Detroit Red Wings Trade Deadline Recap

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The Detroit Red Wings were supposed to contend for a Stanley Cup playoff spot for the 2022-23 season. Many free agents were brought in during the offseason by general manager Steve Yzerman in order to improve the roster. Derek Lalonde was brought in as the new head coach from the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, this plan has not panned out. So, where does the team go from here?

In his time as general manager of the Red Wings, not including this trade deadline, Yzerman has acquired many assets in order to improve the team’s roster. Eight of the top 100 players under the age of 23, five first-round draft picks in the next three drafts, and 28 total picks in that span. Some of these moves have been made in order to maximize the amount of salary cap space available to the team. I have written that the “Yzerplan” was not without question.

It can be questioned, however, whether the offseason of bringing in many free agents to improve the roster was the right move or not. The 2023 NHL entry draft is projected to be loaded with elite talent at the top of the draft. Connor Bedard, the presumptive number-one overall pick, led some teams in the NHL to put out a roster every night that is not built to compete. The fact that Bedard is only 17 years old means that he is not guaranteed to work out. The NHL lottery makes it so that the team that finishes last only has an 18.5% chance of drafting number one overall.

Prior to back-to-back games against the Ottawa Senators, the Red Wings were in a chase for the second wild card spot in the eastern conference. The team lost both of those games by a combined score of 12-3. Tyler Bertuzzi was then traded to the Boston Bruins in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2024 NHL entry draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2025 draft. Trading an important player for the future of your team to a division rival hurts, but the fact that he was unlikely to re-sign with the Red Wings made it more palatable.

Captain Dylan Larkin, who had just signed to a new eight-year contract extension the day before, was emotional when discussing the Bertuzzi trade. Of his friend Larkin said,

“The last 24 hours has probably been of the hardest days of the business side of it. Being excited, being happy talking to Tyler yesterday. Him being happy for me. And then I saw him this morning and he was upset, and I am too. It’s difficult but with this, we have a game tonight, and my contract is in the past now. I guess all of it’s settled, so I can continue to focus on what I have to do to try and get this thing to where the guys in the room want it to go.”

Filip Hronek was traded the day before the Bertuzzi trade. The defenseman was traded to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a conditional first-round pick in this year’s draft as well as a second-round pick in this year’s draft. Hronek is a young defenseman at only 25 years old who was drafted 53rd overall in the 2016 NHL entry draft out of Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic. The Red Wings hoped to build around Hronek on the blueline as the team lacked talent on the defensive side of the puck.

One trade that the Red Wings made that needed to happen was the moving of Jakub Vrana to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick in the 2025 NHL entry draft and center Dylan McLaughlin. Vrana’s time in Detroit was tumultuous as he entered the NHL player’s assistance program in October of 2022. Vrana was originally acquired by the Red Wings from the Washington Capitals in exchange for Anthony Mantha. It was clear that the two sides needed to move on and have a fresh start.

Center Oskar Sundqvist was traded to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2023 NHL entry draft. Sundqvist is a pending unrestricted free agent. After being drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the third round of the 2012 NHL entry draft, the 28-year-old spent four-plus years with the Blues before joining the Red Wings in 2021.

The Red Wings were reportedly looking to add a left-winger in the waning moments of the deadline in the name of James van Riemsdyk of the Philadelphia Flyers. However, due to circumstances regarding other deals that did not happen, this acquisition fell through. Per hockey insider Frank Seravalli,

The Detroit Red Wings roster will look very different for the last 20 games of the 2022-23 NHL season. The front office, Yzerman included, will have this time to look at which players will be on the roster moving forward. Two players that will certainly be part of the team for the foreseeable future are Jake Walman and captain Larkin. Beyond that, the roster has plenty of questions that need to be answered. The roster is very young and this may help or hurt the team as they come out of their rebuild.

main image credits: Getty Images

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