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Red Wings and Preds Complete Trade Ahead of Draft Weekend

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UPDATE 3:10 PM ET: The Red Wings announced not long after making this trade that they are sending defenseman Jake Walman and Tampa’s 2nd round pick to San Jose in exchange for future considerations. Read more about it here.

It’s not the John Gibson trade some of the insiders are tracking, but today the Red Wings picked up an extra second-round pick for this week’s NHL draft and forward prospect Jesse Kiiskinen from the Nashville Predators in exchange for defense prospect Andrew Gibson.

What does this mean?

Well, there are a couple of immediate theories. One would be that the most important piece of this trade is the second-round pick coming back. That gives Detroit a pair of seconds for this weekend (and nine selections total) — valuable currency for those who may be looking to move up in the first round of the Draft. This could be a precursor to other moves that the Red Wings may already be discussing.

But it takes two to tango (and trade), so it doesn’t necessarily promise that something else will transpire. Years of taking these 10-12 player draft classes mean you could end up with more players in your system than spots to play them, should they all develop properly. Detroit is pretty flush with young defensemen — the stat I always refer back to is they’ve taken nine with first- or second-round picks since 2019.

Gibson had to return to the OHL for next season either way, but even looking ahead at Grand Rapids’ depth chart in 2025-26, he’d be battling (pending NHL promotions) Axel Sandin Pellikka, William Wallinder, Shai Buium, Antti Tuomisto and anyone else who earns a pro deal over the next year. Whether or not that was a real factor, this thins the crowd a bit.


I think this is a good trade for Detroit. Gibson has all the makings of a pro defenseman with good size and physicality, who more than doubled his offensive output with the OHL’s Soo Greyhounds last year, showing that he could be a two-way fit at the next level and not just a stay-at-home defenseman.

Some draft pundits did originally criticize that pick, though, as he was ranked with closer to a third- or fourth-round grade. That’s a good reminder going into this weekend on how thin those margins actually are, as Gibson is a player with a skillset that all teams will covet. One year later, Gibson returns this weekend’s 53rd overall pick along with Kiiskinen, who was taken 68th overall by Nashville in 2023.

As for Kiiskinen, he’s an 18-year-old 6-foot winger working his way up the ranks in Finland. As a draft-eligible, he was among the top scorers in the Finnish under-20 ranks with 43 points in 31 games, also making his pro debut with seven games for the Lahti Pelicans. Last season, he racked up 21 points — including 14 goals — in just eight games in the Finnish junior ranks before moving up to the SM-Liiga full-time, where he picked up 10 points in 38 games — not bad for how young he is. He’s moving from the Pelicans to HPK for 2024-25.

I can’t say I’m familiar with his game, but here are a couple of scouting reports:

His motor never stops. Kiiskinen makes second and third efforts on the forecheck, catches unsuspecting defencemen on the tracks, and is a diligent defensive player. Kiiskinen scans ahead of puck retrievals and makes plays with pace. -EliteProspects 2023 NHL Draft Guide

We’ll certainly keep our ears open for any further moves, but sound off in the comments below whether you think this is just a simple prospect and picks swap, or a sign of more moves to come.

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