The trade deadline for the NHL has come and gone. The Detroit Red Wings made a flurry of moves that were announced after the 3 PM deadline. Defensemen Nick Leddy and Luke Witkowski were traded to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Jake Walman, Oskar Sundqvist, and a second-round draft pick in 2023.
Walman and Sundqvist are veteran players that will be helpful in the Red Wings’ room down the stretch of yet another rebuilding season. The draft picks will be of more value for the team moving forward. The return on this is likely due to the fact that Leddy has not played well for the Red Wings in 2021-22. He is in the last year of a seven-year contract. Leddy was originally acquired by the Red Wings for a second-round draft pick.
The deadline started for the Red Wings with Troy Stecher being traded to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick on Sunday. This is about what the team could have expected for a player who had not played many games during the 2021-22 season after injuring his wrist, an injury that would land him on the injured reserve list. Getting any value for Stecher is a plus as he has only played in 16 games for the team. Stecher is from British Columbia and likely wanted to be closer to his family.
In his press conference after the trade deadline, general manager Steve Yzerman emphasized the importance of Walman, who is a left-shot defenseman. There is only one left-shot defenseman on the Red Wings roster right now in Jordan Oesterle. Oesterle has played in 34 games for the Red Wings this season and has provided a veteran presence for the team.
Detroit Red Wings deal fan favorite in Namestnikov
Vlaidslav Namestnikov has been traded to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick in 2023. This is the trade that hurts the fanbase because of the fact that Namestnikov seemed to love playing hockey in the city of Detroit. The 29-year-old has scored 13 goals and added 12 assists in 60 games played for the Red Wings during the 2021-22 season. He would routinely tug on the winged wheel on his chest after scoring goals.
Namestnikov will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2022 season. This means that he can return to the Red Wings. Perhaps he had discussions with the Red Wings and this will be the case. The team currently has a 5.4% chance of landing the number one pick in the draft where center Shane Wright will likely be the first pick in the draft.
One Red Wings player that was not traded is Tyler Bertuzzi. This is despite there being rumors that he would be traded prior to the deadline. Bertuzzi said ‘not once have I ever said I wanted to leave.’ At 27-years-old Bertuzzi will likely not be in his “athletic prime” when the Red Wings are competing for Stanley Cups again.
Bertuzzi is under contract for one more season and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2023. He has scored 49 points in 51 games played during the 2021-22 NHL season. This is a far cry from the 48 points in 71 games during the 2019-20 season. Bertuzzi only played in 9 games during the 2020-21 season after injuring his back. Injuries are part of sports but back injuries, in particular, are concerning. It cannot be known how Bertuzzi’s back will hold up throughout the rest of his career.
This will determine what Bertuzzi’s next contract will look like. The Red Wings need to keep in mind that they are getting to a point where they do not need to acquire assets to improve their roster. They have the third most talented farm system according to The Hockey Writers. Defenseman Simon Edvinsson is the most talented player in the Red Wings’ system and will one day be paired with Moritz Seider.
While it hurts in the short term, the move was best for the franchise moving forward. Yzerman has shown in the past that he will do whatever it takes to improve the team’s roster. This is a roster that still has its flaws. I previously wrote that the right side of the defensive corps is the biggest source of need for the team. The highest-ranked right-handed shooting defenseman currently in the Red Wings’ system is Alex Cotton.
The Red Wings will likely not make the playoffs again this season. Adding as much draft capital as possible is what every general manager should do. The Red Wings will have 10 draft picks in the upcoming 2022 NHL draft. Yzerman has plenty of chances to draft players that can help the Red Wings team in the future. Perhaps Bertuzzi will be on the team when this happens. The Red Wings have drafted 31 players over the last three NHL drafts, which is the most of any team in the NHL.
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