The NHL trade deadline is on March 21st. Teams will look to improve their rosters as they acquire talent on teams that are not in playoff contention. The Detroit Red Wings are among these teams that will not make the playoffs for the seventh season in a row. The team has some players that could be moved by the March 21st deadline.
Red Wings Trade Deadlines Past
Teams are able to add players without having to give up anything to another team. This is the case as Jakub Vrana has returned to the Red Wings lineup. A shoulder injury meant that Vrana would miss time for the Red Wings. Vrana was acquired in the Anthony Mantha trade in 2021. Vrana scored a goal in his first game for the Red Wings against the Arizona Coyotes. This was the highlight of the game for the Red Wings.
The Red Wings were seen as the “winner” of the trade in the near term. The fact that Mantha missed time with a shoulder injury of his own after the trade did nothing to disprove this opinion. The two players are only one year apart in age. Vrana scored 11 points in the first 11 games he played for the Red Wings.
The 25-year-old scored 19 goals and added 17 assists in 50 games played with the Washington Capitals and Red Wings during the 2020-21 season. The trade was made because Vrana had shown flashes of being a superstar for the Capitals but was due to receive a pay raise. The Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan clearly thought that he had to move Vrana because he could not get into the lineup.
I wrote at the time of the Mantha trade that he was perceived to be not showing the fullest effort on the ice for the Red Wings. Perhaps this was because he was on a team that was toward the bottom of the league. Or maybe it is because Mantha is 6’5” is much bigger than most of his opponents on the ice and the game can be perceived as being “easy” for him. This is certainly not fair to Mantha. It just so happens that Mantha was one of the most talented players on the Red Wings roster.
Filip Zadina on the Trading Block?
One Red Wing player on the current roster that could be traded is Filip Zadina. Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff recently wrote that Zadina is the subject of trade rumors. Zadina has struggled to put the puck in the net as of late. This is not to say that he has not played well otherwise. Perhaps a change of scenery will help Zadina find the scoring touch that led the Red Wings to draft him sixth overall in 2018. Zadina will be a restricted free agent after this season.
Recently the Red Wings have tried to deploy Zadina in a number of positions. From net-front to a spot on the top line, head coach Jeff Blashill has seen Zadina play with more confidence. Any player would play with more confidence if they have had recent success. Zadina said “it’s good to play with everybody on this team. But with them, they’re real skilled offensive players, and with them it’s good to play with the puck, and stuff like that. It’s a little easier.”
Perhaps the most tantalizing trade bait on the Red Wings roster right now is center Vladislav Namestnikov. The 29-year-old has become a fan favorite in the short time he has played for the team. Every time Namestnikov scores he is seen tugging on the winged wheel logo on his chest. While this is admirable it is up to general manager Steve Yzerman to get the most value out of every player for the franchise.
One position that the Red Wings do not need to acquire at the trade deadline is goaltender. Alex Nedeljkovic has cemented himself as the number one goaltender in Detroit. However, if a team calls the Red Wings inquiring on Thomas Greiss, Yzerman should listen. Greiss is 36-years-old and even though he has struggled lately with the Red Wings, he can bring a veteran presence to a team in need of goaltending for the playoff push.
The Red Wings could improve their roster with trade deadline moves that could help the team make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. There are positions of need that the team has but goaltender is not one of them. The glaring need seems to be at forward. The fact that the team has struggled to score at times is an offshoot of this. Perhaps the Red Wings trade Zadina in order to acquire more offensive talent.
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