As the April 3 NHL trade deadline draws near the rumor mill will kick into high gear. The Detroit Red Wings are the roller coaster team of the NHL; there have been plenty of ups and downs as the season has gone on.
They do find themselves in the playoff hunt, but so does just about every other team in the league this season. While the injury bug has greatly hurt the team, even when healthy the team still has some issues.
Many fans will wonder why players such as Dan Cleary, Mikael Samuelsson, Justin Abdelkader and Todd Bertuzzi are not on the list. Between contracts, age and performance, these players would really not bring much in return on their own. Instead, only players who would bring some value back are included.
Here are the players the Red Wings could use as trade bait.
Tomas Tatar is a player the Red Wings would be wise to keep, but for the right player he could be movable. In the AHL he has been a regular scoring threat.
At 5’10” he is smaller than most NHL players but he has great speed to make up for it. He has played 18 games for the Wings this season and has scored four goals and three assists while playing roughly 12 minutes a game. That is very good output in limited ice time. He has shown that he can handle the NHL game.
Like Tatar, the team would be reluctant to trade Joakim Andersson. He is another young player the organization has groomed and is now ready to play. His stats are similar to Tatar: 19 games with three goals and four assists. He is also a plus six.
He has great value to the future of the organization and because of that, he would bring a lot back in trade.
Johan Franzen would be an interesting trade target. On the plus side, he is a player that scores between 27-34 goals a year. On the downside he disappears for long stretches.
Trading Franzen will be tricky though. He is signed through the end of the 2019-20 season. His cap number of $3.9 million is not bad for a player with his stats but the length of the contract is a concern. A contender needing one more player might take a chance on him.
The catch is that the Red Wings will likely have to take back a bad contract in return.
Gustav Nyquist and Tatar might be each other's worst enemy; they are very similar players. While there would be nothing wrong with having them both on the team, it also means that one is likely expendable.
Nyquist has spent most of the season in the minors where he leads the AHL in scoring. The Red Wings will have to make a decision on Nyquist as he is on the last year of his entry-level contract. Next season they cannot hide him in the minors without losing him.
This means that they either need to make room for him or not. This could come down to a choice between him or Tatar. It could also mean other players will move instead.
A year ago the thought of trading Filppula would not have even crossed anyone’s mind but after his start this year, it is very much a possibility.
Filppula had a rough start to the season. After the success and career-best numbers from last season, he fell off the pace and only had four goals before an injury forced him to miss several weeks.
He has been much improved in his three games back. In those games, he has two goals and one assist which is much closer to the production that was expected from him entering the season.
Perhaps the bigger issue is his contract. He will be a free agent after the season and according to reports, he is looking for a deal for more than $5 million per season.
If the team cannot get a deal done before the trade deadline, then they need to decide if they are willing to pay that amount. If not, then they will need to trade him. It would be pointless to let him walk away for nothing in the offseason. Several teams would be willing to trade for a player of his talent.
Ian White entered the season expecting to be one of the main players on defense. Instead, he has found himself a healthy scratch in many games.
Like Filppula, White is a free agent after the season. At a contract worth $2.87 million he would be pretty easy to move. At this point, unless he regularly becomes part of the lineup again, then it makes sense to try to get something for him.
Before his benching he had been in a slump, playing at a minus six in the previous six games. He has only played twice in the month of March but is plus four in those games.
If they are going to continue to sit him then they will be looking to trade him.