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A Quick Update On Red Wings Trade Deadline Candidates

With the turn of the calendar year comes the second half of the NHL season and with the second half of the NHL season comes the race for a playoff spot. Teams who are in position to do so, will soon start to tweak their lineup for a playoff run. Which means…

It’s trade season, baby!

For teams like the Red Wings, who won’t even sniff the playoffs, it means they can work the phones and dangle their pending unrestricted free agents in front of the hungry fish looking to cook a meal worthy of a Stanley Cup.

And is it ever a seller’s market this year.

This week, Craig Custance of The Athletic released his primer for this year’s trade deadline. He lists 20 players who could be moved before the February 25th deadline and what the asking price could be. I really urge you to read the whole piece as it’s very interesting, but below is a recap of the four Red Wings who made the list.

Nick Jensen

Status: Red Wings haven’t ruled out an extension, but he wouldn’t cost a lot on the trade market.

Analysis: With all of the injuries on the blue line, Nick Jensen has been on full display in Detroit, playing up to 28 minutes in a December game. When the blue line is healthy, though, it’s crowded. With Dennis Cholowski and Filip Hronek looking like they belong in the NHL, the Wings are going to have to make some chances to their D-corps. They could easily fetch a 3rd round pick for Jensen at the deadline and they should take it.

Gustav Nyquist

Status: Has not yet been approached about waiving his NTC.

Analysis: Gustav Nyquist is easily Detroit’s most valuable pending UFA, but, as Custance points out, there plenty of other wingers on the market that could go first. Nyquist is having a really good season on a bad team, which may inflate his value, but I wouldn’t expect him to yield the same return that Tomas Tatar got last year. It would probably take a decent prospect and a 2nd round pick to get a deal done, but they need to approach him about that NTC first!

Jimmy Howard

Status: Asking price is a 1st round pick, likely to re-sign in Detroit

Analysis: The only way that Jimmy Howard gets moved is if a playoff team’s starter goes down with a long-term injury. It’s not out of the question, but it’s not something you hang your hat on. I would expect Howard to stay put at the trade deadline and into the next 2-3 years. The next batch of goalies are still a few years away and Howard can help bridge that gap.

Trevor Daley

Status: Currently injured, could be worth a 2nd round pick and a decent prospect (per Custance).

Analysis: Trevor Daley’s name was the surprise one on Custance’s list and his value was even more surprising. Daley has always been vaguely mentioned in trade talks because of his low cap hit and veteran experience, but I’ve never seen his asking price being set so high. If the Wings get offered a 2nd round pick and decent prospect for Daley, they should take it immediately, even if it involves retaining some salary.

Not Listed

There are some smaller players in the Red Wings system who I think could be moved either for a later round draft pick or to sweeten a deal for one of the above. Note that these players were not named in Custance’s piece on The Athletic, but are my own speculation.

Joe Hicketts: Hicketts has seen some NHL time and has looked like he could be a capable bottom-pairing defenseman. The problem in Detroit is that the Wings have many of those types of defensemen. Already he’s been passed by Hronek in the depth chart and there’s some good talent coming up behind him. Though it’s unlikely, it wouldn’t surprise me if Hicketts was moved for next to nothing if only to give him a shot somewhere else.

Dominic Turgeon: Basically my Hicketts reasoning, but for a fourth line center. Turgeon has had some injury issues, but he’s playing consistently now and has proven that he can fill in a fourth line role on an NHL roster. With all of the depth contracts the Red Wings have on the books,  Turgeon might have a better shot at the show elsewhere.

Martin Frk: Frk is a fringe NHL player at best. His shot has use on the power play and he’s proven that he can grind it out against the boards, but he can’t win a permanent roster spot over some of the other depth players. With his contract up at the end of this year, it’s hard to see a situation where Detroit re-signs him. I could see him used to sweeten the pot in a bigger deal to a team that needs help on the power play.

Andreas Athanasiou: Athanasiou’s name has been floated in trade rumors before. He’s having a career year so far, which makes Detroit less likely to move him, but the team is still in dire need of a top-pairing defenseman. Should one become available (i.e. Dougie Hamilton), Athanasiou is one of the more appealing and expendable players in the Red Wings top-6.


There’s always a lot of hype around the trade deadline, and yet, little seems to happen. The Red Wings are in an interesting spot in their rebuild in that they are almost ready to start accelerating it. That can start at the trade deadline. It’s all a  matter of how bold team management is willing to be.

Will they swing for the fences or go slow and steady? We’ll find out by February 3rd.

  • I fear we may just let the deadline come and go without a move. Would like to see us get something for Howard and Nyquist if the opportunity is there. They can always be resigned in the offseason.

