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Road Trip Key to Detroit Red Wings Deadline

The NHL trade deadline is a little over two weeks away. The Detroit Red Wings will most likely not make the Stanley Cup playoffs under new head coach Derek Lalonde. The team’s plans for this trade deadline will hinge on how they fare as they embark on a stretch of play on the west coast. This stretch began with a win against the Vancouver Canucks. The Red Wings then battled to get two points in overtime against one of the best teams in the league the Edmonton Oilers.

Perhaps the best trade chip that the Red Wings currently have is forward Tyler Bertuzzi. This is despite the 27-year-old having multiple injuries not only this year but throughout his career. The most concerning among these injuries was the back injury that required surgery in April of 2021. The fact is that Bertuzzi and Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman has had multiple contract negotiations that have been contentious. One thing cannot be disputed though, Bertuzzi is one of the hardest-working players in the National Hockey League.

Bertuzzi"s Future in Detroit May be Nearing the End

One of the leading candidates that could trade for Bertuzzi are the Toronto Maple Leafs, in order to help them advance past the first round of the playoffs. This is something that the team has not done since 2004. The Vegas Golden Knights are also reportedly one of the teams looking to acquire Bertuzzi, Per Jeff Marek on 32 Thoughts. Despite struggling to stay in the lineup this season due to injuries, Bertuzzi is coming off a career year last season that saw him score 62 points in 68 games. The Golden Knights have scored the 13th most goals in the NHL so far with 177 and any team could use more depth scoring.

Määttä Signed to Two-Year Contract

Olli Määttä was one defenseman that the Red Wings could have conceivably traded prior to the deadline. That will not happen as the team announced that they have signed the 28-year-old to a two-year contract extension. The average annual value of the contract is $3 million. Määttä has 17 points in 49 games played for the Red Wings this season after coming over from the Pittsburgh Penguins in July of last year. Määttä is a prior Calder Trophy candidate who has won two Stanley Cups with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017.

Määttä has performed well on the left side of the Red Wings" defense. This has been a weakness for the team in the recent past. Ben Chiarot and Robert Hägg are the other two defensemen on the left side of the Red Wings’ defensive corps. Hägg has been injured for most of the 2022-23 season and will look to return to the lineup to complete the left side of the defense along with Määttä and Chiarot. The 28-year-old is looking to find his footing on the fourth team of his career.

The Red Wings traded for Ville Husso of the St. Louis Blues in July. Husso was seen as the top free-agent goalie at the time of the trade and was brought in to be the backup to Alex Nedeljkovic. Husso has played in 36 games for the Red Wings during the 2022-23 NHL season and has been one of the most important players on the Red Wings" roster. Nedeljkovic, on the other hand, was waived and not claimed by any other NHL team. Perhaps the blessing in this demotion is the fact that he has stabilized this position for the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL.

The Red Wings team will need to look to maximize the return they can get if they are willing to trade one of the better players on the current roster. The backup goalie position is one that needs addressing. Whether or not the Red Wings buy or sell at the upcoming trade deadline will depend on how they fair on the team’s current west-coast swing. The team got off to a good start by beating the Canucks and Oilers, two teams who are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to NHL teams.

Main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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