Red Wings: Steve Yzerman needs to trade for Patrik Laine

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

With the NHL, like many businesses small and large, in the midst of an economic crisis, it may open the door for a team like the Detroit Red Wings with an abundance of available salary-cap space to land a high-priced superstar.

The Detroit Red Wings recently acquired Marc Staal in a trade with the New York Rangers, who are shedding salary.  Detroit received a valuable second-round pick in the 2021 NHL draft as a ‘kicker’ to take on the final year of Staal’s lucrative deal that averages $5.7 million per season.  Those same Rangers recently used a buy-out on the future Hall Of Fame goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist.

General manager Steve Yzerman has approximately $27-million in cap space to spend but don’t forget both Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi are presently restricted free agents (RFA).  Yzerman may elect to use another short-term bridge-deal on both players rather than signing the pair to five or six-year contracts.

A short-term deal may be an option that works well for all parties involved.  It allows the young players to enter another negotiation period for a player in their 20s while in the prime of their career expecting to ‘cash-in.’ It also helps the organization add a couple of bad expiring contracts and receive valuable draft capital as the kicker.

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Or something more intriguing.

Detroit will also have the opportunity to remain active on the trade front, adding an impactful player that may be a victim of the frozen salary cap.  It’s such an unusual time, Yzerman may have the opportunity to land a player like sniper Patrik Laine from the Winnipeg Jets.

The Jets, like many Stanley Cup contenders, will need to shuffle some money around to remain competitive.  The Jets currently have five forwards that make over $6-million per season, two of which make over $7-million.

Winnipeg’s general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff only has 13 players on the team’s active roster, leaving just about $10-million to spend after forward Bryan Little is activated from the Injured Reserve list, on nine players to fill out the active roster.  The organization has just eight active forwards, four defenders, and one goaltender.

This may leave a phenom like Laine available for the taking.

Laine, at just 22-years old, is entering the final year of his deal that averages $6.7 million per season.  He will be RFA at seasons’ end, expecting a significant raise, and rightfully so, after scoring 138 goals over the last four seasons. Also, Laine has achieved a whopping 52 career power-play goals and totaled 247 career points in 305 games.

A perennial 30-goal scorer is just what the doctor ordered for the Detroit Red Wings, a unit that has struggled mightily to score throughout their rebuild.  The Jets may opt to move Laine and land themselves a significant return rather than risk a nasty holdout similar to the one William Nylander and the Toronto Maple Leafs experienced.

What would it take to land Laine?

A lot.

But he’s worth it, especially understanding he’s a player that Yzerman has the cap room to sign long-term.

The Detroit Red Wings have three second-round picks in each of the next two drafts.  Let’s start there; one from each class, and maybe a couple of players like Robby Fabbri and Evgeny Svechnikov? Perhaps even include Luke Glendening?  That gives the Jets two players that can play right away, another with potential, and two high draft picks over the next two years.  It doesn’t seem like enough for a player of Laine’s caliber, but the Jets are desperate to clear space.

Next. Who should stay and who should go this offseason. dark

It’s enough to start the conversation, and that is something Yzerman needs to spark.