve never heard of.
  • Tampa sat stone silent, deciding that their dominance could continue to go largely unnoticed and unchallenged. No need to mess with a good thing out of the team that’s clicking well in ways you don’t tend to see in the cap era anymore.

As for the Red Wings? Here’s the news that’s fit to print:

The Trades that Did Happen

Nick Jensen + Buffalo’s 2019 5th rounder for Madison Bowey + Washington’s 2020 2nd rounder

Gustav Nyquist to San Jose for the Sharks’ 2019 2nd rounder and a 3rd rounder in 2019 (which can become a 2nd if the Sharks go to the SCF this year or re-sign Nyquist)

Jimmy Howard, Luke Glendening, Trevor Daley, Mike Green, everybody else on the Red Wings’ roster: not traded

In terms of the haul that Holland received for the pieces he did move out, I can comfortably say I feel he didn’t get fleeced and that both deals sit solidly in the “satisfying and sensible” category of hockey trades. I personally would have liked to have seen more for Nyquist, but comparing him to the deals that went for other guys like Stone, Dzingel, Zuccarello, and Hayes, I think we’re right about in the correct neighborhood.

The Trades that Didn’t Happen

  • Jimmy Howard stayed put
  • Nik Kronwall stayed put
  • Luke Glendening stayed put
  • Mike Green, Trevor Daley, Thomas Vanek stayed put
  • Everybody else on the roster stayed put.

Here’s where we get to dig deep on the timeline and the context. I’ll say up front that I’m not happy the Red Wings were unable to sell so many assets at the deadline nor am I surprised by it. There was early news that the Blue Jackets were asking about Kronwall, but according to Aaron Portzline, Kronner asked not to be traded.

Obviously, the team could have hardballed him more and created a situation where they might have been able to squeeze out a situation that would have allowed a trade to Columbus to happen, but I’m also a believer that when you’re dealing with human beings, the way Kronwall was treated here was appropriate and the intangible value of giving him that treatment is worth more than the tangible value of a potential fourth + conditional 7th-rounder.

For Vanek, Daley, and Green, we have significantly less news about what was asked of them (from sources that I’d consider worthy linking to at least). Vanek hasn’t played well enough to warrant a lot of interest in a market that had a bunch of sellers for scoring wingers. Green’s name was never really bandied about in all the trade talk, and Daley spent much of this season hurt. I expect they’ll get talked about a lot more approaching next year’s trade deadline, but for now they’re Red Wings.

Glendening really had only one potential destination in Toronto and I have absolutely no idea how much of that interest was drummed up by fan dreaming and how much of it was real. Darren Dreger seems to believe that the Wings’s asking price was going to be steep or they’d keep him and what happened fits the narrative. Glendening remains another player who will still be under contract with the Wings next season and can be talked about more at that trade deadline.

The biggest name staying put is All-Star Jimmy Howard. It’s very tough to get a read on what happened here, but Ken Holland’s presser indicates the goalie market kind of dried up. Keith Kinkaid was the only netminder moved at this deadline, as teams like Calgary and San Jose looked at their situations and though “nah, we’re cool.”

It’s much tougher to judge for trades not made because your’e going off of incomplete information and what could amount to a pile of lies from GMs to the press about what happened, but the problems with how much the Wings kept are more about the players they had on the roster in the first place than the players they didn’t find new homes for on this specific date.

Going Forward at the Draft

As of right now, we’re looking at the third consecutive draft where the Red Wings will have 10+ picks. They currently own all seven of their own picks for this draft plus the following:

  • The Islanders’ 2nd-Rounder (Tomas Tatar trade)
  • Either San Jose’s or Florida’s 2nd-Rounder, whichever is lower (Gustav Nyquist trade)
  • Columbus’ 5th-rounder (Steve Ott trade to Montreal that Detroit flipped during the 2018 draft)

Additionally, the Red Wings have a few scattered picks for future years as well, which can be even more-important going forward in this rebuild, as those picks represent flexibility to either use on future players or to flip for pieces that could help accelerate the process if things go well enough.

Going Forward With the Players/Coaches

With the news that Howard and Kronwall are staying, there’s also news about those two pending UFAs re-signing with the Red Wings. Multiple diggers have reported that the team is already working on a possible extension for Howard going into next season. We’ve discussed this at-length here, but a Jimmy Howard extension isn’t the worst-possible situaiton for the Red Wings; it simply has to be short enough to give the team flexibility to move away if one of their goaltending prospects flourishes and it needs to be cheap enough to not hamstring the team into losing a promising young talent.

As for Kronwall, all Holland would say specifically is this:

This one is fun to knee-jerk over, but in terms of GM-speak it’s real easy to ask what exactly Holland should be saying right here. It’s not up to Ken Holland to retire Nik Kronwall and today would be just about the shittiest of all days to say “well I’m not offering him an extension if he does want to play.” It’s a nothing comment on a day where nothing really is all you can or should say.

Personally, I don’t want to see Kronwall return just to get to 1,000 games. If he does return, I wouldn’t mind seeing it happen a bit into the season after the team is able to move Green/Daley (or both) and when they will need a veteran to help with the youth that absolutely SHOULD be in the lineup every night. The 1,000 game mark would just be an added bonus. Either way, I think there’s a potential way to get value out of re-signing Kronwall, but it has to be done very carefully.

In terms of coaching?

We’ll likely have all summer to gripe about Jeff Blashill and I’ll continue my stance that if Joel Quenneville is ready to take over in Detroit, then you replace Blashill immediately, but changing for the sake of changing on a team that’s starting to show a lot of improvement around a core of youngsters probably isn’t the wisest choice. I don’t think Blashill is the right coach for the Wings to contend with, but the more evidence I see of the improvement in the youth, the more I start to believe that he’s a good solution for what the team needs right now.

The Immediate Future

In case you missed the paper transactions, the Wings temporarily assigned Zadina and Hronek to Grand Rapids in order to make them eligible for the AHL postseason. Svechnikov will also be there if he’s healthy in time. Both players will remain with the Wings for now and both are expected to play against Montreal on Tuesday.

With Nyquist gone, the Wings have temporarily decided not to call anybody up, but it’s interesting to see where the extra ice time will go. Helm for Nyquist is a safe, easy choice while Bert-AA-Zadina should be a fun line to watch. This saddles Michael Rasmussen with Frans Nielsen and [guy], but we’re not expecting a whole lot of wins out of the club down the home stretch anyway. At this point, I’m in the part of the season where I’m watching for specific shifts rather than full performances. The AA and Larkin lines will have my full attention.

Overall, I my knee-jerk reaction to today’s action was to give Ken Holland a C-, but thinking more about it, I believe a C+ or even a B- is more-appropriate. He didn’t knock it out of the park, but also I don’t see a real inexcusable failure either. Decent passing grade that can get better depending on what the Sharks do from here out.

What do you think?