The Detroit Red Wings are “open for business” but the team’s GM Ken Holland might be willing to move more than merely players on expiring contracts ahead of the March 1 NHL Trade Deadline.
Pending unrestricted free agents Thomas Vanek, Brendan Smith and Steve Ott are believed to be on the block, but would players such as goalie Petr Mrazek or forward Andreas Athanasiou be made available for the right price?
“I think if you could tell them that you could get them a 22-year-old first-pair defenceman that they would look at whether it would be Mrazek or Athanasiou — somebody like that — they consider doing if it got them a 22-year-old first-pair defenceman,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said while dropping some trade-related knowledge bombs during an appearance on Sportsnet 590 the Fan.
The problem with a team like the Red Wings completing a deal like that is there is a dearth of first-pair calibre blueliners aged 22 or thereabouts in the league.
Players who fit the mould would include the likes of Jacob Trouba (22), Morgan Rielly (22), Darnell Nurse (22), Rasmus Ristolainen (22), Seth Jones (22), Olli Määttä (22), Damon Severson (22), Mathew Dumba (22), Jaccob Slavin (22), Dougie Hamilton (23), Jonas Brodin (23), Oscar Klefbom (23), Hampus Lindholm (23), John Klingberg (24) and Justin Faulk (24).
Another complication here is that virtually none of the players mentioned above are on the trade block. Trouba is the one name that has often been involved in trade rumours this year after requesting to be moved prior to the season.
“They were all in in the summer, I think, on Trouba,” Friedman said of the Red Wings. “They were really trying to get him.”
Teams still in on Duchene
The most noteworthy non-pending-UFA potentially on the move is Avalanche star Matt Duchene. Most of the teams connected to Duchene are in the Eastern Conference but we shouldn’t rule out one of Colorado’s Central Division rivals from making a pitch.
“I think Nashville is a team that’s going to try to get Duchene or somebody big to play forward,” Friedman said.
The Canadiens, Penguins and Senators are also believed to have shown interest in the 26-year-old centre. Same goes for the Hurricanes.
“I think Carolina could have easily made this deal but I think they look at it and say, ‘Are we giving up one of our young D for two years of Duchene?’ I think they just said, ‘We’re not going to do that,’” Freidman added.
Pens, Habs, Flames planning something substantial?
Freidman believes Pittsburgh, Montreal and Calgary are among the teams that could be looking to pull off more significant moves, while clubs like Washington, Minnesota and Chicago will lean towards standing pat.
The Penguins spent a second-round pick to acquire Ron Hainsey from the Hurricanes Thursday, three days after the Flames sent a pair of draft picks to the Coyotes for Michael Stone, while the Canadiens recently sent a league-wide memo revealing Greg Pateryn is available for trade.
Wideman could be in play
Any teams that missed the boat on a player like Hainsey could turn to the Flames in an effort to add an experienced blueliner. Dennis Wideman’s salary is $5.25-million but he’s willing to waive his no-movement clause.
“There’s always a market for veteran defencemen and I think depending on what the price is and would Calgary take money and what kind of pick or return are they looking for I do think there would be a market for Wideman,” said Friedman, who believes Flames GM Brad Treliving has several irons in the fire but is remaining tight-lipped about his team’s plans. “At the end of the day teams like depth, especially if you think you have a chance to win it.”
The silver lining to Wideman’s tough-to-swallow cap hit is he becomes a UFA on July 1.
Who’s likely to be dealt out of Vancouver?
You never really know what the Vancouver Canucks are going to do but with the playoffs seemingly out of reach the team should be looking to sell. The two players getting the most attention are forwards Alexandre Burrows and Jannik Hansen.
“I’m hearing that Jannik Hansen has put in – Vancouver requested his eight-team trade list for Hansen – I heard he’s put it in although nobody has confirmed it,” Friedman said.