We’re just days away from the 2020 NHL trade deadline, and while a lot of teams have gotten to work with significant trades, all has been quiet on the Red Wings front. Not that there is any cause for concern — if any recent trades have told us anything, it’s that teams are willing to shore up draft picks and prospects to get closer to the final goal. Luckily for the Red Wings, the team has a handful of options to deal away, if Steve Yzerman chooses to do so. Let’s dive into it.
Side note: it’s been an excruciating season for all of us (Red Wings fans) — isn’t it funny that we get amped up to trade players away, and become worse right here and now?
First, we’ll talk strategy, because it’s a simple concept.
- Trade expendable players/assets to acquire as many draft picks or prospects as possible
- Don’t overthink it — K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple Stupid
- Know what you’re getting before you sign the dotted line
Players, and where they can go
So, there’s a handful of players we can put on our imagination block. Here are the eight names I’m focused in on:
- Andreas Athanasiou
- Darren Helm
- Luke Glendening
- Robby Fabbri
- Madison Bowey
- Mike Green
- Alex Biega
- Trevor Daley
There are a number of potential suitors, but first the biggest one has to be the Edmonton Oilers. We know the narrative here — Ken Holland and Steve Yzerman making a deal to create some sort of weird, confusing alternative universe. The Oilers currently lead the PAC-8, but the race to the postseason is wide-open for that division. Their top defenseman is out for a few weeks with a shoulder injury, Connor McDavid is on injured reserve, and Ken Holland needs to keep his team knit together. Some beat reporters from Edmonton have speculated the idea of Andreas Athanasiou being a good choice:
OK, what's it going to cost Ken Holland to get Athanasiou from friend Steve Yzerman in Detroit now that wheeling and dealing has started in the Pac8? AA is restricted F/A after this yr at $3 mil. As we keep saying, Puljujarvi's rights, 2nd round draft and prospect D in play— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) February 18, 2020
While this is far from any legitimate rumor at this point, you have to entertain the idea of giving Jesse Puljujarvi, a former fourth overall pick. Things have been rocky for the young right winger, and I believe it has a lot to do with Edmonton’s asset management. Since returning to Liiga, Puljujarvi has returned to his state of volume scoring — and it’s important to remember — He’s just over a year older than Filip Zadina. At 21 years old, he has a lot of growth ahead of him. Edmonton fans may call him a bust, but I don’t think that’s fair to say. Far from it. I think if there’s a potential to get Jesse Puljujarvi and a 2nd round draft pick in exchange for Andreas Athanasiou, I think you would be silly not to pull the trigger on that deal. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston has also thrown out there that Puljujarvi and a 2nd round pick are in play if it’s bringing in a scoring forward.
The next biggest trade chip the Red Wings have has to be Darren Helm. I’ve long been banging this drum, and as much as I’d hate to see him go (because he has been a valuable player for a long time), he’s exactly the kind of player that a contender wants to add. He has term, and his ability to act as a Swiss Army Knife-like player should have his name in the mix. Helm would be a really nice addition for teams like Carolina, or Colorado. I think the asking price here should be a second round pick, or prospect on the same level as Connor Timmins (COL). Of course, Detroit should be ready to soak up some money.
Now, some of you may be a little thrown off that I included Robby Fabbri’s name on my list of trade bait. I get it — he’s been one of the few success stories for the team this season, and it’s tough to let go of the highway robbery that Steve Yzerman pulled to get him in a Winged Wheel. BUT.
If there is interest in Fabbri, Yzerman should be listening with caution. I think Fabbri, who is a 24-year-old pending RFA, is a nice additive/complimentary offensive player like Gustav Nyquist or Tomas Tatar were/are. Obviously, you should be selling high — that appears to be the trend this season. Just look at the Blake Coleman trade.
When you sift through the rest of the names, it’s not hard to draw up value. Players like Bowey, Daley, Glendening, Green, etc. should all be on the block with moderate expectations for trade value. I think taking picks from future drafts should be in play, or even some distant prospects who haven’t panned out for their team. The name of the game is building for tomorrow, not today.
As I said before, I am no insider. I am, however, a really good bullshitter. I’m not sure how that is relevant to this column, but here you go. You have that now.
This is Steve Yzerman’s first trade deadline as GM in Detroit, so there’s a lot of excitement about what he can pull off. I don’t think we’ll see any blockbusters, but Detroit is poised to shore up a few valuable assets to continue building a competitive team in the near future.