It was somewhat of an eventful NHL trade deadline for general manager Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings. There were no real surprise transactions surrounding the Red Wings, but the former Hall Of Fame captain continues to quietly stockpile future assets in the way of draft capital.
The Detroit Red Wings sent pending unrestricted free agent (UFA) Vladislav Namestnikov to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a 2024 fourth-round pick.
Since taking over for Ken Holland, Steve Yzerman has continued two specific themes: adding as much future draft capital as possible, and the second has been taking a flier on a once highly regarded player that’s never lived up to expectations hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.
In addition to moving Namestnikov, Yzerman also flipped veteran defenseman Nick Leddy and tough-guy Luke Witkowski for a pair of role players also adding a second-round pick in 2023. Detroit added depth forward Oskar Sundqvist and defensemen Jake Walman; both are expected to use the remainder of 2022 as a professional tryout.
Sundquist is under contract through next season, carrying a cap hit of 2.75 million. He’s a 27-year old forward with four goals and 15 points over 41 games this season. Walman, a 26-year old, is a pending restricted free agent (RFA) who will look to fit in as a third pairing defender. He’s scored three goals and added three assists over 32 games with the Blues this season.
The Detroit Red Wings continue to stack future draft capital.
The Detroit Red Wings also sent veteran defenceman Troy Stecher to Los Angeles for a seventh-round draft pick. Stecher is a pending UFA and has struggled this year in Detroit, whether to remain healthy or make a positive impact on the ice. The fact that the Red Wings garnered anything in return for his services is a bonus, understanding he wasn’t going to be a candidate to be retained following the conclusion of the season.
I wouldn’t be shocked to see Yzerman attempt to re-sign Namestnikov this offseason. He’s a player Yzerman seems to like, as he had him in Tampa Bay and brought him to Detroit when he had the chance.
Namestnikov had a solid season in a support role, scoring 13 goals and adding 12 assists over 60 games. He has the talent to play on a top line if he’s pressed into duty but is best suited as a third or even fourth-line forward on a playoff-bound club. Namestnikov does bring some additional flexibility to a lineup with his ability to play the wing or center.
I hoped that Yzerman would be able to land a third-round pick for Namestnikov and potentially a first-round selection for Leddy, but the market wasn’t as strong for either as once hoped.
The good news for Red Wings fans; Tyler Bertuzzi or Filip Zadina wasn’t moved. Bertuzzi is a vital piece to Detroit’s offense, and the return for his services would have had to be jaw-dropping. When it comes to Zadina, I, like many fans, feel like there is something special there, but it just needs to be unlocked.
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I hope Zadina finds a way to finish the season strong and finally turn the corner heading into next season, or his days in Detroit will be numbered.