A mock drafts Achilles heel: trades. General managers are calling each other like crazy that it is almost impossible to predict draft day trades. In the Red Wings case, who knows what Ken Holland might try to pull off on the draft floor. In recent years Holland has opted for trade downs. The 2016 draft being famous for the Pavel Datsyuk trade where he netted two B-prospects and some cap relief for Jakub Chychrun. That one is still up for debate, but there is no dispute over his 2013 trade down with the San Jose Sharks which rewarded them Tyler Bertuzzi for moving back two spots which became Anthony Mantha.
This time around Holland has much more ammunition to get creative. Detroit owns four picks in the top-36 – the most of any team – making it much easier to move up from his sixth overall pick if he pleases. But it seems as though he is open for anything, with reports that he is considering to either move both up or down.
Lets take a look at what both options present.
If a trade up were to happen, the most likely option would be with the Montreal Canadians for third overall. Montreal is very interested in Jesperi Kotkaniemi to fill their center needs and Detroit is reportedly very high on Filip Zadina. Zadina most likely won’t make it past fourth overall (and potentially third if Montreal deals with another team) and third overall is a little to early to select Kotkaniemi. Chicago has also been reported to be interested in Kotkaniemi, so anything past seven wouldn’t work for them. Would a swap of third overall and sixth overall work if Detroit deals the Vegas pick for Montreal’s 35th? Or would they have to just give up one of their picks in the thirties alone? Is Andreas Athanasiou or Gustav Nyquist worth handing over instead?
My reaction to this, while possible, is that it’s not beneficial. Depending on who you ask, Zadina isn’t that far ahead of the Wahlstrom, Hughes, Boqvist and Bouchard group. But than again, there are some who think Zadina should be challenging for second overall.
This to me would be the only scenario of Detroit trading up. They are also interested in Bouchard but he is still likely to be available by sixth overall. Third overall is the optimal spot to land Zadina. Ottawa at fourth overall isn’t much of a possibility because they don’t have a second to exchange with our Vegas pick. If Detroit were to give up any assets that aren’t an exchange of draft picks they would be very foolish.
Unlike moving up, there are much more options for moving down. Ken Holland has said he won’t be moving out of the top-10. But what if the New York Islanders offer picks eleven and twelve for pick six. I’ve seen this idea floated around, but it just doesn’t make sense. The Islanders need to persuade John Tavares to stay, and acquiring a prospect a year or two away from making an immediate impact won’t satisfy him the most. If New York is moving those picks, it would be for established players who will help them win right away. As for Detroit, well, they would be better off taking the best player available at six, as those two picks are a little to risky to bet on a prize prospect falling.
On the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge, the New York Rangers make a lot of sense as a trade partner. The Rangers own the ninth, twenty-sixth and twenty-eighth picks. The chance of an elite player making it to nine is still likely, and add in a swap of the Vegas/Ottawa picks for one of their late first rounders and that sounds very pleasing to both sides. That only being if the Rangers are looking to move up.
Apply that same logic to Chicago, who hold the eighth and twenty-seventh picks. However, if Detroit decides to trade down to pick Kotkaniemi, they’re gambling. Chicago is interested in him. But that leaves the door open for someone else falling. Vancouver at seventh is the X-factor.
I’m boring but I think the best choice of action is staying pat at sixth overall. Obviously, it depends on how things shake out, but I’m a big believer in taking your guy. I’m someone who could care less about reaching. I think trading up makes zero sense for the Wings and it would be a mistake, but again, that is just how I feel about the players in this draft class.
I’m more open to trading back, but that is a calculated risk. If they trade back two or three spots because they like everyone in a group of five players than you should trade back, right? Well, yes, but I think as an organization or as an individual you have to have one or two guys you’re set on. If he’s high on your board and is a reasonable pick in that range just take him. If he/they are gone trade back.