Detroit Red Wings: Nate Schmidt another left-hander to consider

(Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)
(Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Red Wings should consider taking on the contract of Nate Schmidt. He does a couple of things for the Red Wings, brings in a nice trade return on a sweetener deal, and also fills the role of another left-handed defenseman for the team’s top-six, something they need.

Full disclosure on this article. Thanks to this tweet from @JPhoenix7 on Detroit Red Wings Twitter, it got me thinking.

Based on some discussion with Co-Site Expert Bob Heyrman, it’s agreed, the Red Wings need to add another left-handed defenseman. A recent topic surrounding the Red Wings making sweetener deals similar to that of last year with Marc Staal, what about doing it again?

Heyrman recently offered his take on three players the team should be targeting and looking at. Yzerman opted to go with Nick Leddy to kick things off, trading Richard Panik and a second-round pick to the New York Islanders to the left-handed shooting defenseman.

The Red Wings are not done; they can easily absorb more salary and manipulate cap space to bring in another left-handed shooting defenseman. Schmidt would be a perfect get for the Red Wings organization.

The Detroit Red Wings should explore acquiring defenseman Nate Schmidt.

Now, this move is quite the ask. General Manager (GM) Steve Yzerman needs to make a long-term commitment to Schmidt for this deal. Something that might be too far out of Yzerman’s plans, but it’s worth the idea.

Currently, Schmidt has four years left on his contract with a $5.95 million cap hit in each of those seasons. This would mean that Schmidt would be on the team’s backend for the next four seasons. This may turn into another showing of someone like Trevor Daley, who was a pylon at the end of his tenure in Detroit.

There are always buyouts, though! Personally, Schmidt is a solid middle to third pairing guy; he can fill a role and be serviceable. While he is not a $5.95 million AAV player, it’s better than Dennis Cholowski or Jonathan Ericsson.

In 2020-21, Schmidt took a significant step back with the Vancouver Canucks. He played 54 games with the Canucks where he scored five goals and added 10 assists for 15 total points. In each of the last three years, while with the Vegas Goldenknights, Schmidt would muster beyond 30 points.

It seems like Schmidt can still be that player; sticking him in the Red Wings defense core would be solid. However, that’s not all that matters with this deal.

Here’s the deal I proposed with a little help from the tweet above:

Adding Vancouver Canucks forward Nils Höglander is the highlight of this proposed Detroit Red Wings trade.

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The suggestion of Nils Höglander would make him the focal point of the return. Giving up a fourth-round pick in which the Red Wings have three of should not be worrisome. Taking on the salary frees up space for the Canucks who are looking to do so.

Höglander is still on his rookie deal. He’s slated to make $891,667 over the next two seasons before becoming a restricted free agent.

The young Swedish forward could bring some scoring to the offense, and it’s clear how much the Red Wings love their Swedes.

In his first NHL season, Höglander logged all 56 games, scoring 13 goals and adding 14 assists for 27 total points. In a full season, Höglander might just be able to creep over a 20-goal threshold.

The Red Wings could drop him into the team’s middle-six and hope to pair him with Lucas Raymond when the time comes.

Not to mention, if the team scoops up Swedish forward William Eklund in the quickly approaching draft, Höglander would be able to be another Swedish forward, tearing it up for the Red Wings offense.

Höglander might be too much to get, and the Canucks may be unwilling to part ways with the young Swede, but it’s a fun trade to dream up. If the Red Wings want to make a longer-term commitment to net a nice asset hopefully, then this move for Schmidt should be considered.

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As the NHL Entry Draft continues to creep closer, maybe the Detroit Red Wings will make another move!