    • Nick Seguin

      Wouldn’t surprise me if the Wings sat quietly at the trade deadline. Nyquist is the most likely to be moved, but if they haven’t approached him about waiving his NTC yet, then maybe they don’t plan on it. That would not be good for a team that should be collecting assets for the future.

  • DDrew

    The Red Wings would be crazy to trade Jenson for a 3rd round draft pick. In the 2014 draft they selected Dominic Turgeon. Your article says Turgeon should be moved for same value as Hicketts – next to nothing. So you’re saying trade Jenson, who can play 25 minutes per game if needed, for a 3rd round pick which in the past got them a pick now worth “next to nothing”. That makes no sense.

    • Nick Seguin

      The draft is a crap shoot, especially after the 2nd round. You know who else is a 3rd round draft pick? Shayne Gostisbehere, Colton Parayo, Frederik Andersen, Brett Pesce, Jake Guentzel… I would trade Nick Jensen for any one of those players.

      In any draft, most of the players you pick are worth “next to nothing”. The idea is to collect as many draft picks as possible to increase your odds of hitting. A 3rd round pick is nothing to scoff at and Jensen, while arguably the best defenseman on this team right now, doesn’t get them any closer to winning a Cup now or in three years. He does have value for other teams, though.

  • DDrew

    Re Nyquist, what do wingers who score at his level get paid? Toronto just shelled out what, $45M / $7.5M per year. He’s had back to back 61 point seasons. Gus has 37 points in 45 games this year, on pace for around 65 points this year. Who are they going to pick up that is a better value than re-signing him? They’ll get stuck with someone who costs more and probably only just as good. Like another Frans Neilsen. They should re-sign him. They’re getting better and its not time dump everyone anymore. Land one big, solid free agent D or forward and supplement from within and keep the solid players. Why? no one is going to trade a UFA for a decent prospect and a 2nd round pick. Keep a guy who can score 65 points / play every game. He can play first line which allows AA and Bert to play 2nd or 3rd line. And Z is coming. Keep him / don’t dump him for anything less than a 2nd round and prospect which no one will ever pay.

    • Nick Seguin

      I’m not opposed to extending Nyquist at a reasonable cap hit (less than $7.5M), but he’s worth something right now on the trade market. If both sides love each other so much, then they can re-sign him in the offseason. It’s not a reason to hold on to him now when he could fetch a bigger return than anyone else available on your roster. Trading him and re-signing him is an option.
      And landing one big, solid free agent D or forward is easier said than done. Big ticket players don’t have lottery teams on their interview lists. It’s a nice thought, but don’t think that Artemi Panarin is going to give Detroit a thought at all.

  • DDrew

    Re AA, don’t even think about trading AA. If you want that solid #1 D, you’ve got what, $20M of cap space coming available. Use that money to buy a #1 D, even if it costs $8 to $10M per year for a younger one. Then you keep AA who you’ll never replace. WingsNation – show some foresight here. Everything this team does now is against the back-drop of $20M of available cap space becoming available in the near future. Consider the future with AA, Gus, Z coming along, Ras along with Veleno and McIssac in a few years PLUS maybe 1 or 2 blockbuster free agents. So many teams have $0 cap space. That’s your road map. Don’t just throw away good parts in a re-build frenzy. Be smart – Holland knows what he is doing. And, I love Yzerman, but I’d keep Holland. No one remembers Yzerman started with Stamkos (#1 overall in 2009) and Hedman (#2 overall in 2010) on the team before he was hired. I could win with those two as my foundation. And also don’t forget Jonathan Drouin, an overall #3 pick by Yzerman who is no longer on the team (I do give him credit for drafting Kucherov and Point and finding Johnson). Holland is no slouch though. Keep Holland make Yzerman President.

    • Nick Seguin

      I’m not saying that AA is available or that they even should trade him. He’s one of the best parts of this team right now. I don’t want them to trade him. It’s just an idea as a way to bring a top-2 defenseman on to the team. I appreciate your optimism, but Detroit isn’t the destination it once was. Free agents want to go where they feel they are going to win. Holland has a hell of a job to do to sell them on Detroit. The league’s changed. You don’t rebuild through free agency anymore. You rebuild through the draft, which is why selling top players when you get the chance is so important.

  • DDrew

    Nick, you are correct on the changes in the league and Detroit not the destination it once was. On the other hand, $20M or so in cap space is 1. huge, 2. untested in Detroit to once again being able to spend like this and 3. for the right player they may have to outbid the competition, 4. This is a young team with a good future and 5. they’re going to have fill the rooster and spend the $20M – this is the big test for Holland – to get the right guy even if it is at a premium.